30 Years of Action on Poverty
in Vietnam

Action on Poverty (AOP) celebrated its 30th Anniversary of working in Vietnam on Friday 22 March with a gala event in Hanoi.

“Our success over the last 30 years has been due to our ability to adapt to change to address issues of greatest need,” said Mr John Kell, Chair of Action on Poverty.

“We couldn’t have done this without the support of local communities, our partners and donors. We look forward to continuing to do this for at least the next 30 years.”

Mr John Kell speaking at the gala

AOP started working in Vietnam in 1989, and was then known as the Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific Limited (AFAP). It was the first Australian NGO to open a representative office in Vietnam in 1996.

James Biggs and Jock Harkness lay the foundations for AOP in Vietnam

AOP in Vietnam is best known for its pioneering work in developing community-based biological control programs for dengue fever in Vietnam.

From this work in the health sector, AOP in Vietnam expanded its programs to agriculture, water and sanitation, food security, climate change, livelihoods, and governance.

AOP's work in agriculture in the late 1990s

Over the last 30 years, AOP in Vietnam has empowered more than 250,000 vulnerable and disadvantaged people through 60 projects across 35 provinces, valued at more than USD$30 million.

“Our long-term development programs in Vietnam will focus on mountainous areas, reaching ethnic minorities, empowering women and children, and improving access to the market, information, technology, and public services,” said Mr Ta Van Tuan, Country Director of AOP in Vietnam.

At the gala, AOP received the Certificate of Merit from the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), presented by Mr Phan Anh Son, Director-General of The People’s Aid Co-ordinating Committee (PACCOM).

Professor Jock Harkness, former director of AOP; Christine Murphy, International Programs Director; Christine Pollard, Finance Director; and Ta Van Tuan also received medals for their contributions to poverty reduction in Vietnam.

L – R: Ta Van Tuan, Christine Pollard, Phan Anh Son, Christine Murphy and Jock Harkness at the gala

Mr Justin Baguley, Counsellor, Economic and Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, said: “Australia is proud to have been a long-term partner of AOP in its 30-year journey in Vietnam. Since 1997, Australia has provided AUD$20 million in funding to AOP in Vietnam to support vulnerable and disadvantaged people to have better living conditions.”

At the event, Mr Baguley also announced that AOP had been recently successful in securing funding of AUD 556,000 for a new Community-based Tourism project focused on women in Moc Chau and Van Ho districts, Son La province, from 2019 to 2021.

Mr Justin Baguley at the gala in Hanoi

Professor Scott O’Neill, Director of the World Mosquito Program (WMP), also congratulated AOP on this milestone. AOP partners with WMP on its Asia hub in Ho Chi Minh City, protecting communities in the region from mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika, and chikungunga.

“With AOP’s support, our on-site community engagement activities and partnership with Vietnam have been quickly established. We look forward to many more years of collaboration,” said Professor O’Neill.

Professor Scott O’Neill speaking at the gala

This event and the awards are tribute to AOP’s donors, supporters, staff and valuable friends – past and present – who continue to take action on poverty in Vietnam. Together, we are empowering local changemakers to break the poverty cycle in their communities.

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