Contributing to the National program of Poverty Reduction, many activities and services from local authorities / sectors and social organizations were established in order to provide practical supports for the poor to improve their housing condition, to access urban services as well as to increase their income.
One of the first initiatives was to set up the network of Community Development Fund (CDF) which was originally established in 5 Cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Can Tho, Quy Nhon, Viet Tri. Until now, the activities of the Community Development Fund has been replicated in other cities in Viet Nam such as Vinh, Lang Son, Thai Nguyen, Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Ha Tinh, Ben Tre … which have been members of The Association of Cities of Vietnam (ACVN).
Community Development Fund was formed mainly and primarily based on networks of savings groups from local communities. People started saving and used their savings to implement the project. Community saving funds was supported by further investment from local governments for small infrastructure projects thanks to the central governmental policy of “State and people work together”.
Besides CDF was added through the framework of some internationally sponsored programs such as the Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA), Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) , Oxfam Novib, SELAVIP … funded through the council as the Association of Cities of Vietnam (ACVN), organizations like Environment and Development Action in Vietnam (Enda Vietnam), has practically contributed to improving housing, infrastructure or improve the economic life for poor families with prompt and simple procedures in order to help them step out the doorway of urban poor.
Furthermore, a team of Community Volunteers and activities in parallel with the support of funds, there were additional technical supports from groups of young architects or community collaborators.
The model of the Community Development Fund (CDF) with self-help saving groups has proven to be an effective community-based social safety net to protect poor households from unexpected shocks and risks (disease, accident, death, business loss) and/or to meet immediate needs (school fees, business opportunity) when a government social welfare system is not in place. In all projects of Enda Vietnam, savings have become a financial habit of households. The development of credit and savings activities along with awareness-raising campaigns has created a positive and sustainable change in the role of women in family and community decision making.
Although at this time Enda Vietnam is not directly managing national community funds as before, the impact of CFD has been expanded nationwide, contributing to national program of poverty reduction. So far, small community funds have been inserted into almost current programs of Enda Vietnam in order to help poor and pro-poor people improve their livelihood and access to social insurance services.