SHOWCASE February 25, 2016

Vilead – Vietnam LGBT Leadership Development Program

In the recent years, LGBT community in Vietnam has reached many achievements, from country wide campaign on same sex marriage, to community mobilization and fight for the right of transgender people. Vietnam has become one of the typical example of community strength in the regions.  To keep up the pace, having a new generation of leadership is critical. This is where ViLEAD, a leadership program led by ICS, shines its way out; and Youth Voices Count, a youth network supported by APCOM, has a chance to participate and hold a small session during this program.

ViLEAD is a leadership program which aims at amplifying “change for cause” passion among LGBT community, as well as building leadership capacity and prepare a new generation of LGBT leader across Vietnam. With support from many development agencies such as UNDP, this program soon grows to be one of the most attractive and meaningful activity led by and for young LGBT people.

The program has been implemented for three years,  generated many active young leaders for local activities, acted as local seed, which connected local community to the bigger country picture. Mentees were selected from many provinces across the country, based on their contributions to local LGBT activities.

Andrey Tan (right), YVC's Network Officer explaining LGBT youth movement in the region.

Andrey Tan (right), YVC’s Network Officer explaining LGBT youth movement in the region.

This year’s program also have the participation of  he ViLEAD alumni, acted as mentors for a younger generation, in the training and also in follow-up campaign.  In 4 days, mentees are updated with the country and regional situations, LGBT-related knowledge, getting used to context analyzing, program designing and implementation, as well as resources mobilization. All are simplified and well-designed to provide them basic knowledge while not overwhelming them with technical terms.

We saw in the mentees’ eyes all the pain and hurt, sadness and despair because of discrimination they suffered, and we also see the dreams, passion, love and hope for a better future. This tells us we still have a long way ahead to go, but we’d never ever surrender!

Different from other training like IGNITE! Mentorship program led by Youth Voices Count, which aims at creating a young cadre of advocates who have enough capacity to work and run advocacy initiative in the regional level, ViLEAD doesn’t put the ambitious of producing professional activist right after the training. But this is also where ViLEAD becomes very innovative amidst effort of building base knowledge and spreading zeal to young people at the same time.

We saw in the mentees’ eyes all the pain and hurt, sadness and despair because of discrimination they suffered, and we also see the dreams, passion, love and hope for a better future. This tells us we still have a long way ahead to go, but we’d never ever surrender!