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Vietnam Today

NZ community project improves Cao Bang ethnic people's lives

Released at: 20:38, 29/08/2019

NZ community project improves Cao Bang ethnic people's lives

Photo: ChildFund Vietnam

Increased incomes, diversified livelihoods, improved food security, and reduced disaster risks count among the project's results.

by Le Diem

A project on building strong and resilient communities in rural areas of northern Cao Bang province has brought about significant changes in the wellbeing of ethnic minorities, especially children and women in Tra Linh district, according to a recent report from ChildFund Vietnam.

The project was implemented by ChildFund Vietnam and the Tra Linh District People’s Committee from July 2014 to June 2019, using funds from the New Zealand Aid Programme and donations from the New Zealand public through ChildFund New Zealand.

The interventions targeted vulnerable communities of H’Mong, Tay, and Nung-Dao ethnic groups in the district’s six poorest communes of Cao Chuong, Luu Ngoc, Quang Han, Quang Vinh, Quoc Toan, and Xuan Noi.

After five years, the project has helped increase household incomes by 60 per cent and household assets, with 36 per cent having motorcycles, 38 per cent building improved latrines for the first time, 32 per cent having farming machinery for the first time, and 83 per cent having cattle, an increase of 20 per cent against 2014.

It also provided better nourishment for children, as 95 per cent of households have three meals a day for their kids and 60 per cent report better quality of meals. The rate of malnourished children (including stunting) in preschool fell to 5 per cent under the average of 30.3 per cent in northern provinces. At the same time, all children in surveyed households have enrolled in school and the majority of female loan / micro-credit recipients report spending the additional income on their children’s education.

Training of trainers (TOT) courses were delivered to 100 people as core groups and 50 village-level Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) plans were developed, based on which three bridges and eight village roads were built to ensure children’s and villagers’ safety.

Other key successful interventions include irrigation systems, income generation models for cattle and goat raising, passionfruit farming, maize post-harvest storage, and savings and credit schemes for ethnic minority women and young people.

“I am proud of the impact of this project in terms of building strong local communities,” said New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Wendy Matthews. “Our support was very practical, with a range of activities implemented to improve agricultural production, lift families’ incomes, and improve disaster resilience. Altogether, 1,400 local families, all from ethnic minorities in Tra Linh district, benefited from this New Zealand - ChildFund project. 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.”

“ChildFund Vietnam has partnered with the local government in Cao Bang province since 2010 to implement community development initiatives to enable the promotion of children’s rights and allow them to be confident in saying ‘I have a future’,” said Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Lien, ChildFund Vietnam Country Director. “This five-year project, thanks to the support from ChildFund New Zealand and the New Zealand Government, has brought about positive impacts and changes to the lives of thousands of children and their families in Tra Linh. The success and lessons learned from this project also encourage us to continue such quality and a sustainable approach in our support interventions to the most vulnerable people and children in the ethnic minority of Vietnam.”

The project also promises high sustainability, with the project team’s focus on facilitating participation, contribution, and ownership by local farmers and partners, especially local government agencies, of all project activities and results.

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 implemented across the northern provinces of Bac Kan, Cao Bang, 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.

Meanwhile, the purpose of the New Zealand Aid Programme is to develop shared prosperity and stability, drawing on the best of New Zealand’s knowledge and skills. It aims to reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable, and prosperous world. In Vietnam, New Zealand provides support in the areas of agriculture, knowledge and skills, and disaster risk management. Total investment over 2015-2018 was NZD26.6million ($16.8 million).

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