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Jan 21, 2023 / 08:02

UNICEF promotes disadvantaged populations’ rights in Vietnam

UNICEF’s support in Vietnam is accelerating the realization of child rights to ensure that no child is left behind.

With equity at its core, UNICEF advances the inclusion of the most disadvantaged populations, especially ethnic minorities.

The view was shared by Lesley Miller, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Vietnam. The Hanoi Times has the honor to introduce her sharing on the occasion of the Lunar New Year 2023.

 Lesley Miller, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Vietnam, visits a H'Mong family in Pu Nhi Village, Dien Bien Province, Vietnam. Photo: Truong Viet Hung/UNICEF Vietnam 

What are the key highlights of UNICEF’s support in Vietnam in 2022?

In 2022, UNICEF contributed to strengthening the health system’s capacity to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and other related infectious diseases. UNICEF procured more than 85 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, associated injection devices, and medical equipment. A media campaign was also executed to increase the uptake of vaccines, provision of vaccines and outreach sessions in hard-to-reach areas, enhancing not only the government’s Covid-19 but also routine immunization programs.

In terms of nutrition, UNICEF provided intensive technical and advocacy support to the government, including for the National Plan of Action 2022-2025. In 63 provinces, UNICEF contributed to building capacity for the planning and implementation of nutrition and advocated for sustainable funding mechanisms to scale up evidence-based, high-impact nutrition interventions.

Together with partners, UNICEF is in the process of introducing innovative water and sanitation solutions focused on climate-resilient technology such as net zero toilets.

Meanwhile, UNICEF, in collaboration with Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), equipped approximately 3,500 social welfare officers, teachers, health workers, mass organization cadres, and NGO staff with foundational knowledge and skills on child protection. Two child protection courses have been developed for university social work programs. Additionally, more than 8,500 legal professionals and practitioners were trained on working with child victims and witnesses of crimes, and children in conflict with the law. Thousands of children are thus ensured to receive UNICEF-supported case management, health care, psychosocial support, and legal aid services.

In addition, UNICEF collaborated with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) to support adolescent mental health, starting with a ground-breaking national study of school-related mental health risk factors and integrating mental health prevention and programming in schools. Some 150 core school health workers and teachers were provided with training on skills to support students’ well-being. UNICEF interventions also supported the government to ensure more inclusive learning opportunities for children with disabilities, children of ethnic minorities and LGBTI children. For example, UNICEF partnered with the Global Digital Library to produce 160 quality digital books in eight underserved ethnic languages and sign language.

Finally, UNICEF successfully harnessed innovative approaches and the power of digital media in its public advocacy campaigns such as the Blue Heart, Safe Journey, Back On Track and World Children’s Day (WCD). 

What are UNICEF’s priorities to support Vietnam for 2023?

UNICEF supports the acceleration of the realization of child rights to ensure that no child is left behind. With equity at our core, UNICEF advances the inclusion of the most disadvantaged populations, especially ethnic minorities.

In 2023, UNICEF will continue to partner with the Government of Vietnam and other stakeholders in addressing children’s physical and mental health, nutrition, access to clean water and sanitation, education, protection, and social assistance. We are fully committed to providing technical assistance for strengthening laws, policies and plans, building the capacity of partners, demonstrating innovative solutions – with a focus on digital transformation, promoting awareness and social norm change and mobilizing supporters in order to advance children’s rights.

With climate-related impacts and disasters on the rise, we will also strengthen child-sensitive, climate-resilient social services and capacity for effective disaster-risk reduction and humanitarian responses.

Partnerships are key to achieving these aims. In addition to cooperation with the Government, mass organizations, NGOs, key influencers, and development partners, we will leverage the potential of the private sector to advance children’s rights through public-private and shared-value partnerships that promote family-friendly business policies and the protection of young workers.

What would be your messages for the New Year?

I would like to thank everyone for partnering with UNICEF Vietnam and for bringing wonderful collaboration, trust, and support to promote children’s rights in Vietnam.

Tet is just around the corner but as you will have seen from the information we have shared on the situation of many children in Vietnam – the hope and promise of the new year are out of reach for too many. In the past year, I saw first-hand the real and pressing challenges faced by vulnerable children and their families, and this has left me determined to do even more to ensure children’s access to good nutrition, clean water and sanitation, education, health care and adequate protection from violence, exploitation, and abuse.

Looking ahead, UNICEF needs strong support from all partners to work for the rights of all children, especially the most vulnerable. UNICEF will continue to work with the Government and other partners to ensure that every child is safe, healthy, and happy!

May the Year of Cat be the year of hope, love, and success for you and every child!