by Natalia Pastori Curbelo
On the 10th of January, 2023, Includovate, alongside UNICEF Viet Nam and the Action to the Community Development Institute (ACDC), organised an OPD workshop at Pan Pacific Hotel in Hanoi. This hybrid event — with some participants joining online — represented a crucial step in Includovate’s assessment of the availability of community-based services for children with disabilities in Viet Nam, commissioned by UNICEF Viet Nam in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and its Department of Children’s Affairs.
Includovate is currently undertaking a study to assess the availability and accessibility of community-based services for children with disabilities, including education, social assistance, child protection, health care, and rehabilitation. The study intends to provide updated information to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
Moreover, the study will make specific and practical recommendations for service availability for children with disabilities for the rollout of Decision №1438/QĐ-TTg. This Decision acknowledges children with disabilities in its scope and aims to make services available for children with disabilities, including protection, care and education. Includovate’s study will collect evidence to inform a national programme and advocate for improved policies. This information will also assist with the revision of the Law on Persons with Disabilities and the implementation of the master plan on persons with disabilities for 2021–2030.
Policy and legal analysis and minimum standards and indicators
As part of this study, Includovate completed a policy and legal analysis to identify gaps in Viet Nam’s plans, strategies and standards for service delivery for children with disabilities. The analysis used criteria based on the UNPRPD MPTF’s six preconditions to ensure disability inclusion across policies, services, and other interventions. The preconditions include equality and non-discrimination; service delivery; accessibility; participation of persons with disabilities; CRPD-compliant budgeting and financial management; and accountability and governance. Overall, 18 relevant documents were analysed.
This review shows that Viet Nam has made significant strides through enacting policies, decrees and relevant plans to ensure disability-inclusive community-based services for persons with disabilities, including children. Out of the 18 documents reviewed, the law on persons with disabilities scored the highest on all preconditions, besides the CRPD-compliant budgeting and financial management and Accountability and governance. Notably, almost all the legal frameworks do not present available evidence/data on the inequalities in SDG indicators/ targets facing children with different types of disabilities. Similarly, only a few indicate the use of statistical and research data disaggregated by intersectional categories.
Following the policy and legal analysis, Includovate drafted a set of minimum standards for inclusive community-based services, using four dimensions: a) facilities and infrastructure, b) human resources; c) utilisations of services; and d) financial resources.
The main objective of the OPD regional meeting was to share and review the documents mentioned above and to ensure that the entire research process is participatory and OPD’s representatives’ point of view and feedback is incorporated. The meeting allowed OPD representatives to identify any missing national legislative or policy requirements/targets for providing community-based services for children with disabilities. Furthermore, ACDC (Includovate’s partner OPD in the research study) presented the minimum standards for inclusive community-based services and shared their views with the participants.
Additionally, the meeting allowed Includovate’s team to present the stakeholder mapping process (using Kumu software) that is also a part of the study. The stakeholder map will help to identify relationships and connections among actors involved in community-based services and identify opportunities to improve a system’s overall performance. Following the stakeholder mapping presentation, participants had the opportunity to share examples of best practices of service delivery in Viet Nam.
Includovate organised the meeting in person and via Zoom to ensure that even remote participants could attend. An online form was sent to all registered participants before the event inquiring about reasonable accommodation needs. A language interpreter (Vietnamese/English) and a sign language interpreter were a part of the meeting.
The OPD meeting was a successful and fruitful event. There were regular breaks and group work to ensure maximum participation and feedback. While organising a hybrid event with people with different disabilities can be challenging, the rewards are there for those who try. It was cost-effective and included more people than if a face-to-face meeting was held. From the meeting, Includovate was able to gather rich information on the experience of OPDs in accessing services and advocating for changes. The meeting was essential in assessing the availability of community-based services for children with disabilities.
About the Author
Natalia Pastori Curbelo works as a Bilingual Associate Researcher at Includovate. She graduated from the Republic’s University in Uruguay with a degree in Political Science and later on, completed her Master’s degree in Government and Public Administration from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). In 2019, the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Coimbra Group of Brazilian Universities (GCUB) awarded her a scholarship that allowed her to study at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF) in Brazil and achieve her second Master’s degree in Social Policy. She has experience in Policy Analysis, Policy Evaluation, and Social Network Analysis, mainly focusing on social protection issues, gender, and migration. Natalia is currently based in Brazil and can speak Spanish, English, French and Portuguese, fluently.
Includovate is a feminist research incubator that “walks the talk”. Includovate is an Australian social enterprise consisting of a consulting firm and research incubator that designs solutions for gender equality and social inclusion. Its mission is to incubate transformative and inclusive solutions for measuring, studying, and changing discriminatory norms that lead to poverty, inequality, and injustice. To know more about us at Includovate, follow our social media: @includovate, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram.