CRS in Vietnam
In the last 15 years, Vietnam has seen rapid economic growth, resulting in many positive changes, but also creating challenges. The country’s transformation to a middle income country is threatened by the widening disparity between rich and poor, environmental degradation, climate related risks, limited access to health and social services by the vulnerable population, poor governance, lack of corporate social engagements, as well as other societal problems such as human trafficking and HIV/AIDS. Catholic Relief Services works with many partners to meet emerging needs and ensure that all citizens benefit from Vietnam's recent economic growth and development. Much of CRS’ work centers around education — especially for those with disabilities — strengthening civil society for social inclusion of persons with disabilities, landmine risk education, assistance to landmine survivors, and disaster recovery and risk reduction.
With a key focus on inclusive education, CRS is a recognized leader in the sector. With a 10 -year long USAID funded project that ended in 2015, CRS achievements include:
- Assisting more than 6,500 children with disabilities access educational and health services. In provinces where CRS worked, the enrollment rate for children with disabilities is between 60-70% — well above the national average. CRS developed, and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) endorsed, a number of pre-service and in-service teacher training curricula and materials on inclusive education. These materials are used in approximately 9,000 preschools, 15,000 primary schools and in teacher training universities/colleges nationwide.
- Since 2007, CRS and MOET developed the Information Technology Training Program (ITTP) for employment of youth with disabilities in IT and soft skills. More than 1,400 students with disabilities received vocational training in IT skills and more than 60% of those students were able to get jobs upon completion of this training.
- Through strong collaboration with the Departments of Primary Education and Secondary Education of MOET, information and communication technology (ICT), including text-to-speech software, video lectures, a technical guide and a distance learning model for the students with disabilities were developed. A Web-based distance learning (www.giaoduchoanhap.edu.vn) portal provides continuing education opportunities for children with severe disabilities or out-of-school children with disabilities.
- In partnership with MOET and the National Institute of Education Science, CRS has contributed to a series of Vietnamese government legal documents that cover disability law.
CRS continues to focus on the disabilities sector through strengthening civil society action and the voice of people with disabilities in local government policy dialogue and to promote social inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities in their communities. CRS works with 16 provincial and district disabled persons organizations (DPOs) and 100 parent associations at district and community levels. More than 15,000 people with disabilities are currently participating in DPOs and 1,484 parents are engaged in social inclusion advocacy.
In collaboration with Ministry Of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), CRS was instrumental in piloting and establishing the Network Model (2008-2010), working with children affected or infected by HIV/AIDS. MOLISA recognized the Network Model as effective and successful and has included the model in the government’s National Plan of Action for Children (2011-2015).
The disaster-risk-reduction program builds upon CRS’ regional and global expertise in community-based disaster preparedness. Vietnam has 3,440 kilometers of coastline and 70% of the country’s population is exposed to environmental hazards and natural disasters. CRS and local partners work to increase the resilience of disaster-prone central coastal and Mekong River Delta communities to natural hazards by improving community-based climate change adaptation and establishing natural protections like mangroves. CRS has supported 114 village task forces and provided thousands of pieces of early warning equipment while training teachers and children in safe school framework.
For more than a decade, CRS has worked to reduce the risk of injury and death from unexploded ordinances/landmines (UXO/LM) in high-risk communities in Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Quang Nam provinces. CRS has developed a mine risk education curriculum for grades 1-5, now endorsed and widely used by the three provincial Departments of Education and Training (DOETs). CRS also has developed a Mine Risk Education Integration Guide and trained 156,482 children, 10,654 primary teachers, 2,437 future primary teachers, 18 lecturers, and approximately 79,000 parents and community members on mine risk. In addition, through the MRE Plus for primary and secondary school children project in the period of 2016-2020, CRS, in collaboration with DOETs and Teacher Training Colleges in four provinces, aims to help children in the most UXO/LM contaminated areas to be able to protect themselves from UXO/LM accidents. An estimated 397,567 children aged 6-14 and 34,707 teachers will benefit from the project.
CRS and local partners provided direct assistance to 300 land mine survivors in these three provinces. In addition, CRS and local partners are working on an approach that will provide approximately 5,700 survivors of unexploded ordnance and landmine accidents in Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces access to medical care, rehabilitation, social and livelihood support services.
To enhance the quality, timeliness, and accessibility of collected data, thereby increasing the efficiency of project monitoring, CRS has been applying Information Communication Technology for Monitoring & Evaluation through developing and using CommCare applications for data collection. 107 community-based workers (CBWs) have been trained and are now using mobile digital devices, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, to collect data from nearly 1,500 land mine survivors on a monthly basis during monitoring visits. The real time data allows the project manager to make timely decisions to improve project quality and adjust interventions as well.
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CRS' History in Vietnam
Catholic Relief Services has worked in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam since 1992 and has had an office in Hanoi since 1994. CRS works in partnership with government counterparts, as well as other community organizations, to build their capacity to transform the lives of the poor through effective programming. We use evidence-based approaches to achieve maximum impact, good stewardship of resources, and transparency and accountability to beneficiaries and stakeholders.