A leading official from the central province of Quang Nam on November 25 called for assistance and aid from foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for its localities.

At a conference to strengthen cooperation between the province and NGOs in Hanoi, Tran Kim Hung, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Council, emphasised several priority areas for investment, including agro-forestry, healthcare, environmental hygiene, educational infrastructure, community development and personnel training.

A new format for the conference that makes it stand out from previous years enables donors to engage in direct dialogues with leaders of districts where foreign aid and investment are needed. Representatives from four Quang Nam localities--Phu Ninh, Tay Giang, Nong Son and Tam Ky --were present at the event, which was jointly held by the provincial People’s Committee, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM).

They provided a list of projects calling for investment, including one to build a centre for children affected by agent orange and dioxin in Phu Ninh district with an estimated budget of around 1.8 million USD, another 3 billion VND project to help eliminate dilapidated houses and a 1.2 billion VND project to build accommodation for primary students in Axan commune, Tay Giang district.

According to a representative from the provincial Department of External Affairs, during the 2005-2009 period, foreign NGO aid for Quang Nam province increased by 5-7 percent annually. Their assistance has proven effective, contributing to the province’s socio-economic development.

In 2008, 58 projects were implemented in Quang Nam province with a total disbursed capital of 1.4 million USD. The disbursement value in the first half of 2009 reached 2.1 million USD. The NGO-funded projects mainly focused on such areas as health, education, infrastructure building, technology transfer, micro-financing, environmental protection and disaster mitigation, as well as gender equality.

However, in the past, foreign NGOs have mainly provided small-sized emergency aid for the province to cope with natural disasters, said VUFO President Vu Xuan Hong, who expressed the wish that in the coming time, foreign NGOs switch to a model of supporting large-scale projects and long-term programmes.

Quang Nam is located in the central key economic zone with many attractive features to encourage development and international integration. The province boasts two world cultural heritage sites—the Hoi An Ancient Town and the My Son Sanctuary—and a long coastline on one side, and a borderline with Laos on the other. It is home to the Nam Giang National Bordergate lying on the East-West Economic Corridor, which connects the central region with Lao, Thai, Cambodian and Myanmar provinces.

Hong said that at present, more than 750 NGOs are cooperating with and assisting Vietnam, compared to 200 in early 1990s. The value of disbursed NGO aid for the country reached 250 million USD in 2008, up 75 million USD against 2005.

The aid mainly focused on recovering from the consequences of war, economic development, poverty reduction, environmental protection, emergency aid, remedying social issues and improving the capacity of Vietnam’s partners./.