United Nations Fund for children (UNICEF) and its cooperation with Vietnam Women’s Union

United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) is an inter-governmental agency, serving for the survival and development of children around the world. UNICEF is the first United Nations Agency to resume its cooperation programme with Vietnamese Government since 1975.

The current Vietnam-UNICEF Country Cooperation Programme (2001-2005) focuses o­n the survival, development and protection of Vietnamese children. Two of the six focused issues of the programme are: 1) integrate closely spirit and substance of the UN Convention o­n the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Convention o­n Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) into UNICEF supported programmes at all levels and branches and 2) promote and support involvement and participation of various mass and social organizations in the implementation of the Government’s and communities’ activities relating to the survival, development and protection of the children.


UNICEF has started its cooperation with VWU since late 1980s and is o­ne of the Union’s important partners in targeting the mothers o­n education and communication activities o­n child rearing and improvement of women’s status and living conditions. Up to date, UNICEF has supported the Union with 11 projects, valued at more than USD 3 millions. The projects include “Motherhood”, “Income generation and Facts for Life communication”, “Income generation and literacy education for rural poor women” (two sub-projects of “Gender and Development” programme’,“Malaria prevention”, “Tetanus immunization for women ”, “Communication o­n clean water and environmental sanitation”; “Raising women’s awareness o­n gender”, etc...In the current collaborative programme of the period 2001-2005, VWU has participated in the implementation of the two sub-projects of UNICEF Education programme, which are “Early childhood development’ and “Education o­n healthy life skills for children”. In addition, the Union has continued the second phase of the Gender and Development Programme, with the estimated budget of 617,000 USD, collected from micro-credit activities of phase 1.


Among VWU’s UNICEF funded projects, a part from a very successful project aiming to providing knowledge o­n rearing and educating children for 5 million mothers in period 1983-1990, The programme “Gender and Development” with two sub-projects “Income generation and Facts for Life communication”, and “Income generation and literacy education for rural poor women” in the first phase is the biggest programme that VWU has implemented so far, with the total funding of around 2 millions USD in the period 1996-2000. The programme covered 230 poor communes in 28 cities/provinces in Vietnam. Its main activities include “Facts for life” communication, provision of credit for poor women to invest in their income generation activities, literacy and post-literacy education for women borrowers, improvement of public awareness o­n gender issues. The book “Fact for Life” has been translated into Vietnamese and 5 ethnic minority dialects to be disseminated its main messages to family members, leaders in the communities.


The credit and saving scheme of these two sub-projects is o­ne of the biggest credit and saving schemes run by VWU. o­nly in o­ne sub-project “Income generation and Fact of Life communication” 60,000 households were accessing to loans for their income generation activities that the total loan fund for them valued at VND 12,252,000,000.These activities have made a significant contribution to poverty reduction, improvement of knowledge and health status of women, thus increasing the quality of life and status of poor women in the project sites. For this, the project models and lessons have been replicated into other projects and programmes of VWU.


In the second phase (2002-2005), this programme focuses o­n enhancing capacity of women’s union staff and poor women in management and operation of the integrated micro credit programme in linkage with banking institutions aiming to contribute to the improvement of nutrition and income status of poor families having infants in the selected districts.


VWU has participated in the implementation of the 2 sub-projects under UNICEF supported Education programme namely “Early childhood development” and “Education of healthy life skills for children”. The “Early childhood development” sub-project has taken a lead in preparation for and launching the national communication campaign o­n early childhood care and development in Vietnam. The campaign has contributed to the promotion of inter-branch effective collaboration among government agencies and mass organizations in public awareness raising o­n the particular importance of the early childhood development, especially in the first 3 years.


To the Vietnam Women’s Union, the coopertion from UNICEF is very significant, not o­nly in term of financial support but also in development of the good models and diversification of the operational experiences as well as in gender awareness raising and micro-credit activities for the sake of the Vietnamese children and women.