The Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) held the workshop “Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming in Vulnerability and Community-based Capacity Assessment (VCA) Guidance of the Vietnam Red Cross” on 19 September 2017, with the technical and financial support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the French Red Cross (FRC), the American Red Cross and the French Development Agency (AFD). This activity was a part of the “Gender-sensitive community-based disaster risk management project in ethnic minority areas of North-West Vietnam” implemented in Son La and Lai Chau between April 2014 and September 2017.
The VCA guidelines list and describe the different steps that are to be followed to assess a community’s vulnerability and capacity towards disasters, in order to engage the community and related organizations into disaster prevention and preparedness activities. This document was developed and applied by the VNRC in 1997 and updated in 2016. In 2014, the government of Vietnam adapted the VCA methodology to develop the Community-Based Disaster Risk Assessment methodology (CBDRA) and issued Decree 1002 on awareness raising and community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM).
While these VCA guidelines have been highly appreciated and widely used it has clearly lacked consideration for Gender and Diversity (G&D). It is well-established that women, men, boys, girls, people with disability and people belonging to diverse ethnic, social, cultural, economic and religious groups may have different level of vulnerability and capacity towards disasters. A Gender-and-Diversity-sensitive and inclusive VCA will help us understand and address the specific needs, capacities and priorities of each group in a comprehensive way and ensure that no one is neglected. Gender and Diversity play a vital role in achieving VCA’s goals, improving disaster response capacities of all specific groups and all the community.
“When I conducted assessments in remote areas, I realized that women’s roles had been overlooked. The integration of Gender and Diversity in VCA will help us recognize women’s roles and understand the diversity of our target groups. We will know how women, men and people from diverse groups are affected differently by a disaster. Then we will have more suitable solutions and we won’t miss anyone.” – Mrs. Nguyen Phuong Mai, Son La Red Cross, VCA facilitator.
Contributing to the workshop were VCA facilitators, and Gender and Diversity and Disaster Risk Reduction experts from government and non-government organizations such as the Red Cross Branches of Lao Cai, Son La, Lai Chau, Thanh Hoa, Quang Tri; General Department of Disaster Management; Vietnam Women’s Union, Vietnam Red Cross, French Red Cross, American Red Cross, and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Based on the IFRC “Gender-and-diversity-sensitive Vulnerability Capacity Assessment Guidance Note” and “Minimum Standard Commitments to Gender and Diversity”, the workshop collected ideas to integrate Gender and Diversity into VNRC’s VCA process.
“These tools introduced by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are very interesting. However, it should be adapted to suit Vietnamese context and culture and support VCA facilitators – those who will use it – in collecting data. Moreover, it should make local people feel comfortable to demonstrate their skills and knowledge and encourage their participation in the assessment.” – Mr. Do Quoc Anh, Officer, Vietnam Women’s Union.
Mr. Tran Si Pha, Deputy Director, Disaster Management Department, Vietnam Red Cross (VNRC) considered the experience of local VCA facilitators as a vital factor in maximizing the guidance’s effectiveness and achieving its’ goals for community.
“This guidance is an important tool, but it also depends on the facilitator’s skills and those skills do not simply come from training. Those skills are your own.” – Mr. Tran Si Pha, Deputy Direct, Disaster Management Department, Vietnam Red Cross.
Mr. Pha also stated after this workshop that the VNRC will finalize the guidelines based on the ideas presented and discussed at the workshop, and will organize (tentatively in November 2017) a training of the VCA facilitators based on the updated (G&D-inclusive) VCA guidelines.
Written by Hoang Huyen, Communications Officer, the French Red Cross in Vietnam