Action on Poverty

Action on Poverty

From building sustainable livelihoods to fostering good governance, Action on Poverty (AOP) have been working for over 20 years with local partners to combat poverty and inequality in Vietnam. As part of the fight against poverty and livelihood insecurity in Vietnam, AOP works with and for the poor and vulnerable, including ethnic minorities, women, youth, the elderly, the displaced and landless. AOP does this through a community and strengthens-based approach. Developing mutually beneficial relationships with the communities AoP work with, along with their partners in government and civil society.

AOP are an International Development NGO with a focus on helping the pro-poor secure sustainable incomes, with an emphasis on women’s economic empowerment. AOP's work also extends into the areas of climate change, public health and governance. Working directly with local communities in open dialogue to understand their needs and how to best deliver their services.

Find out more on the Action on Poverty website.

Accommodation: Typically hotel twin-share accommodation. Field trip accommodation is typically in community home-stays.

Activity Timing*: Winter Vacation (June - July), Session 3 (December - February)

Activity length: 4-6 weeks

PACE Units*: ARTS3000, INTS3050, MMCC3150, MQBS3000, SSCI3010

*Please note: unit availability, timing and activities are dependent on partner needs and are subject to change. Not all units are offered each session.

Location and highlights 

The Action on Poverty office is located near the picturesque West Lake in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. The neighbourhood surrounding the office provides many different eateries, bars and shops. AoP staff eat lunch altogether at the office, which is prepared daily by the local cook.

Hanoi is renown for its centuries-old architecture, rich diverse culture fusing Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. At its heart is Hoan Kiem District (the Old Quarter), where the narrow streets meet at the famous Hoan Kiem Lake. There are many historic sites worth visiting, including Bach Ma, Đồng Xuân Market and Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature).

Hanoi's famously delicious street food (and coffee!) is a total highlight with an array of culinary delights destined to captivate the most discriminating gourmand.

Activities with AOP regularly feature an overnight field trip to Hoa Binh Province in northern Vietnam.

Previous Activities

Social researchStudents conducted a study on the quality of a basic health care service as experienced by local people in two provinces of Viet Nam. Students designed and developed the survey toolkit, interviewed local people with a translator, analysed the results, formalised a report and presented their findings to the AOP office.
Social researchStudent's travelled to a rural community to conduct interviews into the viability of Community-Based Tourism (CBT) value chains.
MarketingStudents developed a marketing strategy to develop regional branding for low-income community SME's in Hoa Binh and Phu Tho province. Linking the communities small-scale household production to the market included revising current brand identity of CBT services and agricultural products both on product label/packaging and online.

This decision reflects a similar decision that has been made in respect to Macquarie International student travel.

This means that all PACE International in-country activities (including student-nominated activities) in Session 1 and Winter Vacation will need to be cancelled.

Our students’ health and safety is our primary concern at PACE International.

We understand this news will be quite disappointing and some of you may have queries or concerns regarding your unit enrolment.  Please contact our teams at PACE International, or your appropriate Faculty, if you would like to discuss this further.


PACE International applications are open to all currently enrolled students at Macquarie University. To be eligible you must:

  • Have completed one session at Macquarie University
  • Be enrolled – or eligible to enrol - in a PACE unit as listed in the Partner search on the PACE International website
  • Hold a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) on or above 60* (LAWS units require a LAWS WAM of 70* or above).
  • Be assessed as suitable using the PACE International Selection Criteria

* If you do not hold the minimum required WAM you can apply for special consideration in your application form.

Please note that placements are allocated based on number of places available at the partner organisation, students’ skill set, student preferences and unit requirements. While we aim to place all eligible students, some placements are very limited, and applications will be considered competitively. Please also note that activities and partners are subject to change.

In assessing your suitability, PACE International will review all components of your application including your application form, academic transcript, CV, and referee report. We may also seek advice from your home Faculty, Student Wellbeing, and/or Macquarie International.

If your WAM is under 60 (or under 70 for LAWS), or if your transcript lists Academic Caution or Disciplinary Issues, you will need to complete a special consideration form alongside your application to provide further information.

In some cases, we may require additional information to properly consider your suitability and may invite you to either submit additional supporting documents or to attend an interview with PACE International staff.

Before I apply

  • Use the PACE International Partner Search to learn more about our opportunities
  • Receive academic advice to see how a PACE International activity will fit into your degree
  • Check you meet the eligibility requirements
  • View the PACE International information session online or visit one of our drop-in sessions
  • Read through the Application Top Tips for advice on submitting your best application
  • Review the Example Application Form to plan how you will answer application questions
  • Refer to the Ethical Volunteering Guide for more information about ethical community engagement and how PACE International works internationally.

How do I apply?

  • Submit an online application form during the key opening dates and apply through the Current Opportunities page.
  • Select your preferences for host organisations (if applicable). Please research our partner organisations before you apply.
  • Attach to your online application a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV), your academic transcript and the contact details of your referee

An automatic reference check will be sent to your referee on submission of your application. Once you have submitted your application, you will be notified via email on the outcome of your application.

Application Timing

SessionApplicationsOverseas Activity
Winter VacationFebruaryJune-July (4 weeks)
Session 2AprilSeptember (2-4 weeks)
Session 3JulyJanuary (4-12 weeks)

Activity Cost

PACE International managed activities incur an activity cost. The Activity Cost is dependent on the location, work requirements, time frame and duration of your activity. Additional costs, not included in your activity cost, are paid for directly by you. Financial support is available through grant funding.

  • Accommodation
  • Pre-departure training
  • In-country orientation
  • In-country management
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance for activity duration
  • Field trips
  • International airfares
  • Visa (where applicable)
  • National Police Checks
  • Unit tuition
  • Vaccinations (where applicable)
  • New/renewed passport (where applicable)Personal travel insurance and all related expenses for personal travel and leisure activities
  • Incidental living and travel costs (e.g laundry, transport, souvenirs)

Funding options

There are a range of funding options available to assist you with the associated costs of a PACE International activity. For more information on eligibility and application requirements see the Funding tab on the PACE International website.

Contact us

Phone: +61 2 9850 4473
Instagram: @mqpace

Make an appointment or attend a drop-in session: If you would like to speak to a PACE International staff member, please email us at

Meet our alumni

Brittany Hannouch, Action on Poverty (AFAP), Winter Vacation 2019

What do you study and where did you go on your PACE International activity?

I study a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Environmental Humanities. I completed my PACE activity in Vietnam working with Action on Poverty (AFAP). This involved three weeks in Hanoi working at the head office, and one week on a field trip to the mountainous Da Bac district undertaking research with two village communities.

What was your role or project at your host organisation?

My role was as a social research intern. I worked with two other students to evaluate the impacts of AFAP’s Community-Based Tourism Project in the Da Bac district. We were responsible for designing the research project, undertaking interviews and surveys in Da Bac, analysing the data, writing a research report and presenting our findings and recommendations to AFAP staff.

What attracted you to the PACE International program?

I was eager to travel and experience a new country and culture. I was drawn to the fact that I could gain experience working in my field of study while building relationships with new people and exploring a new country.

What advice would you give a student who is thinking of applying for a PACE International activity?

Just do it! This experience was a huge learning curve for me, not just professionally and academically, but also personally in my everyday experiences and travelling. Living and working in Vietnam for a month opened my eyes to a culture entirely different to my own, and it will be something I will always remember.

What was the best part of your PACE International experience?

Undertaking fieldwork in Da Bac was definitely a highlight, we stayed in traditional homestays with local families and spent our days exploring the jungle, swimming in the lake, learning local customs and enjoying delicious foods while completing our research

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