On July 1, 2002, the Vietnam Women's Union issued Decision No. 220/QD-DCT to establish the Center for Women and Development (CWD). With the investment from the Government, a 14-story mixed-use complex located at 20 Thuy Khue, Hanoi was designed, built and put into use, serving the comprehensive development of Vietnamese women. In 2007, the construction and facilitation of the entire complex with 3 sections namely A, B, C were completed. Since its opening, the Center has organized many domestic and international conferences and seminars and provided business and hospitality services as well as vocational training to support the development of capacities, occupation skills, well-being and aesthetics for Vietnamese women.
With financial and technical assistance from various international organizations including the Spanish Agency for Development Cooperation (AECID), the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), etc., CWD has gradually expanded the scope and scale of operations and performed more essential support services. Up to now, the model of Peaceful House Shelter (PHS) offering free and comprehensive support for women who experience gender-based violence and human trafficking, the helpline 1900969680 giving counseling to women in need, and the counseling room have been CWD's outstanding successes recognized by the Government and domestic and international organizations. CWD has also replicated its activities in several provinces (Hai Phong, Can Tho, Dak Nong) and has become a reputable social service provider in all aspects of women’s lives. Some of the most successful services include providing training and coaching to build capacityand improve occupational skills and knowledge for women, especially vulnerable and disadvantaged groups; organizing career counseling and business development support; giving legal and policy consultations and counselings on women's rights, marriage, family, and gender.
Following are the formation and development stages of CWD:
STAGE 1 (2002 – 2006)BUILDING RELIABLE FACILITIES
On July 1, 2002, Vietnam Women's Union issued Decision No. 220 on establishing the Center for Women and Development based on Notice No. 01/TB-VPCP by the Prime Minister. Right after its establishment, CWD focused on building facilities to become a place performing services reliable service provider to support women such as through vocational training, coaching, information provision, development support services for women and other development support services. With the management and staff's strong determination and hard work strong determination and hard work from the management board and staff, the complex the 14-floor complex with 3 aesthetic and modern blocks of 14 floors had been completed, serving as the basis foundation for CWD to bring about operate its business and social services.
STAGE 2 (2007 – 2016)COMPLETING THE OPERATION MODEL
In 2007, CWD officially put the newly built 14-story complex into use. The center operated with its own organizational structure, seal, bank account, and full-time officers working in different areas. During this stage, CWD gradually built and expanded its fields of services from hospitality, event organization to social services for women such as Peace House Shelters, vocational and capacity training, start-ups/businesses support, or information provision.
In 2007, CWD was honored to welcome Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to visit the Center and attend one of the first conferences of the Vietnam Women’s Union held at CWD. This is considered the starting point of further political events by the Union at 20 Thuy Khue.
Also in March 2007, CWD launched the pilot of the first shelter in Vietnam that provides support to women who experience domestic violence and human trafficking. In April 2007, CWD welcomed the first women survivors to the shelter. This was the forerunner of the later CWD's Peace House Shelter (PHS) that supports women experiencing gender-based violence. The shelter has successfully helped many women to get the support they need and reintegrate into the community, which then became a successful model for providing essential services in crisis intervention and support to disadvantaged women. Using this model, CWD established the affiliated Peace House Shelter in Phu Tho on September 19, 2009.
In 2011, CWD established Huong Sen Kindergarten to take care of children of human trafficking and domestic violence survivors who have difficulty reintegrating into the community, and create favorable conditions for the children's development and reintergration.
From 2013 to 2014, aprroved by the Presidium of the Union in November 2013, the Information and Counseling Center for Women project was put into operation in April 2014 to meet women’s needs for information in the era of globalization.
STAGE 3 (2017 – PRESENT)EXPANDING, DEVELOPING, AND ASSERTING THE ROLES OF SUPPORT SERVICES
The Center has made great efforts to utilize its facilities and gradually improved its services quality. With an average capacity of over 122,000 customers/year, CWD has held hundreds of important domestic and international events of the Vietnam Women's Union and served a wide range of customers including different ministries/departments/sectors, as well as international organizations, companies, and individuals. As its annual revenue increases each year and the services’ quality is gradually improved, the Center has been widely recognized as a unit under the Central Union offering attentive and responsive services. Besides, the achievements of the models of support services for women and children have been gradually recognized, which is a good foundation for replication and expansion to serve the diverse needs of women from all over the country.
2017: The Union decided to merge the Center for the Advancement of Women of Can Tho into the Center for Women and Development. In this same year, CWD put the helpline 1900 96 96 80 into operation to provide counseling for women experiencing human trafficking and domestic violence.
2018: CWD opened a Peace House Shelter in Can Tho to support women experiencing domestic violence and human trafficking in the South.
2019: The Union merged the Dak Nong Vocational Training Center into CWD with an aim to bringing the supports to women in the Central Highlands.
In the wake of women’s diverse needs in this globalization era, CWD has learned and implemented many new practical models that help raise society’s awareness, including the White Ribbon Breakfast Events to encourage men's engagement in the prevention of violence against women, the Friday Forum to provide women with useful information about many aspects of their life, a space for networking and showcasing products made by women, the helpline and school counseling services for women, the Peace Shop to raise funds to support survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence, and so on.