Save the Children Celebrates 25th Anniversary in Vietnam

Monday 23 November 2015

Save the Children celebrated the 25th anniversary of its operations in Vietnam on November 20.

Save the Children started operations in Vietnam in 1990, assisting the most disadvantaged children and their families in the central region. We are now operating in 20 provinces, working in the areas of Child Protection, Child Rights Governance, Education, Health and Nutrition, Youth Development, Humanitarian Response and Climate Change Adaptation.

“It has been an amazing journey for Save the Children, as an agency to go through a period of significant change and development in Vietnam. The country has made remarkable progress in economic and social development. As Save the Children, we like to think we have played a part in achieving some of these results”, said Country Director Gunnar Andersen, reflecting on the 25 years.

In the last decade, Save the Children has supported over four million children to get a healthy start in life, receiving better education, and ensuring they were kept safe from violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation. We have been among the leading agencies in all humanitarian response, providing immediate support to over two million of people recover from disasters in the last decade.

With our donors’ support and Vietnamese government’s collaboration, Save the Children joined advocacy programs with many others to inspire key changes in government policies, including the establishment of the Bank for the Poor, a.k.a. the current Vietnam Bank for Social Policy, the extension of mandatory paid maternity leave to six months. We also initiated a programme approved by the Ministry of Education and Training in 33 pedagogy colleges that teaches Vietnamese as a second language for the ethnic minority children.

Save the Children developed a number of national action plans, national training packages and guidance which later received the recognition of the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Labor,  Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Health, such as: the National Action Plan for Reproductive and Sexual Health Education in lower secondary schools, the National Guidelines on HIV prevention and Youth Health education program in vocational school system, the National Guidelines and a National Training Package for the Care of Newborns and Children Exposed to and Infected with HIV. 

We also pioneered in operationalizing and replicating the most recent Household-to-Hospital Continuum of Care (HHCC) approach that seeks to encourage preventive household and community practices and improve the quality, accessibility, and utilization of facility-based maternal and newborn health services. The model integrates community outreach, effective referral, provision of essential equipment and supplies, and to strengthen the capacity of facility-based staff to provide quality care to mothers and newborns. These could not have been realized without the valuable support from our donors and Vietnamese governments at national and local levels.  

“Vietnam’s impressive transition has become the case study in development textbooks,” says Country Director, Gunnar Andersen, “However, rapid economic growth also leaves room for new and different social challenges: Increasing vulnerability, concentrated poverty among ethnic minorities, and growing rural-urban disparity.”

In the coming years, Save the Children aims to continue to work with the government and other organizations in addressing these new social challenges. We will support the government in creating an enabling environment for the most disadvantaged groups to enjoy the overall development. We will partner with private sector to mobilize resources and collaborate with others to maximize impacts of our interventions. Most important of all, we will work with vulnerable communities to narrow the disparity, take full advantage of opportunities and build resilience where needed.