MCNV presents Strategy 2017-2021

Dear friends,

The past year we have been working very hard on our new strategy. We’re proud to present the results of this international teamwork in the MCNV Strategy 2017-2021.

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Support the people in Quang Tri

A heartfelt cry from MCNV office Central Vietnam – We will not abandon the people in Quang Tri !

From the very beginning the work of MCNV in Quang Tri Province is made possible by contributions from the donors in the Netherlands. Six years ago, we managed to get a generous subsidy which enabled us to fund additional programs and staff. But last year the subsidy period ended and we did not yet succeed in finding new sources.

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MCNV Magazine 2017-01

Link to MCNV Magazine 2017 number 1 (magazine in Dutch)

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Collaboration And Networking To Enhance Education and Nutrition (CANTEEN)


Improvement on nutrition and food security continues to be MCNV’s work priorities in Laos and especially in the areas where more ethnic minority groups are living. Nutrition and food security are closely interlinked and requires multi-sectoral approach as per the 8th National Social Economic Development Plan by the Government of Lao PDR, which states: “Nutrition is one of the sectors that faces challenges in the implementation since it is associated with several sectors such as food security, food access and food consumption. To counter these, it requires effective collaboration and shared responsibilities among the concerned agencies including sector of health, education, agriculture, environment, industry and commerce, etc.[1]”.

MCNV’s response

In Lao PDR, MCNV has recently started CANTEEN programe (Collaboration And Networking To Enhance Education and Nutrition). This is a 4.5 year-program (between Jan 2017 – June 2021), which is funded with 75% budget contribution by the EU delegation to strengthen the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Local Authorities (LAs) to work in partnership towards the achievement of development goals. The programme has two specific objectives as follows:

  1. To build the capabilities of at least 6 LAs, 1 non-profit association (NPA) and 20 village development committees (VDCs) to work together to deliver nutrition sensitive services that improve food security, nutrition, and overall well-being of more than 6,000 poor ethnic minority people in 20 remote upland villages in Nong District, Savannakhet province.
  2. To strengthen capacity in policy dialogue and promote participation, transparency and accountability in multi-sector partnerships to encourage the uptake of successful models and to increase involvement of CSOs in development processes.

CANTEEN works closely with CODA (a Lao NPA – non for profit association) and Provincial Health Department of Savannakhet province to promote collective and coordinative working among different local authority organisations and community based organization in Nong district to work together for improvement in nutrition and food security at village and district levels. The experience and lesson learnt from such multisectoral coordination will contribute to and be shared with other stakeholders at provincial and national levels who are working together to improve the situation of nutrition and food security in Lao PDR.

Expected results

During its 4.5 years implementation, CANTEEN program will support a range of activities in order to achieve the following expected results:

Expected result 1.1: Strengthened capacities of the participating LAs, CSOs and CBOs to deliver relevant, effective nutrition services to marginalised and vulnerable people, in particular women and children: This focuses on strengthening capacities of participating CSO and LA organisations and their staffs and members. The specific paths for capacity-building will be designed based on analysis of current gaps and future needs of each participating organisation. For the 20 participating Village Development Committees (CBOs) the Action will use a small-grant support scheme to help them improve their skills by practicing a full cycle of small experimental projects.

Expected result 1.2Reduced malnutrition and food insecurity in target villages through adoption of convergent approaches that include key stakeholders in health, agricultural and education sectors: This is designed specifically to demonstrate effectiveness of the convergent approach in reducing the incidences of malnutrition and food insecurity in the selected villages. This emphasises the importance of working together to achieve a common goal. All sectoral interventions (i.e. educational, agricultural or health) are designed for nutrition sensitivity and are aimed at generating evidence on how to contribute to reduction of food insecurity and malnutrition. The proposed interventions under this refer to 14 of the 22 priority actions identified in the recently published National Nutrition Strategy to 2025 and Plan of Action 2016- 2020, designed to reduce malnutrition rapidly and sustainably with an emphasis on gender equality and the rights of women and girls.

Expected result 2.1: Increased effectiveness of institutional environment for CSOs and LA, with stronger networks that have better capacity to advocate for sustainable approaches using evidence arising from the action. This will show the up-scaled and sustainable interventions in Nong District, using evidence-based advocacy to argue for their replication, adaptation and adoption in other areas of Lao PDR. It will strengthen links with civil society networks such as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)-Alliance. This adds value to GoL’s plans, as it currently is expanding the rollout of convergent approaches to other provinces, including Savannakhet, and will be seeking evidence and support for effective implementation and expansion.

[1] The Five Year National Social Economic Development Plan VIII – 2016 – 2020: part I: 7th NSEDP 2011-2015: achievement and lessons learned. Lao PDR.

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Introduction workshop on Occupational Therapy Training Program for Bachelor level

14th April 2017, in collaboration with Hai Duong Medical and Technical University (HMTU), MCNV organized a workshop on introduction of Occupational Therapy (OT) Training Program for Bachelor level.

The workshop aims to increase general understanding about OT in contribution to quality of rehabilitation; to present and update progress of the OT education development project; and to introduce the pre-service training course of Bachelor of Rehabilitation specialized in OT at HMTU

80 physiotherapists and professors of rehabilitation profession from Ministry of Health (MOH), general hospitals, rehabilitation centers of Northern provinces, representatives from Ministry of Educational and Training (MOET), USAID and HI and especially lecturers and student of HMTU attended the workshop. All participants expected the BOT training program will be expressed broadly and recruit qualified students. The BOT training program at HMTU will be started this November. The same BOT course was kicked off already at the sister university of Medicine and Pharmacy in HCMC in March 2017.


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Delegates from Hulza Foundation visited Microfinance project in Ben Tre province

On April 22nd 2017, Ms. Monique Smiers and Ms. Hoang Phuong Phi, two delegates from Hulza Foundation, Netherlands have visited MCNV’s microfinance project in Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province. They visited Thoi Lai commune, where a new microfinance project was started in December 2016 with the financial support from Hulza Foundation.

Thoi Lai is one of 9 communes in the microfinance project run by MCNV and Women’s Union. After 4 months of implementation, Thoi Lai has been providing microfinance services to 138 poor women from the initial capital of Euro 20,000 funded by Hulza. Among them, 94 households used their micro loans to build high-capacity water containers to retain rain water to meet domestic consumption and livestock needs during dry seasons. 43 others borrowed to invest in their home business. The project also gives 1 loan for production group and 13 loans to buy health insurance.

Ms. Monique and Ms. Phi has visited 8 households and joined a credit group meeting. The poor women in Thoi Lai were very happy to show them new water containers, which was a great help for health of people and livestock in the drought and salinity disaster recently. Members of the project also learned much knowledge on
financial literacy and production skills in the exchange session during monthly group meetings.

After the visit, Ms. Monique shared “Thanks to the effort from MCNV and partners from Women’s Union, Hulza could use their funding in a real microfinance project. I believe that we have made the right choice to support Ben Tre and our funding will create more social and economic benefits to the poor women in a sustainable way”.

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Learning about the use of Innovative Communication Methods (LICM)


Disadvantaged and discriminated groups of people such as handicapped people, older people, HIV/AIDS infected people or people with a different sexual orientation are often shy, tend to stigmatise themselves, and often struggle with feelings of shame and self-doubt.

MCNV’s response

To assist disadvantaged groups in overcoming their shyness and to encourage them to engage in dialogues with a wider public, MCNV has experimented a lot with the use of Innovative Communication Methods (ICM). MCNV uses the term ‘Innovative Communication Methods’ to denounce creative and entertaining styles of communication such as community-based theatre, shadow drama, narrative story-telling, body mapping, songs, dance and participatory video.

The experience was so successful that MCNV decided to expand the application of the ICM approach to other areas of work including awareness raising on health issues and policy advocacy in areas like garbage collection and Sexual and  Reproductive Health and Rights. The ICMs that MCNV supported to use in Vietnam included theatre based approach, puppet plays, participatory video, dance and folk singing.



The use of arts (drama and songs) improved the social status of both the Village Health Worker Association (VHWA) and Community Based Organisation (CBO) they cooperated with.  Besides that, the Village Health Worker Association (VHWA) and Community Based Organisation (CBO) members became more confident of themselves through the use of arts and became less afraid of speaking out in public meetings. In 2015, Disabled People Organisations (DPOs) and Old People’s Organisations (OPAs) in ethnic minority areas of Quang Tri province managed to collect Eur 30,000 from their communities through campaigns and public meetings where they performed drama and songs, and they use this money to sustain their community development activities. LICM demonstrated its positive contributions to advocacy as well. For example, in 2014, the Old People’s Organisations (DPO) in Quang Tri successfully lobbied for an increase of the budget of the district allocated to old people’s health by organising lobby events during which they performed drama.

Future plan

Recently, MCNV obtained funding of OXFAM-NOVIB and HIVOS to experiment with the use of ICM in Laos as well. MCNV will assist three vulnerable youth groups i.e. handicapped youth, LGBTQI youth and girls working in garment factories in Laos in using ICM for their own empowerment and for advocacy. The project allows MCNV to enlarge her experience in this field and promote the method further.

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Partnership with Joris Ivens Foundation in MCNV’s jubilee year 2018

In March 2017 a delegation of the Vietnamese Film Institute and the European Foundation Joris Ivens visited the MCNV office in Dong Ha. During the visit MCNV director Guus Paardekooper led the delegation around the MCNV Museum. The organisations plan a partnership in 2018, when MCNV celebrates its 50th anniversary and the Joris Ivens Event will take place. The Dutch Ambassador Nienke Trooster, director Nguyen Dinh Thi of the Hanoi Academy of Theater and Cinema and Nuffic/ NL Universities are enthusiastic about the cultural exchange and like to join the cooperating partners.

The delegation from the Joris Ivens Institute was invited to Vietnam by the Vietnam Film Institute. Both institutes intend to start projects researching the Joris Ivens archive materials, such as films, scripts, photos and film posters. The results of this research could be presented in November 2018 during an international Joris Ivens Event in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Joris Ivens in Vietnam

Film maker Joris Ivens worked in Vietnam between 1964 and 1970 on four movies, that play an important role in raising awareness of the Anti-War movement and their protest campaigns. Ivens arrived secretly in 1964 on invitation of the North-Vietnamese government. Two months later the USA started bombing the country. From the very beginning Ivens was in the unique position eye witnessing with his camera what he described as ‘the biggest colonial war the world ever has seen’. In two films unique excerpts can be seen of Ivens’ meetings in 1965 en 1968 with president Ho Chi Minh.

In the delegation also former MCNV’s Ad Spijkers, who was one of the driving forces behind the support actions to Vietnam, such as ‘Bikes for Vietnam’. He invited Jane Fonda, was involved in the visits of Kim Phuc to the Netherlands through the MCNV and of various Vietnamese professors, for instance the minister of Health Care.

With this visit of the Ivens Foundation to Vietnam a network of reliable stakeholders has been established, with whom the plans for 2018 will be worked out.

Read the full report of the visit of the delegation to the filming locations of Joris Ivens in Vietnam on

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How to Facilitate Writeshops – a two-day course in the Hague by the Barefoot Guide Connection

Approaches & tools for writing stories and learning from practice

15 to 16 May 2017
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), the Hague, Netherlands

Facilitated by the Barefoot Guide Connection –
Based on the experience of facilitating Writeshops for the development of Barefoot Guides

How can social change and development practitioners write interesting and thoughtful stories and case studies, to learn from and to communicate to others? How can they do this in collective ways that improve reflection and learning practices? A “Writeshop” is a creative and disciplined method for reflection, learning and documenting stories that are worth sharing. This workshop offers training to facilitators to design and facilitate such Writeshops.

Social change and development organisations and practitioners struggle to tell and to learn from their own rich stories and to communicate these to others. The few tools they have, in the dry formats for reporting to donors, are usually too simplistic and dry. Through the collective processes of writing the Barefoot Guides (see we have developed an approach and tools that enable, encourage and support field practitioners to reflect on stories collectively and to become writers of their own stories. In Writeshops, practitioners write to learn, and learn to write.


This is a two-day course for inhouse facilitators, who support, or wish to support, learning processes in their teams or organisations, using writing as an approach to collectively surface, deepen and share practices in any field of development or social change, including key experiences, lessons and implications for the future. From this it becomes possible to develop written products for wider education.

Who should participate?

This Writeshop is for practitioners who (wish to) facilitate collective learning and writing processes in the teams they work with. They should have some experience in small group facilitation.

Our Course Approach

The participants will take home ideas and skills of how to effectively use several writing process designs and tools, like the Action Learning Cycle, the Outside/Inside Story, Listening at Three Levels and Free-writing, f
ocused on helping others to write stories and case studies. They will also learn about how to help practitioners deal with writer’s block and to more effectively learn and co-write with their peers.

A detailed toolkit will be provided to each participant, in hard and soft copy, containing guidance and handouts for use in their own Writeshops.

The Facilitators

Doug Reeler from the Community Development Resource Association (CDRA)
Akke Schuurmans from MCNV
Cristina Temmink, independent facilitator

The Date

15 to 16 May 2017

The Venue

Classroom 4.25
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Kortenaerkade 12, 2518 AX Den Haag, Netherlands
Google Maps link

If you would like to participate please click on this link to register.


The fee is 400 Euro, payable on registration.

The earlybird fee is 350 Euro if paid by 15 April 2017.

The fee money can be paid to:
Account Holder: MCNV
Number: IBAN NL90 TRIO 0338 5367 60
Reference: Writeshop

Inexpensive lunches can be bought at the cafetaria. Lunch is not included in the fee.

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Scaling-up Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) in Lao PDR and Vietnam

In the week of 20th March 2017, the NWO-WOTRO funded project “Scaling-up nutrition-sensitive agriculture” was officially launched in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The launch was hosted by the National Institute of Public Health (NIOPH) and saw the involvement of a number of consortium partners and stakeholders from both countries. The main objectives of this event were to develop a shared understanding of the project, discuss expectations and make a joint plan of activities.

During the next four years, the team will conduct a transdisciplinary research aimed at generating evidence on the effectiveness of, and best way to scale-up, NSA amongst ethnic minorities in mountainous areas. The project will be implemented in Dong Xuan district, Phu Yen province in Vietnam and Nong district, Savannakhet province in Laos. The NSA project will build on past experiences of MCNV projects, and team up with the newly started CANTEEN and AFAS projects which are managed by MCNV. The research will be carried out in collaboration with partners from Lao PDR (NIOPH, NAFRI, NNC) and Vietnam (HUAF, ICHR, NIAPP) under the scientific supervision of the Athena Institute of the Vrije University Amsterdam and with cross-country facilitation by MCNV.

Partners in Lao PDR: National Institute of Public Health (NIOPH); National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI); National Nutrition Center (NNC).

Partners in Vietnam: Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry (HUAF); Hue University of Medicine & Pharmacy, Inst Community Health Research (ICHR); National Institute of Agricultural Planning and Projection (NIAPP).

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