Focus 2007: Interview with Marie Stopes International
We interviewed Nguyen Bich Hang, Country Representative of Marie Stopes International Vietnam (MSIVN), who gave us her view of the Reproductive Health / HIV-AIDS project in Vietnam.
What is the clinic's direct impact on the community?
There are not many health care facilities in Binh Duong, so workers and the general population still have limited access to Family Planning and Reproductive Health services.
With its focus on education and training, clients visiting the MSI Binh Duong clinic receive information about sensitive subjects such as HIV/AIDS. So the clinic's innovative approach is really making a difference.
What feedback have you been receiving from the community?
MSI Binh Duong and MSIVN have sought feedback in different ways. We conducted client exit interviews, mystery shoppers, questionnaires and had a comment box. In order to gain feedback, the MSI Binh Duong clinic manager and MSI Southern Vietnam programme manager spoke to random clients, to peer educators, peers and steering committees of the factories involved.
Most of the community members feel that they are respected, their privacy and confidentiality are safeguarded and they enjoyed receiving services in a friendly and very clean physical environment. Most workers recognise that the pricing policy they are offered at the clinic makes it very accessible.
Where do you see potential for improvement with respect to the collaboration with the adidas Group?
MSIVN has enjoyed a great collaboration with the adidas Group so far. The people involved in the project are supportive and dynamic, which makes our work at the factories much easier. MSIVN would like to look at further opportunities with the adidas Group to expand the coverage of our services and activities to locations in Vietnam other than Binh Duong and Ho Chi Minh City.
Do you feel the adidas Group supports this project with real engagement or is it just to improve its image?
We have witnessed a strategic approach to corporate responsibility on the part of the adidas Group's project team and a sense of deep empathy to the life and health of the workers in general, not just those who work for adidas Group supplier factories.
What was the learning for you through the collaboration with the adidas Group?
We have learnt a lot. We now have a better understanding of how leading companies see their social responsibilities and how powerful it is - for the workforce and the community in general - when they partner with the right civil society partner to tackle important social issues such as health.
What was the impact on Marie Stopes' work through the collaboration?
Marie Stopes International is very proud to have MSIVN as part of the initiative with the adidas Group, working with migrant youths, one of the most vulnerable population groups in Vietnam. As a learning organisation, the experience and lessons learnt from MSIVN have been shared with other partners both inside and outside the MSI Partnership. The initiative between the adidas Group and MSIVN has been recognised by Business for Social Responsibility as the only best practice seen in Vietnam when they visited the programme in early 2006. By working with the adidas Group, MSI/MSIVN has been recognised as a pioneer in partnering with the private sector to bring about social benefits to the community. We have learnt how to work with the private sector, and we understand how powerful the NGO-private sector partnership can be in improving the economic and social welfare of not only the individuals, but also the company involved.
What is your ideal future scenario with this project?
For the factories to have ongoing capacity to disseminate sexual and reproductive health information and services to the workers, right at the factories, in a respectful, non-judgmental manner.
Most of the workers are very young, dynamic and dedicated. Once they see their organisations really care about them, they will take responsibility for their own lives and for the success of their organisations.