Kenan Institute Asia

Vietnam Women Improving Lives and Leadership (WILL)

United States Department of State (October 2014-March 2017)

The Vietnam Women Improving Lives and Leadership (WILL) project applies an innovative and gender integrated approach to building the capacity of Vietnamese civil society organizations (CSOs) and public agencies that serve the needs of women.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, WILL bolsters the advocacy capacity of CSO leaders and organizations that contribute to the advancement of women’s rights in the fields of health, education, disability and economic development. By supporting leaders and institutions, WILL works to empower and link key mobilizers to promote women’s rights and pass on their knowledge to others.

Based in Hanoi and nearby Hoa Binh province, WILL targets a balanced mix of urban and rural-based CSOs that deal with a range of issues, such as migrant labor flows (especially from Hoa Binh to Hanoi) and limited access to public services. In the last year (2015), WILL trained 84 CSO leaders and staff members from 23 organizations, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify women’s and girls’ issues and advocate to advance women’s rights. In September 2015, Kenan organized a national advocacy forum, “Give Her an Opportunity”, that shed light on gender discrimination in Vietnam and discussed solutions to the issues.

During year two, Kenan and its partners the Center for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) and Inclusive Development Action (IDEA) have supported the continued development of CSO leaders and staff by conducting 127 mentoring trips for leaders and 272 mentoring trips for their staff. The mentorship process led to 35 specific women’s issues being identified, of which eight were selected for the CSOs to analyze and address in their communities. As a result of Kenan’s activity-based mentoring, the CSOs identified problems, developed solutions, and proposed policy changes to key decision makers during ten advocacy workshops.

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