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Vietnam Today

NZ Ambassador visits Cao Bang

Released at: 18:06, 26/09/2019

NZ Ambassador visits Cao Bang

Photo: ChildFund Vietnam

Ambassador pays northern mountainous province a visit to see the impressive results of a five-year development project.

by Le Diem

New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Wendy Matthews, travelled to northern Cao Bang province from September 24 to 26 to visit communities involved in the New Zealand-funded “Building Strong and Resilient Communities in Cao Bang” project.

The NZD1.7 million ($1.07 million) project was implemented by ChildFund Vietnam and the Tra Linh District People’s Committee from July 2014 to June 2019. It boosted local families’ incomes from agricultural production, improved their access to credit, provided vocational training, and built their capacity to manage the risks posed by natural disasters. By its conclusion, the project had supported 1,400 local families of the H’Mong, Tay, and Nung-Dao ethnic minority groups in the district’s six poorest communes - Cao Chuong, Luu Ngoc, Quang Han, Quang Vinh, Quoc Toan, and Xuan Noi.

As part of her first visit to Cao Bang, Ambassador Matthews visited the project’s model cattle and goat farms, passionfruit orchards, post-harvest storage facilities for maize, and irrigation networks; among the key examples of the project’s positive and sustainable impact.

“I am pleased to see this project’s tangible outcomes for the ethnic minority families of Tra Linh district,” she said. “Our support was very practical, with a range of activities implemented to improve agricultural production, lift families’ incomes, and improve their disaster resilience. Altogether, 1,400 ethnic minority families in Tra Linh district benefited from this New Zealand Embassy - ChildFund project.”

A total of eleven irrigation systems were built and people now have increased access to new livestock through the cow bank scheme. Project participants have received capacity building training in cultivation and animal husbandry. As a result, 60 per cent of households report higher incomes compared to 2014. In addition, 400 women and young people have access to micro-credit and 180 young people received vocational training for the first time. Each of the six communes has developed practical disaster preparedness plans.

Ambassador Matthews also shared her thoughts on the sustainability of the project. “One of the most important achievements of this project was the establishment of greater linkages between farmers and the market, especially the contract with Nafoods that has introduced passionfruit to the province with very promising results,” she said. “Our investment in Cao Bang is an example of New Zealand’s commitment to supporting vulnerable communities in Vietnam to strengthen their ability to decide their own future and to live to their full potential.”

Tra Linh district is characterized by high poverty, geographic isolation, lack of access to economic opportunities, and limited arable land. It is also susceptible to natural disasters. The district is situated in the far north of Vietnam and is home to many ethnic minorities. Forty per cent of households are classified as “poor” under the government’s official criteria.

“The ten-year partnership between ChildFund and Cao Bang authorities has created positive changes to the lives of ethnic minority children and their families,” said Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Lien, ChildFund Vietnam Country Director. “We are thankful for the support from the New Zealand Government and people in these projects.”

ChildFund Vietnam is the representative office of ChildFund Australia, an independent and non‐religious international development organization that works to reduce poverty for children in developing communities. ChildFund began working in Vietnam in 1995 and works in partnership with children, their communities, and local institutions to create lasting change, respond to humanitarian emergencies, and promote children’s rights. Projects are being implemented in the northern provinces of Cao Bang, Bac Kan, and Hoa Binh, where the majority of people are from ethnic minority groups and are often the most vulnerable or marginalized sections of the population.

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