Evaluation of the Vietnam Country Program, 2009-10 to 2016-17 – Summary Report

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Evaluation of the Vietnam Country Program Full report

Why is it important?

This evaluation was conducted to provide an evidence-based neutral assessment of development assistance in Vietnam to Canadians, Parliamentarians, Ministers, Central Agencies, Global Affairs Canada management, partners, and beneficiaries.

It aims to contribute to informed decision-making and to support policy and program improvements by helping to identify good practices and lessons.

What the evaluation assessed

Global Affairs Canada’s development assistance programming in Vietnam between 2009-10 and 2016-17, with focus on a purposeful selection of projects supported by the Asia-Pacific Branch (OGM) and, where applicable, the Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch (KFM) and the Global Issues and Development Branch (MFM).

The evaluation questions that were asked


Effectiveness (Results Achieved)



Evaluation Scope

What the evaluation found


The Program was aligned with the official development needs and priorities of Vietnam. Key areas of focus for Vietnam were improved market efficiency and competitiveness, human resource development, and infrastructure, as well as gender equality and the environment. Capacity building was an integral part of programming and helped shape Vietnam’s plans, priorities, and strategies across levels of government and thematic sectors. The Program conducted sector-specific analyses and understood that there was a need to pay attention to certain higher-risk populations. In practice, the needs of target groups, such as women and ethnic minorities, were not well reflected in projects.



Projects helped the Government of Vietnam implement their plans in the sectors of environmental policy and legislative reform, agriculture and rural development, and SME development. Projects were successfully facilitated by relationships. The legacy of capacity building activities and training is evident in multiple sectors, particularly in the environmental policy and legislative reform sectors. In some cases, project theories of change were ambitious and required contextual changes well beyond project scope to achieve continued results.


Summary of Recommendations and Management Responses

Recommendation 1: Consider sun-setting projects in sectors where the achievement of results has been limited and find different ways of engaging in those sectors where there is mutual interest.

Recommendation 2: Use analyses of the challenges that have made it difficult to advance gender issues to identify new programming opportunities. Where this is not possible, use policy dialogue to lay the groundwork for future programming.

Recommendation 3: Consider the length of time needed for societal change and lengthy approval processes when designing project timelines.

Recommendation 4: Articulate a coherent strategy in core documents, which are approved by senior management to serve planning and results management.

Recommendation 5: Global Affairs Canada should pursue a solution for the management and sharing documents between Missions and headquarters.

Considerations for Future International Assistance Programming

Considerations for Geographic Branch Programming

  1. In-country experts, project stakeholders, and graduates from past projects can play a valuable role in building capacity, raising awareness, and improving the monitoring and achievement of results. There is an opportunity for Global Affairs Canada to play a role in continuing to connect these interlocutors beyond their immediate involvement in projects through the establishment of networking events or platforms. The benefit of continued involvement with these interlocutors can extend project results, bolster relationships, and improve Canada’s understanding of the longer-term impact of its interventions.
  2. In countries that are rapidly changing, Global Affairs Canada should consider going beyond the traditional scope of development programming. This can include working in sectors that support government partners’ abilities to adapt to rapid expansion, particularly in the areas of industrial pollution control, public sector management related to industrial regulation, and labour rights. It can also include stronger links and cohesion between trade and diplomacy work within the country.
  3. Achieving gender equality results, as the Feminist International Assistance Policy demands, will require shifts in how programming is designed, implemented, and monitored, as well as the nature of international assistance investments. This should involve changing the nature of some projects or project activities, and leveraging complementary, non-project mechanisms such as policy dialogue. Close relationships and ongoing dialogue with government partners, as well as access to gender expertise and its integration in all aspects of programming, will be required to support these shifts. Global Affairs Canada may also need to reconsider engaging in sectors where the unique needs of women and girls are not acknowledged by partners, or where there appears to be less need for intervention.
  4. With regards to climate change, in countries experiencing rapid industrial expansion, Canada’s recognized achievements in the environmental sector can position it to be an advocate for the inclusion of mitigation programming alongside current adaptation work.

Considerations for International Assistance Programming across Branches

  1. Global Affairs Canada should play a role in fostering information exchange and greater coherence through more explicit mechanisms and engagement between project staff and beneficiaries in various sectors. Project objectives and results often reinforce one another.
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