LIN Center for Community Development

LIN's mission is to provide support services to local NPOs, skilled volunteers and donors who are committed to building strong communities. The LIN Center for Community Development serves grassroots not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) and individual and corporate philanthropists located in and around Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. By helping local people to meet local needs, LIN aims to promote a healthy environment for philanthropy in Vietnam and strengthen the communities in which we live and work.
Dec 21, 2015

From Compassion to Action

Keynote Speaker - Mdm. Ton Nu Thi Ninh
Keynote Speaker - Mdm. Ton Nu Thi Ninh

On 14 November, LIN organized the event, "From Compassion to Action", which honored 40 Human Resource Management professionals who supported nine NPOs through the Community Partnership Initiative (CPI) program in 2015. The event took place on the morning of the 14th November at the Institute of Cultural Exchange with France (IDECAF).

Former Diplomat Mdm. Ton Nu Thi Ninh, was the special guest and keynote speaker for the event. In her remarks, she stressed that money is not the main answer in humanitarian work and that humanitarianism is not simply about giving... .

"I think over the concept of give and take, and I prefer that we use the concept of sharing. When we talk about giving and receiving, although it is correct that this is a two-way process, reciprocity, the word "give" comes across as though it is an action of a superior, someone who has the upper hand; while the receiver is viewed as being inferior, as if they are in a weaker position... Instead, we can use the concept of sharing, which is a more empowering concept." shared Madame Ton Nu Thi Ninh.

“From Compassion to Action” was the culminating event for the CPI 2015, which launched in July. The first prize to the most efficient team, in terms of operations, was awarded to the team of ProSelf and Thien An Shelter. The second prize to the most supportive volunteer group was awarded to a team of skilled volunteers who partnered with the Breast Cancer Network of Vietnam. The NPOs in both teams each received a small grant to support continued HR improvements (VND 40 million and VND 30 million respectively).

Following the event, Ms. Fiammetta Mancini, UNV Programme Officer in Vietnam, shared her views on the CPI program and volunteerism in Vietnam:

“As a global advocate for the recognition of volunteerism, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Vietnam would like to show appreciation to the skilled volunteers who have contributed their time and expertise to support local NPOs within LIN Center’s Community Partnership Initiative (CPI), as well as encourage those who are considering volunteering for the first time or will continue volunteering following the “From Compassion to Action” Event organized by LIN Center on 14th November.

The CPI is indeed an example of how everyone can play a role in the healthy growth of our communities, and thus our countries, and of how volunteering can become part of a lifestyle.

UNV, present in Vietnam since 1990, and LIN Center have now been collaborating for several years, as UNV supports the cause of LIN Center in providing a valuable platform for volunteering in Ho Chi Minh City, and we commend their efforts in strengthening communities through volunteerism. Such efforts are even more needed in the new era of Sustainable Development, which has just started with the adoption on the Sustainable Development Goals to guide us in the achievement of more equitable and sustainable societies by 2030. This new set of common goals, established through an extensive and inclusive process of consultations, is very ambitious and comprehensive, ranging from the eradication of poverty, to quality education for all, gender equality, taking urgent action to combat climate change, promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, and other important areas, with the underpinning principle of “leaving no one behind”.

If we count exclusively on government policy, private and public investment to make things happen, we probably will not have enough resources to reach everybody. You cannot ensure we leave no one behind without volunteers. It is in this context of enhanced commitment to work together towards shared goals of Sustainable Development that I congratulate LIN Center and all the skilled volunteers for the good work side by side with NPOs who are striving to improve communities. With my best wishes and the hope to hear more stories of skilled volunteers in Vietnam”.

***

Reflections from a CPI 2015 Volunteer, Ms. Nguyen Thanh Nga  

On July 2015, thanks to LIN, our Decathlon group matched with Thien Tâm Huong, an NPO (not-for-profit organization). This is the first time we participated in the event as skilled volunteers.

At first, we learned that three months preparing for this program was a long time compared to other social works that only took place in the course of one day. However, after starting the work with Thien Tam Huong, we realized that three months was not long enough. While some charity or social works such as blood donation or cleaning up offers immediate results, this project took an entire process to get to that point.

After our very first experience cooperating with LIN, we recognized that this is a very meaningful activity indeed.

Though it took time to get real results, we realized that if NPOs themselves figure out and solve their own problems, this self-actualization will help them improve their capacity in the process. In some cases, this program helped to raise awareness and that in itself has very long term effect on developing organizations.

We are worried about NPOs nowadays that first started out as a small size organization with a great mission for the entire community yet often times have a shortage of resources to implement their programs and activities. When these same NPOs have transitioned to a bigger scale, many new problems may arise particularly with management and team capacity. Will their NPOs’ leaders have strong enough visions to change, adapt or transition to new leadership when new situations or challenges arise?

As volunteers, we have learned a lot of things while consulting for NPOs. Besides understanding more about different activity models, we realized there are many communities’ values that were aimed by various NPOs’ activities. We also learned how to work more flexibly in order to adapt to our NPO partner’s individual challenges and realities.

Above all, we were very happy when our partner received their achievements. That is one of the many ways for us to contribute back to the community.

BCNV & Volunteer Reps Share Their Experience
BCNV & Volunteer Reps Share Their Experience
Participants at "From Compassion to Action"
Participants at "From Compassion to Action"

Links:

Dec 10, 2015

Report from CHANGE on PowerUp!

GreenDance Group
GreenDance Group

The Center of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment (CHANGE), the third prize winner of the Narrow the Gap Fund for the Environment 2015, shared with LIN an update from their POWER UP event, which took place on November 25th in Ho Chi Minh City...

"We did it!!! We talked about coal. We talked about RE (renewable energy). We talked about Global Climate March. We talked about the world's future. We talked about everything it takes to inspire the Vietnamese to speak up for their own survival. We cannot march in the streets like all other countries do, but if we can gather this crowd, and make them this engaged, this empowered, we know, there's hope that the climate movement in Vietnam will accelerate to a new level... 

The massive turnout, with 1,500 attendees and more than 20 artists, all championed for our intended message on climate change, anti-coal and pro- renewable energy was sent to world leaders at COP 21. This is the best result CHANGE could have asked for and future prospects for the Vietnamese climate change movement are looking promising.

Check out the photos, the link to a 350.org blog post about the event, a Vietnamese press release and a clip by Tuoitre news online.

CHANGE would like to express its sincere appreciation for the paramount support from the Narrow the Gap Community Fund. We cannot reiterate enough how potent such support has been in building a sustainable future for Vietnam and our overall planet."

Congratulations to CHANGE on a successful event!

(Note: The event update was written by Ms. Hong and Mr. Binh from CHANGE.)

 

The Crowd at PowerUp
The Crowd at PowerUp
PowerUp
PowerUp

Attachments:
Oct 27, 2015

Young NPO Leader Reports on LIN Community Event

Photo Booth at NTG Event
Photo Booth at NTG Event

Earlier this year, LIN launched the NPO Young Leaders Circle to facilitate peer mentorship and support to the leaders of developing, grassroots nonprofit organizations. Members of LIN's NPO Young Leaders Circle were encouraged to join LIN's Annual Narrow the Gap Community Event: Take Action for the Environment, which took place on 26 September 2015 at the HCMC University of Social Sciences and Humanities.  Each member was given the following three objectives:

  1. Make at least ten new relationships that they did not have previously;
  2. Share five things they learned or experienced during the event; and
  3. Introduce their organization/project to at least three people at the event.

After the event, Ms. Phun Cam Linh, representative of Smile Group and a member of the NPO Young Leaders Circle, shared her experiences with the LIN team and other members:

"During my time at LIN's Narrow the Gap Event, I not only visited the booths of LIN's partners but I also learned about the three project finalists and many other activities of supporting partners and event sponsors.

By being asked to look more carefully at these events, I could see that behind these activities are various ideas about communication that can be useful for my own organization and others. For me, participating in this event gave me an opportunity to learn and know more about different ways of communicating, building the reputation and offering a unique impression of an organization to the community and to various participants.

People used many well-known ways of communicating, such as: brochures, banners, posters, uniform T-shirts, business cards, and more...   In addition, there were creative forms of communication that some people and organizations used to demonstrate effectiveness and spread their image.

For example, look at the way two corporate sponsors spread messages:

  • Lois Garden – Besides their booth for teaching gardening and selling plants, they also hosted a photo booth that displayed many plants and engaged people to come take pictures and make a commitment to protect the environment. The booth provided a lovely background that was suitable to the event's theme of environment. And it was a subtle way to make people aware of their garden and leave an impression. Below the plans, there was a simple banner, "We are LOIS GARDEN".  For every person that posted a photo of themselve in the both, their friends would see this message and may be attracted to come to LOIS GARDEN.
  • Prudential – Prudential company sponsored the photo booth as well.  [For every photo taken in the booth and shared on Facebook, Prudential agreed to donate money to the Narrow the Gap Fund for the Environment.] This was made clear in the way the sponsor applied Prudential stickers to each of the environmental actions people could choose to hold up in their photo as a way of making a commitment to protect the environment. By the stickers on the messages and by the Facebook campaign, the company could promote its branch and activities supporting the community.

Beside the corporate sponsors, I could see how nonprofit organizations' communicate, especially the three finalists for a grant. For example:

  • ECO Vietnam Group – This nonprofit made great use of its human resources, in particular their volunteers, who walked around wearing bright yellow T-shirts and some of whom wore a small board with colorful pictures and messages to request support. The actions attracted people's attention. Besides, they also communicated with people through real stories, products and examples. This kind of communication was impressive, and gave them a significant advantage to attract people's first impression and create curiousity to learn more about the organization.
  • Deaf Community of HCMC (DCOH) – Similar to ECO Vietnam Group, DCOH had all of its team and members wearing a uniform with the logo of the organization on it.  They also engaged their members to giving out cards and creating a painting by people's fingerprints.  In addition, DCOH members put stickers with their logo on it onto the shirts of event guests, which was an effective way for the deaf community members to communicate that they wanted their votes. 

And there were many other organizations communicating in their own way.

LIN's Narrow the Gap Community Event provided a diverse environment for meeting and connecting people working in many fields who are all similarly concerned about the "Environment". At the event, people could meet friends (new and old); learn about environment and vote for the best project to support this year.  The event also gave me a good idea about the diversity of communication methods. I wonder, which communication method does your organization apply to communicate information and leave a unique impression?"

***

The NPO Young Leaders Circle was launched in May 2015 with 15 members from LIN's NPO partners. Nine members are female and all members are between the ages of 21 to 35 with the average age of 26 years old. 15 members were divided into four groups and made responsible for one of four activities: (1) Communications, (2) External Networking, (3) Peer Sharing and (4) Training.  LIN coordinates the events and helps each team plan and execute elevent activities per year.  The next activity of the NPO Young Leader's Circle is a peer sharing, which will take place on October 24, 2015 at LIN Community Center. During the meeting, young leaders will have an opportunity to exchange experiences and challenges they are facing in their work. 

Links:

 
   

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