President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan  (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan spoke to the Vietnam Economic Times about the operation of the fund for the poor over the past 16 years.

* Since the year 2000, October 17 has marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. How has that day been celebrated in Vietnam over the last 16 years?

As a response to the international holiday, the Vietnam Fatherland Front called on people nation-wide to observe October 17 as the Day for the Poor and established a Fund for the Poor. From 2000 on, October 17 has been the Day for the Poor in Vietnam.

Since then, the Fund for the Poor has received more than 11.4 trillion VN D (513.5 million USD ) in donations from people from all walks of life. In addition, the Fund for the Poor has mobilised 31.1 trillion VN D (1.39 billion USD ) to support the social security program me network nationwide.

Meanwhile, every Vietnam Fatherland Chapter in of our country has closely co-ordinated with the People’s Committees in all 63 cities and provinces to build and repair almost 1.5 million houses for the poor. That’s not all; tens of millions of poor households have received financial and material support to help them expand their production. In addition, thousands of civil projects like school construction, first aid infirmaries, civil bridges, rural roads and others have been built.

Last but not least, in the past 16 years, millions of people have received financial support in health checks and treatment.

* Will you please tell us some of the programme’s key successes so far this year?

In the first nine months of this year, the Fund for the Poor successfully mobilised 945 billion VN D (42.36 million USD ), donated 2.5 trillion VN D (115 million USD ) to national social security and gave financial aid to over 149,000 poor households to expand their production and 295,000 poor pupils to continue with their studies.

In the period under review, the Vietnam Fatherland Front - together with its chapters nationwide - launched a new campaign to call on people from all walks of life to join efforts in building new rural areas and civilised urban areas. And more recently, on October 3, the Presidium of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and the Government jointly signed a Resolution to co-ordinate to reduce poverty in a sustainable manner and campaign to build new rural area and civilised urban areas. The Resolution will be implemented over the next five years.

* What are the differences between this year’s activities and those in the previous years?

The most notable difference is the way the campaign was done.

In the past, the mobilisation campaign separated Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee activities from those done by the Government. The campaign now is closely co-ordinated between the Fatherland Front and the Government as it is written in the Resolution signed on October 3.

Under the document, both the Vietnam Fatherland Front and the Government at all levels will work closely together to ensure that the program will tend to each and every poor household until it escapes poverty.

Many social organisations nationwide have joined in campaign, including the Vietnam Farmers’ Union, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and the Vietnam War Veterans. I’m confident that our poverty alleviation program will be successful and sustainable. What’s more important is that poor households will become richer in a decent way.

Referring to lessons drawn from the past 16 years, here I just want to list three most important lessons as follows:

First, we need better co-ordination between the Vietnam Fatherland Front and its member organisations.

Second, besides the close co-ordination between the Fatherland Front and its members, we also need helping hands from other social and political organisations, as well as great efforts from the people themselves.

And finally, we need a strong management mechanism to ensure the fund will be used safely and efficiently.-VNA