Challenges and Opportunities for Intervention - A report based on qualitative research conducted in Vietnam
The research team would like to thank the Reproductive Health Department at the Ministry of Health for their overall guidance and support for this study. In particular, Dr. Phuong Hoa provided leadership and oversight of the study right from its conception, and allocated precious time and energy of herself and her colleagues in the department to ensure that it was successfully completed. The authors are also grateful to Dr. Hoang Tuan of the RHD for his support and oversight of all the logistical issues, including liaising with provincial offi ces, overseeing translation, and organizing meetings.
UNICEF Vietnam provided funding for this study under the national PMTCT project supported by them. Special thanks are due to Luisa Brumana, HIV/AIDS Specialist for her intellectual guidance of this piece of work, to Mai Thu Hien, UNICEF Programme Offi cer, for oversight, support and management of the study, and to Nguyen Ngoc Trieu for administrative support.
The researchers would also like to thank the Provincial RHD in An Giang, Ho Chi Minh City and Quang Ninh for their time and support in organizing interviews and providing information. In addition, we would like to thank the many health staff who were interviewed at commune, district and provincial levels. Finally, this study owes a debt of gratitude to the all the men, women and family members who volunteered their time to respond to our questions with openness and honesty.
Lastly, all errors and omissions are solely the responsibility of the lead consultant.
The amendment of the 1992 Constitution offers Viet Nam an opportunity to strengthen the rule of law, promote human rights and enhance equality as well as socio-economic and political stability. While the current draft includes a number of significant and positive changes, UNICEF believes the current draft can be made more responsive to the needs of a third of the country's population – its children.
UNICEF's mission is to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and create opportunities to allow children to reach their full potential. UNICEF's work is guided by the provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). UNICEF has extensive experience, globally and regionally, supporting countries to reflect the rights of children within their constitutions.
A pilot involving four social audit tools was implemented in Viet Nam in 2010. Led by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), and supported by UNICEF, it aimed at building capacity for the social audit of the Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) to enhance the its social performance, as expressed in its ability to deliver continued improvement in the living standards of Viet Nam’s population in general and of vulnerable groups in particular. This focus was on achieving this through improved Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of social dimensions of the 2006-2010 SEDP, particularly focusing on poverty reduction, health services for children under six years old, and gender.
The Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), under the authority of MPI, implemented the pilots with technical support of the UK-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI). CIEM also conducted a capacity assessment of government staff in using participatory methods for planning, monitoring and evaluation. Based on this and the lessons learned from the social audit pilots, a capacity development strategy has been developed. ODI has also developed a SEDP Social Audit Toolkit with detailed information on the four tools, based on the experience gained from piloting the tools in the Vietnamese context.
This report should be of interest to national and sub-national government officials in Viet Nam who are in charge of designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating public policies, programs and services. It should also be of interest to UNICEF and other multilateral and donor agencies that assist the government of Viet Nam in meeting its development objectives, and interested in methods/tools that allow for greater participation of citizens in assessing public policies and programs.
This guide was written by Valerie Karr, a Ph.D candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University and an expert in the field of child education and disability.
The guide is a companion to the publication It’s About Ability, a child-friendly booklet version of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The development of both materials was initiated at UNICEF under the leadership of the Child Protection Section, with support from the Adolescent Development and Participation Unit. The guide and booklet were edited and produced by UNICEF’s Division of Communication.
UNICEF would like to thank Rosangela Berman Bieler and Sergio Meresman of the Inter-American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development for peer-reviewing the guide. We also express appreciation to the many other people who commented on successive drafts: Helen Schulte (UNICEF), Ravi Karkara (UNICEF), Shaila Parveen Luna (UNICEF), Lena Karlsson (UNICEF Innocenti Research Center), Cristina Gallegos (UNICEF) , Jaclyn Tierney (UNICEF) and Carolina Hepp (UNICEF).
Protecting the growth and development of today’s children is the key to fuelling tomorrow’s economic and social development. But, reports from national medical and research institutions indicate Viet Nam’s next generation of young people may not achieve their full intellectual and productive potential, simply because the food they eat does not contain enough essential vitamins and minerals.
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30 July 2015 - Around the world, criminals are selling people for profit. Vulnerable women and girls form the majority of human trafficking victims, including those driven into degrading sexual exploitation.
Trafficked persons are often tricked into servitude with the false promise of a well-paid job. Migrants crossing deadly seas and burning deserts to escape conflict, poverty and persecution are also at risk of being trafficked. Individuals can find themselves alone in a foreign land where they have been stripped of their passports, forced into debt and exploited for labour. Children and young people can find their lives stolen, their education blocked and their dreams dashed. It is an assault on their most basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.
15 July 2015 - I welcome this first-ever commemoration of World Youth Skills Day. On July 15th each year, the international community will underscore the value of helping young people to upgrade their own abilities to contribute to our common future.
While overall more young people have greater educational opportunities than in the past, there are still some 75 million adolescents who are out of school, denied the quality education they deserve and unable to acquire the skills they need.
We may see an understandably frustrated youth population – but that picture is incomplete. With the right skills, these young people are exactly the force we need to drive progress across the global agenda and build more inclusive and vibrant societies.
11 July 2015 - Not since the end of the Second World War have so many people been forced from their homes across the planet. With nearly 60 million individuals having fled conflict or disaster, women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable. Violent extremists and armed groups are committing terrible abuses that result in trauma, unintended pregnancy and infection with HIV and other diseases. Shame and accountability rest squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators who wage cowardly battles across the bodies of innocents.
26 June 2015 - In September, leaders from around the world will meet at the United Nations to adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda to eradicate extreme poverty and provide a life of dignity for all. This ambition, while achievable, must address various obstacles, including the deadly harm to communities and individuals caused by drug trafficking and drug abuse.
Our shared response to this challenge is founded on the international drug control conventions. In full compliance with human rights standards and norms, the United Nations advocates a careful re-balancing of the international policy on controlled drugs. We must consider alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs and focus criminal justice efforts on those involved in supply. We should increase the focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies.
21 June 2015 - During a visit to India this year, I had the opportunity to practice yoga with one of my senior advisors. Although he happened to be a son of the country, I might equally have done the same with many other colleagues from different parts of the world. Yoga is an ancient discipline from a traditional setting that has grown in popularity to be enjoyed by practitioners in every region. By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations.
Yoga offers a simple, accessible and inclusive means to promote physical and spiritual health and well-being. It promotes respect for one’s fellow human beings and for the planet we share. And yoga does not discriminate; to varying degrees, all people can practice, regardless of their relative strength, age or ability.