Provincial child friendly programme




Despite impressive achievements, Vietnamese children still do not enjoy equal access to public services in education, health and nutrition, and water and sanitation. Disparities remain, especially among ethnic minorities and migrant children who make up a disproportionate share of the poor. These gaps are significant. Infant mortality rates among the richest 12 provinces in 2007 varied from 7.5 per cent to 17.3 per cent per 1,000 live births. In the poorest 12 provinces it was much higher, from 18.1 per centup to 50 per cent.[1]

Most of the poorest provinces are at a massive disadvantage. Located in hard-to-reach and often mountainous areas, they have to contend with natural disasters. Infrastructure is often poorly developed and many people have limited access to productive resources and services.

With increasing decentralisation, Viet Nam’s 63 provinces and five centrally-governed cities now have the autonomy to prepare their own development plans, allocate budgets and monitor the implementation of these schemes. But the capacity of local staff to plan, allocate resources and execute programmes for the most vulnerable, including children, is limited.


The Provincial Child Friendly Programme (PCFP) is based on the premise that no single intervention can resolve the complex and multifaceted issues facing children in Viet Nam. With a mix of national level efforts to support local capacity building, coupled with work in six demonstration provinces, the programme is developing the capacity of provincial, regional and commune authorities to tackle children’s issues in a comprehensive manner.

Drawing on UNICEF’s education, child survival and development, child protection and social policy programmes, PCFP supports the provision of integrated services for children in Dong Thap, Kon Tum, Ninh Thuan, Dien Bien, An Giang provinces and in Ho Chi Minh City.

Specific results achieved between 2007 and 2009 include:

  • More coherent, evidence-based and child-sensitive socio-economic development plans (SEDP) in four provinces. For example, selected sector plans including health, education and child protection in the three provinces of Dong Thap, Ninh Thuan and Dien Bien were developed with greater participation of district and commune level institutions resulting in a plan that better reflects the local needs, for example, inclusion of dengue fever in the health sector plan of Dong Thap and injury prevention in the plan of Ninh Thuan. In Ninh Thuan’s 2010 SEDP, a separate section on children is included, which highlights children’s issue more comprehensively.
  • Greater engagement of children in key planning and review processes. For example, in 2009, together with four INGOs (Plan International, Save the Children, World Vision and Child Fund), UNICEF supported a total of 126 children (85 girls and 41 boys) to participate in consultations in 21 provinces including four PCFP provinces, reviewing ten years of implementation of the of the National Plan of Action on Children 2001-2010. These provincial consultations culminated in a high-level national forum with children which also included significant attention to the issue of climate change and its impact on children.
  • Improved access to quality services for children from hard to reach areas in five provinces. In 2009 alone, around 9,500 school children from five provinces benefitted directly from school-level interventions such as provision of learning materials, improvement of school environment including access to safe water and better sanitation facilities. Around 20,000 people benefitted directly from the demonstration of appropriate community water and sanitation schemes, which the programme supported on a cost share basis with the local authorities.
  • Additional resources were leveraged for children in the target provinces. In Dien Bien, Ninh Thuan and Dong Thap, provincial budgets including budgets from National Target Programmes (NTPs) have been mobilised to support infrastructure work directly benefitting children, for example, construction of pre- and primary schools and health centres in the programme districts and communes. Local budgets have also been mobilised to replicate UNICEF-supported activities in other parts of the province (where UNICEF is not present), for example, safe community models in Dong Thap and school WASH in Ninh Thuan. 


With UNICEF’s support in increasing local capacity in planning, budgeting and monitoring, provincial and local authorities in these areas have developed strategies for addressing children’s issues within their local economic and development plans and have secured financial resources from local government budgets to invest more in children. The end result is more investment in key areas or sectors that  improves the lives of children .

The situation for girls and boys in these areas is gradually improving. The packaged approach to services at the district and commune level is improving enrolment in kindergarten and primary schools, increasing style='font-size:14.0pt !msorm;'> access to safe water and sanitation at school and to quality health services for women and children. With greater awareness within the community children are already better protected from violence, abuse and exploitation. By building capacity to mainstream children’s issues into local planning processes, UNICEF is helping these provinces to better reflect and address each region’s own unique challenges, and in so doing, to make development goals and priorities more relevant to the local context, and to the rights of children.

By the end of 2011, the aim is that the PCFP approach will be expanded to other areas in the six provinces. Eventually, UNICEF hopes that this integrated and cross-sectoral approach will be replicated and expanded to other provinces The programme has already been a success in developing close partnerships with the Government at the provincial, district and commune levels, as well as in providing valuable lessons learnt for other UN agencies on local governance issues through the One UN Initiative.


[1] GSO (2007) Population Change and Family Planning Survey



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