GOOD LIVING FOR THE ETHNIC MINORITY COMMUNITY IN DIEN BIEN
In 2019, Gilead Asia Pacific Rainbow Grant funded the Good Living project by The Center for Community Health Research and Development (CCRD) to be implemented in Dien Bien – the poorest province in the Northern Mountain of Vietnam. The project seeks to improve the life of ethnic minorities affected by HIV/AIDS by creating a more supportive community through the reduction of stigma and discrimination. The project intervention methods apply social behavior change communication theories and are tailored to the local culture and audience preference for better learning outcomes.
For the Dien Bien community, folk-art performance is one of the main ways to convey educational messages. Our troop thus created and produced a short drama, traditional songs and dance based on true stories compiled by CCRD to provide basic knowledge and understanding on HIV/AIDS, and to address the issues of stigma and discrimination in the community. As we integrate HIV/AIDS education messages into our drama, we supported it by facilitating audience interaction through Q&As after the show.
Due to special mountainous conditions, our art troop was organized as a mobile team who would travel from community to community to perform for communities in remote areas, who have very limited access to communication mediums.
After four months of implementation, we tabulate close to 5,500 locals who attended our performances. This was despite rough weather conditions that were not favorable to outdoor activities. Additionally, the performing team received very positive feedback from the audience and local leaders. Our tentative analysis from audience surveys also indicated significant improvement in knowledge, and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS.
In addition to the art performances, commune advocacy meetings were also organized in high HIV prevalence communes to raise awareness on the local situation, as well as call for political support to improve the living conditions of people affected by HIV/AIDS. Around 80 local leaders attended these advocacy meetings and made high commitment to the fight against stigma and discrimination in their locality.
Graph: Average change in levels of stigma and discrimination against HIV/AIDS before and after intervention.
Levels of stigma and discrimination towards HIV/AIDS dropped 43.5% post folk-art performances, and 44% post advocacy meetings. CCRD believes that misunderstandings arising from misinformation is the root cause of stigma and discrimination, and hope that with our efforts, a community that is more supportive of people living with HIV/AIDS will be realized.
To find out more about our folk-art performances, read our photo essay here.
Center for Community Health Research and Development (CCRD) is a Vietnamese NGO specialized in community and public health promotion and development. CCRD is a founding member, and the current Chair of the Partnership for Health Equity (PAHE) group, a network of Vietnamese NGOs and Academic institutions devoted to health equity promotion.
Founded in 2002, CCRD has received a number of awards of merit from the Vietnamese Government for our health and development programs in Vietnam. Our mission is to contribute to the improvement and equity of healthcare and social advancement for all Vietnamese people through a systematic and sustainable approach that emphasizes capacity building, and is sensitive to cultural differences. CCRD’s intervention and research prioritizes women children, and vulnerable and disadvantaged population groups.