New Zealand’s Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Mr Haike Manning this week visited ChildFund-supported communities in Cao Bang province in northern Vietnam, where he saw first-hand the impact New Zealand’s support is having.
The impoverished communities of 1,700 local families in the Tra Linh district, most of them ethnic minorities, are taking part in a five year initiative jointly funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and ChildFund New Zealand. The project aims to build strong and resilient rural communities in the far north of Vietnam.
Geographic isolation, lack of access to economic opportunities, limited arable land and a susceptibility to natural disasters has contributed to high rates of poverty in Tra Linh district with 40 per cent of households classified as poor.
The New Zealand project is designed to boost agricultural production and incomes, improve access to vocational training and credit, and help families plan for natural disasters.
During his visit Ambassador Manning saw the impact that New Zealanders together with ChildFund have had on local people.
“Our support is very practical and my discussion with local authorities this week has highlighted this approach. Irrigation canals have been built and people have access to new livestock through the cow bank scheme. People have been trained to improve their skills to farm rice and raise livestock. Households will get access to credit and vocational training for the first time. And the six communes will each gain practical disaster preparedness plans. The project’s holistic approach aims at supporting in three areas of agriculture, diversified livelihoods, and disaster risk reduction.
“Our investment in Cao Bang is an example of New Zealand’s commitment to supporting vulnerable communities across Vietnam to strengthen their ability to decide their own future, and to live to their full potential.”
As part of his visit, Ambassador Manning handed over four cows to families as part of the cow bank scheme. The scheme helps poor families by covering the upfront cost of livestock, allowing the families to start a small herd for meat or milk production, with the families eventually repaying the investment with later cattle offspring. As well as improving household income, the cow bank scheme and irrigation of rice crops improve food security for families in Tra Linh.
Non-farm livelihoods are also supported to protect against economic shocks and the impact of natural disasters. A microcredit and savings system is targeted at women and youth to access small loans to diversify their incomes. Out-of-school youth are further supported through improved access to vocational training.
Country Director of ChildFund Vietnam Deborah Leaver who is also a New Zealander, said it is important that youth are able to manage their own lives and aspirations effectively.
“This requires them to be well informed on issues that affect them and be empowered to make decisions and take actions that benefit themselves, their family and community. By working in a partnership with New Zealand, ChildFund Vietnam supports projects that promote active citizenship, develop skills and resilience in local youth and invest in the future of individuals and the greater community."
Ways you can support children and families in Vietnam:
Join the ChildFund Vietnam Trek with Inspired Adventures - visit Vietnam and bring clean water to families
About the New Zealand Government’s Aid Programme in Vietnam
The New Zealand Aid Programme delivers New Zealand’s official support for developing countries. The purpose of New Zealand’s aid is to develop shared prosperity and stability, drawing on the best of New Zealand’s knowledge and skills. The programme supports sustainable development in developing countries to reduce poverty and contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world.
The New Zealand Aid Programme spends approximately NZD 10 million per year to focus on sustainable economic development (agriculture), human resource management (education), and disaster risk management in Vietnam. Currently the New Zealand Aid Programme is implementing six projects at six provinces in Vietnam, plus an ongoing scholarship and an English language training programme; and two new projects to be launched mid-2016. The Programme integrates environment and climate change, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and human rights issues in Vietnam. This will help deliver sustainable, inclusive outcomes, including for economic development.
New Zealand supports ChildFund New Zealand to work with ChildFund Vietnam under the Partnerships for International Development Fund. From 2014 to 2019, NZD 2.3 million will be invested in order to build strong and resilient communities in rural Cao Bang. The New Zealand Aid Programme provides NZD$1.7 million of the funding. The full project title is “Building Strong and Resilient Communities in Rural Cao Bang, Vietnam”.
The six communes supported in Tra Linh District are Quang Vinh, Quoc Toan, Quang Han, Xuan Noi, Luu Ngoc and Cao Chuong.
To learn more about New Zealand Aid Programme visit New Zealand's Foreign Affairs & Trade website.
About ChildFund in Vietnam
The Tra Linh initiative is part of a wider group of community development initiatives supported by ChildFund in the northern provinces of Bac Kan, Cao Bang and Hoa Binh, where the majority of people are from ethnic minority groups, often the most vulnerable or marginalised sections of the population.
ChildFund began working in Vietnam in 1995 and operates community development programmes in the areas of education, water and sanitation, child rights and child protection, sustainable livelihoods, food security, and maternal and child health, including HIV prevention.
To learn more about ChildFund New Zealand's work in Vietnam visit our Vietnam page.