Joint partnership to support scale up of the National CBDRM program in vulnerable provinces in Vietnam


Vietnam’s exposure to frequent natural disasters is increasing due to climate change (CC). The vulnerability of communities, local infrastructure and government systems is coupled with low provincial and community-level capacities to prepare for, mitigate and respond to disasters. These problems add urgency to the roll-out of the National CBDRM Program under phase 2 (2011-15).

INGOs have been implementing pilot CBDRM projects in Vietnam for over 10 years. In 2009, as a result of advocacy by various DRR actors, the Prime Minister approved Decision 1002 to develop an ambitious National CBDRM programme. This decision opened the way for scaling up CBDRM pilot projects. However, the legal and operational framework is still incomplete and the many approved tools and guidelines to implement the programme have not been disseminated to the provinces or to the districts and communes. There is a lack of technical expertise and budgetary commitment to implement the National program and variation between the Provinces. In the education sector, which is recognised as vital for effective local level DRR because schools and children are at high risk in disasters, there is limited to no awareness about the National Action Plan on DRR and DRR strategies were found to be weak. The government is aware of these problems and accepts that support from DRR actors is needed to implement the National CBDRM program.

The project was focused on several high risk provinces with the following characteristics: Thanh Hoa faces various types of natural hazards, including storms, floods, sea surges, drought, and land-slides. Communities suffer increasing loss in life, property and household assets from disasters. Bac Kan is a mountainous province and ranked as the second poorest in Vietnam in terms of GDP. Major hazards include heavy rain, drought, floods, and landslides. Quang Tri and Quang Binh are vulnerable to typhoons, flash floods, general flooding, and drought, as well as small scale hazards (whirlwinds, landslides, extreme cold). The assessment revealed the impact of recent disasters to be high. Yen Bai, in the Northern mountainous area, faces river flooding, flash floods, landslides and whirlwind. The poverty level of the province in 2010 was 26.5%. Tien Giang, in the lower Mekong river delta, faces river flooding, storms, whirlwinds and salt intrusion.

The following points enumerates the need to conduct CBDRM in the targeted areas:

Provincial Action Plan on National CBDRM program not yet developed in 4 out of 6 targeted provinces: In Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri, the Provincial Standing Office of Centres for Flood and Storm Control (CFSC) has developed a draft Action Plan. In the other 4 provinces, this Action Plan has not been developed yet due to the lack of readiness and resources of the provincial authorities in term of both financial and technical resources . Although provincial stakeholders are aware of this National CBDRM program, there was no clear guidance from the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) to develop the Action Plan.

Lack of technical expertise to implement the National CBDRM program at the provincial level as well as no roll out this program to the district and commune levels: As a guided from DMC, three technical groups at the provincial level should be established: M&E, training and vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA). The provinces submitted a list of suggested provincial core trainers to DMC who will participate in CBDRM training held by DMC. Consultation in Yen Bai province however highlights that the knowledge of core trainers that already participated in the first round of CBDRM training by DMC on VCA and participatory planning is still limited. In Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri, with the support from the previous DIPECHO funded project, the level of capacity was increased with core trainers now in place. However, provincial and district level stakeholders are not yet equipped with necessary skills and knowledge on M&E on the National CBDRM Program and DRR communication skills.

Funding from the Government of Vietnam and other donors for 6 targeted provinces to implement the National CBDRM program is lacking: Funding for the implementation of the national program is not assured at this stage. According to Decision 1002, around 55% of the budget for this National CBDRM program will be covered by the government and 45% from other sources such as NGOs, donors, and the private sector. However at this stage there was no funding from government. The World Bank 5 project, which is supposed to support the program in 10 provinces, intends to work in its first phase only in Thanh Hoa from 2012 but not in the other 5 target provinces.

Limited DRR integration into sectors and local planning process: DRR work is considered the responsibility of the Committee of Natural Disaster Management located in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), but funding at the provincial level focuses on emergency response rather than risk reduction. The necessary coordination among departments to integrate DRR into the local socio-economic development processes is still weak in the provinces with exception of Quang Tri where the department of planning and investment (DPI) has developed a policy to mainstream DRR into existing socio-economic programs.

Limited DRR knowledge sharing with education sector: Schools are frequently exposed to disasters but have limited preparedness capacities. Teachers and students have limited knowledge of what to do in disaster situations. Consultation meetings with the Department of Education and Training  (DOET) showed that the department places high priority on building capacities of core teachers and educational leaders so that they can apply materials and methods developed under previous DIPECHO funding in a wider number of schools in vulnerable areas of the targeted provinces.

Resources and IEC materials for public awareness-raising on DRR have not been prioritized enough at national level: Awareness-raising is an important component of the National CBDRM program but the readiness and prioritization of this component is still lacking. A number of IEC materials were developed and disseminated to communities from different sources but there is no formal agreement on consolidated material to be shared widely to the provincial stakeholders. The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) at the national level has approved recently the Action Plan on DRR in education sector. The training manual on DRR education developed under JANI 3 is now going through a formal review committee approved by the Vice Minister of MoET. The national MoET and provincial DoET are keen to deliver this training manual in the target provinces to support capacity building of teachers and roll-out of activities at schools.

Activities to ensure provincial and district authorities have systems and structures in place and staff have the knowledge and skills to implement the National CBDRM program included:

  • Developing capacity building plan following training needs assessments and capacity assessments
  • Supporting the establishment of the CBDRM program technical groups on the CBDRM program in targeted provinces (training groups, VCA groups and M&E groups)
  • Organizing training workshops on National CBDRM program implementation (ToT training skills, VCA, participatory preparedness and mitigation planning and M&E)

Activities to ensure communities most vulnerable to disasters have increased knowledge and skills on disaster response, protection, and mitigation, providing foundation for provincial extension included:

  • Consolidation and handover of a standard IEC package targeted at different groups in the provinces, districts and communes
  • Conducting trainings to develop practices and skills at the commune level on VCA/CVCA, participatory preparedness and mitigation planning and M&E, DRR integration into SEDP and communication on DRR
  • Conducting Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (CVCA) and developing CBDRM commune plans

Activities to ensure commune level teachers are able to conduct DRR lessons at primary and lower secondary schools in line with the MoET Action Plan included:

  • Orientation, contextualization and training (master ToT for provincial trainers) on DRR education material
  • Organizing DRR training for teachers at the participating commune-level schools
  • Supporting the development and implementation of child centered safe school plans

Activities to ensure CBDRM best practices are documented and shared in targeted province and brought up to contribute greater impact to the National CBDRM program included:

  • Conducting a KAP study and preparing the impact assessment report, measuring the impact of the awareness raising activities
  • Supporting the M&E technical groups to develop and implement participatory M&E plans (including most significant change)
  • Organizing learning forums through exposure visits between provinces to promote and share lessons learned during the implementation of the National program

The project was supported by ECHO under the Disaster Preparedness Program (DIPECHO), and co-funded by Save the Children Australia and CARE Deutschland and Luxembourg.

National-level DRR actors including INGOs, The World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Disaster Management Center (DMC), Joint Advocacy Network Initiative (JANI) members, Disaster Management Working Group (DMWG) members were involved in the project. Provincial officials from the People’s Committee, the provincial CFSC, DARD, DoET, DPI, Department of Health (DoH), Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE), including Red Cross, Women’s Union and Fatherland Front were also involved, along with district officials from the People’s Committee, DARD, DoET, DPI, DoH, DoNRE from cluster districts. The project also involved the local population, including children and school students, vulnerable groups and others in targeted communes, and emergency volunteers

The project ran for 18 months from June 2012 to December 2013.


The project was well designed to ensure the ownership of all local partners through the establishment of Project Management Units at the provincial and district levels and the project implementing boards at the commune level. In the future the project should enhance the ownership of commune partners by empowering them as investors in implementing DRR measures to attract more counterpart resources of communes such as local labor and material. In addition, in the next phase, the project should focus on documentation of good practices and lessons learnt to be shared with and/or support the government/sub national level in rolling out this program in the future. The national, provincial, district and commune government were involved, starting from the inception phase through the selection of provinces down to the commune-level. During the assessment period, the beneficiaries were involved in consultation workshops with the participation of provincial CFSC, DARD, DoET, DoH, Department of Foreign Affairs (DoFA), Women Union, Red Cross, Youth Union, DoNRE, Department of Ethnic Minority and DPI. A number of key informant interviews with CFSC, DoET and the Red Cross were held as well to get in-depth information on the vulnerability of the population in the provinces, their plans for implementing the National CBDRM program, stakeholder analysis and mapping. At the district and commune levels, additional participatory consultation workshops in each district were organized. Participatory rural assessment (PRA) tools, including mapping, problem trees, seasonal calendars, focus group discussions, strength, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis and ranking exercises were used in the workshop with men, women, children's groups, local authority groups and teacher groups. The recommendations from related stakeholders and local people were taken into account during the design process of this project. The beneficiaries involved in the institutional linkages and advocacy component of the project included the commune CFSC, CSOs, provincial and cluster district educational leaders, national DRR actors, including INGOs, WB, UNDP, JICA, DMC, JANI members, DMWG members, provincial officials from the People's Committee, the CFSC, DARD, DoET, DPI, DoH, DoNRE, Ppovincial officials from mass organizations, including Red Cross, Women Union and Fatherland Front, district officials from the People's Committee, DARD, DoET, DPI, DoH, and DoNRE from cluster districts At the national level, the project was coordinated by all 3 organizations, CARE, SC and Plan, which are core members of the Joint Advocacy Network Initiative (JANI) led by CARE - funded by ECHO under the previous DIPECHO Action Plan. Other actors included the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG), the Disaster Management Working Group (DMWG), the CBDRM Technical Working Group (TWG) under DMC and the sub group of education and DRR under the Education in Emergency Working group (chaired by MoET). At the provincial, district and commune-level, Project Management Boards were established and chaired by the PPC with participation from the key provincial departments from CCFSC and the mass organizations. The same approach was replicated in the districts and communes where the project has taken place.
The project was well designed to ensure equal and active participation of both women and girls in all activities. A gender integrated framework developed by CARE was comprehensively applied by project participants in the design, organization, implementation, and M&E of activities. Specifically, in six provinces of the project, female beneficiaries accounted for 50.12%, and female students accounted for 49.75%. The project was designed to ensure the participation of ethnic minorities in project activities. In some provinces such as Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Yen Bai, Bac Kan, project communes have a higher proportion of ethnic minorities than Kinh people. In the provincial TA Groups, there have been members of ethnic minorities. In the direct communication activities in communities, the project encouraged members of a local communication group who were of ethnic minorities to use their own language to communicate, such as Pako-Van Kieu language in Quang Tri, H’mong and Tay language in Bac Kan. The communication materials of the Project were well designed to enable the participation of ethnic minorities and take into account the cultural and language features of ethnic minority people such as language of Tay and Pako-Van Kieu. The project designed a specific component on DRR education for children. Children have been actively involved in DRR activities such as VCA, safe-school planning, DRR communication, extra-curricular activities and integrated activities in school subjects. The children have been more self-confident and more active to participate in DRR activities. Disability issues have not really stood out in the general operation of the project because the number of disabled people in the project area accounted for a small proportion and were not a critical issue in the area. However, through FGDs, representatives of local authorities, community people and students were able to list the disabled as a vulnerable group that needed special attention in DRR activities, especially responses.
As of 2014, some provinces are expected to receive funding from the national budget. Monitoring mechanisms are evident, wherein CBDRM practices are documented and shared in targeted provinces and brought up to contribute to the greater impact to the National CBDRM program. This result has 2 main components. The first one is related to the impact measurement and monitoring aspects of the overall program. This component will involve supporting the implementation of Knowledge, Attitude and Practice surveys at the end of the project to measure the outcomes of the awareness raising and capacity building activities that constitute the main body of the project. The second component is related to learning and sharing experiences between the various provinces involved in this project as well as between sub-national and national levels. This is part of the transfer and sustainability mechanism of the project. A study tour will be organized and the DMC staff from the national level will also participate in these activities.


The project activities were in line with the targets of the National CBDRM Program approved by the Government and MARD toward 2020. In particular, six Action Plans for the National CBDRM Program for the period of 2013-2015 were developed in six project provinces and approved by provincial People’s Committees (PPC). Project provinces affirmed that even when the project ended they would find other resources in order to realize the National CBDRM Program. All project provinces established the provincial TA Groups, in which members were well-equipped with basic knowledge and skills on CBDRM to continue the implementation of the National CBDRM Program even when the project finished. Through the project activities, all communes have experience and practice in implementing CBDRM activities, which is a favourable condition to continuously implement the activities of the National CBDRM Program. Regarding the education sector, the MOET issued the Action Plan for the National CBDRM Program and disseminated it to all units in the sector for implementation in provinces and schools. The project schools committed to continue the project activities when the education sector issues the official decision. However, to ensure sustainable implementation of the National CBDRM Program, PCFSC&SR of project provinces need to advocate to the upper level to provide funding for implementation of the National CBDRM Program. On the other hand, provinces should further strengthen and consolidate TA Groups to ensure constant participation and commitment of agencies in charge. In addition, capacity building activities for specialized staff at all levels should be periodically and regularly organized prior to implementation of new activities or expansion of project sites. Through the project activities, the provinces are well aware of the importance of CBDRM and regard this as the obvious responsibility of the provincial management agencies. Through IDI, leaders of Quang Tri PCFSC&SR affirmed that they will mobilize and seek extra funding to implement the Action Plan in the coming years. In Tien Giang, the PCFSC&SR succeeded in advocating for PPC for approval of the annual plan and budget allocation for implementation of CBDRM activities with annual increase.
The project supported the improvement of knowledge and experience on CBDRM for provincial officers for active management of the central budget and better implementation on a larger-scale. The project also created changes in attitude and behaviour of local officers and the people in the community, particularly women and children, toward DRR. For example, in Tien Giang previously when being notified about a storm, both local authorities and the people were subjective and passive in strengthening houses or moving to a safer place. The project communication activities have raised awareness in active preparedness and response to disaster, in particular, the people have been more aware and active in strengthening houses, regularly keeping track of weather forecasts and evacuating to safe places. The project supported communes to develop CBDRM plans, identifying the areas at risk and capacities of the communities. Through implementation of the project, the commune capacity in activity organization and operation has been enhanced. Since then, this plan has been integrated in the local SEDP. The local authorities have been well aware of the importance and efficiency of integrating DP into SEDP. For example, in the SEDP, the construction of school should consider the use of schools as a shelter from storms or floods; expansion of roads should take into account the access of motor vehicles for SAR work and evacuation in emergency.


This project played an important role in supporting the government to roll out the national CBDRM program to the sub-national level. The project worked as a pioneer in building capacity for the national level (DMC) to ensure that they had enough capacity to roll out. On the other hand, the project provided valuable experiences as well as lessons learnt for government and other provinces, to make sure that they are confident in developing provincial action plans in the future.
The project design was fully in line with the objectives of the National CBDRM Program which was to raise public awareness and effectively organize CBDRM models for all levels, sectors, and especially the government and people in communities. The project was implemented from 2012-2013, which was an important milestone in the implementation of the National CBDRM Program on a large scale by the specialized agencies of the Government. Regarding the policy, according to the Provincial Action plan for implementation of the National CBDRM Program, District PCs and CFSC&SR are in duty of deploying CBDRM activities for communes in the area. Though at the moment the district Action Plans for the National CBDRM Program have not been developed, through this project, the project and non-project districts have approached and participated in implementation of pilot CBDRM activities. This is a favourable condition for the districts to conduct activities of the National CBDRM Program in the future. However, the districts should urgently require PPCs and DARD to issue specific guidelines and provide funding for implementation of CBDRM in communes. Through the project activities, all communes have experience and practice in implementing CBDRM activities, which is a favourable condition to continuously implement the activities of the National CBDRM Program. MOET issued the Action Plan for implementation of the National CBDRM Program to integrate DRR and CCA in education and disseminated it to all units in the sector for implementation in provinces and schools. The project schools committed to continuance of the project activities when the education sector issues the official decision. With the support of CARE, Plan, Save and other NGOs, Vietnam has established a Policy Advocacy Working Group on CBDRM (CBDRM-WG), playing an important role in assisting MARD and DMC to standardize documents, conduct training of trainers, and building an M&E framework. Through these activities, the Working Group has successfully mobilized financial resources from UNDP, AusAID, WB, Red Cross Associations of other countries, IFRC, Oxfam, World Vision, etc. in order to implement pilot projects, conduct training of trainers, develop and publish materials. In cooperation with such NGOs as CARE, Plan, Save, Live & Learn, MOET has developed the Action Plan for National CBDRM Program. Recently, MOET has directed the implementation of the National CBDRM Program to provincial DARDs and schools. With the support of DIPECHO in the previous phase, a set of standard materials on DRR has been developed for schools.
The provincial centres for flood and storm control (CFSC) are responsible for coordination actions at the local level and are required to develop the provincial CBDRM action. The provincial CFSC is mandated to make a detailed plan and submit it to the provincial people's committee to be approved every year which is implemented by the commune-level CFSC). Various agencies have been working in the intervention areas such as Plan International, Save the Children. In addition, long-term initiatives such as the Joint Advocacy Network Initiative (JANI) composed of a consortium led by CARE in Vietnam through CARE-DL, with Plan International, Save the Children, Live & Learn was focused on supporting the advancement of the national community-based disaster risk management program and the ministry of education and training action plan on DRR and climate change.
As of 2014, some provinces are expected to receive funding from the national budget. Funding mechanisms and guidelines are also available in the Framework on CBDRM in Vietnam.
Project design was fully in line with the objectives of the National CBDRM Program, which aims to raise public awareness and effectively organize CBDRM models for all levels, sectors, and especially local authorities and people. The project has supported six provinces in improving CBDRM mechanisms and policies by concretizing the National CBDRM Program into the Provincial Action Plan; supported the establishment of provincial Technical Assistance (TA) Groups under the guidance of the National CBDRM Program and conducted capacity building activities for TA Group members; developed communication materials, established communication groups, organized communication events, provided material and equipment; and supported the provinces in pilot implementation of disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities in schools using reference materials approved by Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). The project was carried out in mountainous areas, ethnic minority and disadvantaged areas, in line with the needs of localities, communities and development strategies of CARE, Plan and Save. Communities most vulnerable to disasters have increased knowledge and skills on disaster response, protection, and mitigation, providing foundation for the extension of the project to other areas in the province. The project developed a standard set of material on CBDRM communication; provided training for 288 commune officers on CBDRM, which exceeded 20% compared to the targeted plan; and supported 12 communes to develop communication plans and CBDRM plans under participatory approaches and approved by communities. The Project has built capacity for teachers of Primary and Secondary schools in project communes with ability to integrate DRR in lessons and extracurricular activities in line with the Action Plan of MOET. CBDRM best practices were documented and shared with project provinces, which contributed to greater impacts on the National CBDRM Program. The project recruited a consultant team to conduct a KAP survey of DRR; these KAP reports were disseminated at the provincial level and shared with other organizations at the national level; 30 good practices were documented and shared with project stakeholders in the mid-term and final workshops.
The UNDP GCF project is using the national CBDRM package that DIPECHO Consortium contributed to in their project, adding more elements of gender, CC and mangrove aspects. CARE is providing technical consultancy for this.