|Flowers planted by member of the Self-Helping Intergenerational Club in Hai Phong. Photo: HelpAge International in Vietnam|
Experts predict that Vietnam will be one of the fastest aging countries in Asia. By 2035, they expect that the ratio of the population aged 65 or older will have jumped from 7 percent to 14 percent in a period of just 17–18 years. That will have major social, health, and economic implications for the country, particularly given that Vietnam has limited resources to properly respond to such rapid changes and has no established long-term care system yet. Without innovative, cost-effective, and affordable interventions, Vietnam will have difficulty meeting its sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Against that backdrop, since 2006, HelpAge International in Vietnam (HAIV) and its local partners, including the Vietnam Association of the Elderly and the Vietnam Women’s Union, have piloted the Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) model—community-based organizations that promote healthy longevity through a variety of inter-generational activities.
Recognizing the importance of the ISHCs, the Government of Vietnam issued Decision No.1533/QD-TTg on the Project of Replication of the ISHC model (Period 2016-2020).
The Decision No.1336 sets out specific targets for quantity and quality in the club model replication. In terms of quantity, the target is that by 2025, at least 95% of the provinces and municipalities in the country will have ISHCs in their communities; At least 3,000 new clubs will be built with 150,000 new members, of which more than 100,000 are older people. In terms of quality, the ISHCs should strive to ensure the composition of membership (each Club should have 50-70 members, of which 60% - 70% are women, 60% - 70% are older people, 30-40% are young people, priority is given to people with difficult circumstances); At least 70% of the Clubs should be active in every fields and are well managed so that at least 50% of their members can get loans for income generating activities, all members are entitled to improvement of physical and mental health, raise awareness, knowledge and protect their rights; 100% of the Clubs should have a fund for income generating activities and an operational fund which is managed by the club themseves in accordance with the regulations.
This is clear evidence to show that the Government has recognized the effectiveness of the ISHC model in improving the quality of material and mental life, actively contributing to health care, eradicating poverty and increasing income, promoting social participation and protecting the interests of older people.
The strength of the ISHC model is that it covers many fields of activity to meet the diverse needs of members and communities, bringing positive changes in all aspects of older people's life today and tomorrow, contributing to raising the voice of as well as including the participation from the beneficiaries themselves.
|The Self-Helping Intergenerational Club helps older people in their income generating activities. Photo: HelpAge International in Vietnam|
The rapid growth in the number of ISHCs (nearly 3,000 in June 2020) shows that the model has met the needs and aspirations of the people in general and of older people in particular, is approved by the Association of the Elderly and is supported by local authorities. That is also the reason that the ISHC model won the Grand Prize in the Healthy Aging Prize for Asian Innovation 2020, organized by the Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) under the auspices of the Japanese government. In addition, the ISHC model was also honored by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) as a good practice in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Decision No.1336/QD-TTg was assigned to the Vietnam Association of the Elderly, the Vietnam National Committee for Elderly, ministries, branches, central agencies and People's Committees of provinces and municipalities for implementation./.
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