Save the Children marks International Day for Disaster Reduction

More than 800 people paraded through streets of My Tho town in Tien Giang Province to appeal for natural disaster reduction efforts on Sunday 13 October.

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The event, organised by Save the Children in collaboration with international organisations working in Tien Giang province, marked the United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction on 13th October every year.

This is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of disaster risk reduction. It’s also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

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This year, the event especially focuses on the role of older men and women in frostering resilience as older persons are vulnerable and suffer disproportionately high levels of death and injuries during disasters.

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Tien Giang province is located on the coastal line of Mekong River that is prone to flood and storm every year. Since 2002, Save the Children has been implemented disaster risk reduction projects to support children and people of the province to better prepare for flooding seasons and build up resilient ability to cope with the consequences of disasters and climate changes.

Save the Children has worked in Vietnam since 1990s in both areas of humanitarian and development. Since 1990s, the aid organization has been providing foods and emergency items for people when a disaster hits the country.

Save the Children provides life-saving items for children in flood-affected areas and trains the children and their communities to minimize the risks of disasters

Climate Change Resilience by Urban Children in Asia: Save the Children workshop

On 23rd Sept 2014, Save the Children International in Vietnam had organized a Regional workshop in Hanoi on Climate Change Risks and Resilience in Urban Children in Asia.

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The workshop was held within the research project funded by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (via the Rockefeller Foundation-supported Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network). The research adopted an ecological contextualist approach where it integrated the framework for urban climate resilience (from the perspective of planning and intervention measures) with three vulnerability domains: physical, politico-legal and socio-economic, to more fully capture the complex web of risks due to climate change that affects children particularly when living in urban poverty.

The project aimed to outline the key vulnerabilities of urban children to climate change, barriers to effective climate change adaptation which make it difficult for children to enjoy and adults to safeguard their rights and thus provided recommendations the following adaptation measures to safeguard and promote urban children’s rights. This project has been conducted in the central coastal city of Da Nang as well as cities in Bangladesh and the Philippines, said international consultant Sudeshna Chatterjee.

Migrant and homeless children, children living in informal housing and children engaged in labour were more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in Da Nang.

Nguyen Minh Hung, deputy director of Da Nang’s Education and Training Department, said that the department was compiling a set of documents about climate change adaptation that would be integrated with subjects such as Geography and Citizen Education. The documents would provide students from primary to high school level with basic skills for adapting to climate change.

Da Nang and other central coastal localities are hit hardest by climate change and extreme weather. One or two strong storms have battered the city annually in recent years and flash floods and landslides have become more frequent, damaging local schools and infrastructure, Hung said.

Heat waves and environmental pollution also caused health problems for children, especially those who were underprivileged or disabled, he added.

The aim of the workshop is to provide initial results and received feedbacks from donors, government bodies and non-governmental organizations in order to fine-tune the research results

Poverty is not our choice

By Pham Viet Hung

Le Thi De turned over a couple of fried cakes and swiftly served her long queue of customers. The 57-year-old woman who has been known for her delicious home-made traditional cakes said she was looking forward to opening her business in town for more income.

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In the past years, she had undergone such a very difficult situation to survive and support her family.

Early 1980s De and her husband ran a sewing factory but it went bankrupt. The family went through a crisis as they did not have land as many people in the neighborhoods did, to grow rice or crops for living.

“We had to borrow boats from our neighbours and went to fish for sale in the market. Every day we got up at 3am to go fishing and returned to the house at lunch time. In the afternoon, both of us worked as casual labourers such as laundry or grass removal on the rice fields for people”, De said.

“Later, I started making cakes to sell for children and local vendors because we lived close to the market and school”, she said.

In 2011, De was introduced to Save the Children’s Golden Hands Programme which aimed to support poor women with young children to improve the household incomes so to gain better lifestyle for their children.

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De borrowed VND3.510.000 (US$ 167) to invest in her business including buying cake ingredients and upgrading the house’s yard for people to sit on. The business was going well and De has been engaged in three loans since then. De said the average income now is about VND10million ($476) a month.

Nowadays, De’s two children have grown up and life has become much easier for her.

“I found myself more active and sociable since I have joined Golden Hands. Keeping up with monthly installments is not troublesome, while the credit officers are always willing to lend me a hand or give me wise advice” she said.

“A few months ago, I was invited to participate in the programme’s workshop from where I had an opportunity to meet with other beneficiaries. I have learned a lot from such an event”, she said.

Completed IKEA project improves ethnic minority children confidence in school

By Mau Lan Phuong, IKEA project officer – Save the Children in Vietnam

Early in the morning, a local teacher rode me through the mountainous path to reach Pa Nang primary school, which is 18 km distant from Dakrong district center, Quang Tri province, 600km from Hanoi capital city.

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This is the final trip of the IKEA project team to the district before the project exit with an aim to conduct the qualitative evaluation for the project end-line review.

The project started in 2009 to support the children of Van Kieu ethnic minority who would struggle at regular schools because of language barrier. The project has implemented different interventions in the district to improve the quality of teaching and learning, focusing on strengthening teacher’s capacity through training courses on active learning methodologies, second-language teaching techniques and professional teacher’s meetings.

We all felt the mixture of eagerness to explore the project impacts to the local beneficiaries, and pity of leaving. Van Kieu ethnic children welcomed us with warm bright eyes and shy smiles. My first impression about the school after three years of project implementation was that the children are much more confident and sociable. During the class observation, the children were given more chances to do individual work and pair work, and to express their ideas in front of the class. They were encouraged to answer questions and received the teacher’s compliments and comments from their peers. This is an encouraging change compared to the mono-lecturing lessons in the past years, in which the children passively listen to the teacher. This change was contributed by the teacher’s efforts to apply second language teaching methods and conduct the professional teacher’s meetings. Instead of judging the teachers, now the professional teacher’s meetings focus on the children’s learning activities to find out solutions to improve their learning effectiveness.

After the class observation, instead of conducting an interview with the children, I organized a forum with ice-breaking games, group activities and give the stage for the children to talk. The children’s timidity gradually disappeared, replaced by exciting discussions and talk. They expressed their strong interest to go to school, where they not only learn but also have fun through extra-curricular activities. Their bright smiles and naïve voices still fulfill my mind on the way back.

Climate Change Risks and Resilience in Urban Children – Save the Children’s Research funded by IIED

Climate change is a key challenge facing children all over the world, making child rights difficult to enjoy by children and safeguard by adults, society and governments. Research now shows that climate change significantly impacts children’s right to life, survival and development. However, in the urban context, there is little research looking specifically at the vulnerabilities of children to climate change impacts. City case studies carried out by Save the Children in Asia seeks to better understand the risks faced by vulnerable children in urban areas, and how climate change may exacerbate these.

Emergency

No doubt children’s still evolving development makes them physiologically and metabolically less able than adults to cope with high exposure to hazards. The IPCC estimates that at least 175 million children will be affected by disasters annually by 2015. WHO estimates that more than 85% of the global disease burden due to climate change occurs in children under 5. According to The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) report Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation forecasts that by 2050 rice prices will increase between 32 and 37% as a result of climate change. The report shows that yield losses in rice could be between 10 and 15%. Declining maize and wheat production since the 1980s due to climate change are believed to contribute to a projected additional 25 million malnourished children globally by 2050. Climate change also poses increasing risks to education as climate-related shocks result in more girls being taken out of school than boys, boys dropping out of schools for securing paid work and for other reasons thus undermining efforts toward universal education.

“Our house is located near the canal. Every year our house floods during the rainy season. Because of this I failed to go to school for a week. I was also not able to do the homework for English which was hard for me while staying at home. When I attended school after a week, my teacher did not care about my situation. Instead I was beaten mercilessly. I suffered from fever immediately after the incident. My parents tried very hard to send me back to school but I did not go back to school since the teacher had beaten me for no fault of mine.”, Said, a 13-year-old boy from Khulna, Bangladesh who dropped out of school at 11 and now works long hours in a restaurant.

Climate change presents particularly strong challenges to children in the Global South, who are already at a disadvantage due to poverty, migration, rapid urbanization, inequitable and poor access to infrastructure, education, health and other protective services. More than 700 million children below the age of 15 (often comprising as much as 40% of the population or more) live in the 20 countries deemed at “extreme risk” from climate change (mainly in the belt around and immediately north of the equator). These represent some of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world. Included in this group are many Asian countries with some of the largest and most populated cities in the world, located on the floodplains of major rivers and typhoon prone coastal areas which make them susceptible to significant impacts of climate change both now and into the future. A large proportion of the population in Asian countries and indeed in Asian cities are infants, children and adolescents who arguably represent one of the most vulnerable categories subjected to a spectrum of risks from climate change in cities. Yet few urban adaptation and resilience building programmes in Asia focus on children. 

Knowledge Gap

While understanding of the impacts of climate change is advancing rapidly across the globe, most studies focus on the vulnerabilities and experiences of adults. Few studies that did focus on children did so to understand vulnerabilities at the country level. The challenges facing children in urban areas differ significantly to those faced by rural children (though there are many overlaps) and undoubtedly children living in urban poverty are more vulnerable to climate related shocks and stresses due to the inherent vulnerabilities of their living environments.

Research on child-centred adaptation in urban communities is virtually non-existent. Given the dearth of research on these issues, it is unclear whether urban programs run by Save the Children and other child-focused organisations are systematically building children’s resilience to the specific challenges climate change will bring to their lives. Specific research into the kinds of additional challenges climatic change will bring to the lives of poor children in urban communities is urgently required to enable child-focused organisations to integrate building climate change resilience into sector-based activities in their urban programming.

Research Objectives

In order to address these research gaps and provide a framework of child-centred adaptation measures to Country Offices, Save the Children, with funding support from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (via the Rockefeller Foundation-supported Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network), commissioned a multi-city study to understand the risks climate change poses to the development of urban children in three Asian countries Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The cities chosen for this study are secondary cities with less than 1 million inhabitants (complementing the Asian megacities study by PLAN-IIED) and include Khulna in Bangladesh, Da Nang in Vietnam and Manolos in the Philippines.   

Sharing Workshop

Save the Children International (SCI) is organizing an international workshop on September 23, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam, to present the research result of SC in Climate Change Risk and Resilience in Urban Children in Vietnam, Bangladesh & Philippines. An important goal of the workshop is to receive feedback from other organizations and discuss the implications of children’s vulnerability and adaptation activities to climate change in urban environments

Sữa mẹ – món quà vô giá cho cuộc sống

Save the Children continues providing supports to Wutip affected families in Quang Binh under ECHO funded project

In July and Aug 2014, Save the Children has been providing construction materials for 210 poor families who were severely affected by the Wutip typhoon last September in the central province of Quang Binh, Vietnam to help the affected people to repair and refurbished their houses.

This activity is under shelter component of the project funded by ECHO which aims to provide adequate housing that are disaster resistant and culturally appropriate.

The beneficiaries (householders) were encouraged to involve in every process of the shelter repair, including: initial assessment of house condition and agree on repairing solution; the trainings for beneficiaries in which they were provided with basic knowledge and skills in monitoring their house repair; the repair monitoring: there is a “community based monitoring team” at hamlet level composed of 1 householder representative, 1 hamlet leader and 1 Commune Red Cross staff, this CBM team will monitor all repairing process of houses supported by the project in their hamlet.

Side by side with the trainings for householders, the project provided special trainings for local builders on how to strengthen and repair the house. The trainings focused on requirements of disaster resistant house, the compliance of housing repair safety code. The trainees were also taken part in practice exercises.

The benefited households were also equipped with a shared shelter repair toolkit which consists of most necessary tools. The toolkit will be located at hamlet level and to be used for small repairs and preparation before typhoon seasons.

Under Livelihood component, at the end of July 2014, the project has provided chilly seeds for 209 poor & near poor household in Lam Trach Commune, Bo Trach district. Chilly has become an alternative crop for the people in Lam Trach as they are living in a midland area and recent years, they are facing with drought in summer and other crops (ground nuts, maize, bean…) were reported lean harvest and low income.

In August and September 2014, Save the Children will continue providing construction materials, rain water harvesting system and water filter devices and water containers for 320 households in the same communities.IMG_5322

2014 Breastfeeding Week starts up

The 2014 Breastfeeding Week in Vietnam will be kicked off  with the show of more than 100 pictures capturing moments of mothers breastfeeding through the country.

The exhibition is co -organised by Alive &Thrive Programme – Save the Children consortium.

The photos were taken by professional and amateur photographers from every walks of life from the mountainous villages, streets of big cities, rural communities and communal centres.

The pictures will be displayed in six locations in Hanoi from 1st to 8th August. A&T - e invitation - Engbandroll_2cayBreastfeeding-Infographic--A&T--v3to roi2conver

An energetic woman stepping out of poverty

Leu Thi Hanh and her husband earned their living from a small grocery at the end of Thoi Thuan B Village in Thoi Lai District, Can Tho Province.

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Living remote from the village’s crowd, the 44-year-old Khmer woman have to rent the space at VND250,000 (US$13) to run her shop. With limited investment, Hanh only made about VND50,000 ($2.6) a day and would struggle to make ends meet. The biggest difficulty she met is the shortage of capital to purchase enough products for sale, making her to take many trips to the suppliers when having excessive customer demands.

Hanh was introduced to the Save the Children Golden Hands programme in 2012 through the local Women Union. The programme funded by Chevron aims to support poor women to improve their income through small loans and economic training.

Hanh was eligible for the first loan of 3,122,000 VND (US$ 150) for a period of 18 months from the Golden Hands to expand her shop with more ranges of products to sell. Her shop looked more attractive and the number of customers has been increasing, bringing about more profits. When she had a decent number of royal customers, Hanh decided to open the shop at her house.

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With credible payment records, Hanh was then allowed for the second loan of VND5,625,000 ($ 268) to expand her business. She started to sell baguettes for local people for extra income. Now with two sources of income, Hanh and her husband’s living condition has been much improved. “Totally, we can earn about VND8 million a month, almost five times of the profit from my corner shop”, she said.

“Before having access to Golden Hands loans, I would struggle to invest in goods for sale, the business is much better now. I can sell up to VND1,500,000 ($ 72) worth of goods items a day. During public events such as Lunar New Year (Tết), the turnover is much more”, she said.

“Many suppliers now agree to provide their products at my house so I don’t need to travel”, she said.

Every day Hanh started her baguette business at 4am to serve early breakfast customers. She has just bought a new television and gas cookers for their convenience.

“I would like to continue to have more loans to expand my business. However, I would like to complete the current payment first”, she said.

 

Swimming lessons for flood affected children

By Khong Thi Tam An, Project Assistant

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Le Thi Thanh Thanh was watching her nine-year-old daughter girl, Nguyen Thi Phuong Anh ready for her first jump into the pool. Around the girl, a dozen of children were cheering her up to abide their turns.

 “A couple of years ago, I registered my daughter for a swimming class organized by the local community on the river. Then, I thought it was not safe for her so that I pulled her out”, she said.

 Thanh’s daughter is among thousands young children to grow up in flood affected communities in Dong Thap Province by the Mekong River Delta. The frequency of flood has been increasing in the recent years, therefore, the children has become more accustomed of going to school by boats.

 With funding from Prudential Foundation, Save the Children supports the construction of swimming pools in schools and provides swimming lessons for the vulnerable children.

It is a part of the organisation’s disaster risk reduction programme in two flood prone provinces of Dong Thap and Tien Giang. The programme aims to support the local children and their communities to better prepare for flood and extreme weather through disaster risk reduction trainings and provision of life-saving items.

 “I’d like to recommend the swimming lesson at the school’s swimming pool to other parents because it is safer. We are living in a flood-prone area so swimming lessons for the children are crucial”. Thanh said.

 

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