On 2 August 2016, the Prime Minister of Vietnam officially approved the plan on the replication of the Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) model throughout the country. This decision establishes targets, allocates budgets and defines responsibilities for implementation.
ISHCs are sustainable, self-managed, multifunctional organisations which aim to enhance equitable and inclusive development. They have a number of important benefits for local development including building livelihood security, improving health care, promoting participation in community life, promoting participatory government and supporting disaster response.
This national plan is targeting to expand with 3,200 additional ISHCs in at least 65 provinces and cities.
State budget had been allocated to finance activities including project management, training, conducting activities such as health care and income generations. It also seeks co-financing form provincial governments, private donors and communities themselves.
Currently, there are over 1,000 ISHCs across 17 provinces of Vietnam with 55,000 members. Over the years, an endless effort had been made by the Vietnam Association of the Elderly (VAE), with technical support from HelpAge, to support and advocate for expansion of ISHCs. The success of ISHCs has drawn attention from government, international organisations and academics.
The Vietnam Association of the Elderly (VAE) will work in collaboration with relevant ministries to implement the plan with technical support from HelpAge International Vietnam and East Asia/Pacific Regional Office.
“We strongly believe that ISHCs model is one of the best, most reliable and participative community-based models,” said Eduardo Klien, East Asia/Pacific Regional Director, HelpAge International. “Moreover, they are proving to be durable and gaining strength as time passes. This approach is also being shared with other countries in Asia that are keen to replicate and adapt this great innovation for grassroots development.”
This success of expanding ISHCs will result in improving the lives of numerous Vietnamese elderly, their families and communities across multiple domains.