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Back from Hanoi

October 6, 2008


Last Friday I returned from Hanoi after a short but intense and very productive mission with UNICEF. I only stayed for three days, which gave limited time for the discussion of the draft report with UNICEF as well as government. But we managed and got quite some work done. Generally, feedback was very positive, which I was of course happy about. But it also became clear that we haven’t yet managed to pitch all our interesting results and the methodology used for its calculations at the right level. We still need to put some effort in finetuning the report, making sure that the message comes across for a wide audience in an understandable and readable fashion. So last week’s trip wasn’t the end to all the work ;-) But seriously, it is good to have such specific and detailed feedback that will increase the chance that this report will not end up on bookshelf next to so many others. In the next week or so, we will try our best to rewrite and reformulate in order to convince government that poverty isn’t all about monetary measures and that child poverty requires a special monitoring tool. We will go back by the end of November to present the report and findings in a technical workshop. This is quite a tight deadline so we better get moving!

Although there was very little time this mission to relax and discover a bit more of Hanoi, I enjoyed my stay again very much. Hanoi is a crazy and chaotic city, which seems to have little quiet corners. Life happens outside in the streets and something is going on everywhere you look. People cooking, eating, selling their produce, getting their hair cut or fingernails painted… And then there are motorbikes. Already during my first visit I learned to just start walking when you want to cross the street…


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