A look back at ‘Together we act’ communication campaign successes
For a safe, green and clean Viet Nam for every child
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- Tiếng Việt
The innovative media campaign “Together we act – For a safe, clean and green Viet Nam for every child” has provided a hit with Vietnamese children nationwide.
The campaign, coordinated by UNICEF in Viet Nam and the Standing Office of the National Steering Committee on Disaster Prevention and Control (NSCDPC), had attracted more than 33,000 participants and 1.6 million viewers by the time it closed in December 2022.
On the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management, the campaign was targeted at raising young people’s awareness and enhancing their skills to respond to the intensifying impacts of natural disasters and climate change through spreading the message: “act today for a safe, clean and green future for every child.”
This campaign fills a critical need, as Viet Nam is one of the 13 countries most affected by natural disasters and climate change, leaving 27 million children vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change risks.
The campaign rolled out a series of creative activities to engage children who will be Viet Nam’s next line of defence against the climate threat. The activities included the "Beat the Internet" Gameshow, which for the first time has a version about natural disasters and responding to climate change for children with the theme - Preparedness for natural disasters and climate change. The gameshow, which attracted more than 6,000 students, was held in central Da Nang city – often hit by typhoons and other extreme natural disasters.
Meanwhile, the "One-minute green video challenge" on social networks with the theme "Early Action with children - disaster risk reduction and climate actions" – created a ripple effect nationwide with more than 25,000 children participating and submitting nearly 9,000 videos to the contest.
Finally, the “Relaying disaster risk reduction and climate actions – For a safe, clean and green Viet Nam for every child” race, the first race organized with the purpose of spreading messages about child-centred disaster prevention and climate change responses, had online and in-person versions at My Khe beach, Da Nang. The online race attracted more than 1,000 participants and the live race featured more than 1,000 runners, of whom 500 were children. The total number of kilometres covered by participants joining both versions amounted to 16,000.
The media and influencers such as dancer Quang Dang, actor Duy Khoa and athlete Chau Tuyet Van spread the word about the activities and campaign's messages to the community.
“Children are one of the groups most affected by natural disasters and climate change due to their physical and psychosocial vulnerability. But at the same time, children are the future of the country to act as positive change agents for a safer society from natural disasters,” said Mr. Vu Xuan Thanh, Deputy Chief of the Standing Office of the National Disaster Prevention and Control Panel at the closing ceremony in Da Nang.
Dr. Maharajan Muthu, Chief of Child Survival, Development and Environment Programme, UNICEF Viet Nam, said: “Although the impacts of natural disasters and climate change are inevitable, if we work together, we can respond and adapt more effectively. As a result, UNICEF prioritizes climate actions, disaster risk reduction and environmental protection. UNICEF urges each of us here today - children, families, agencies, and communities to not wait, but join hands and take decisive and practical action now, for a green, clean and safe Viet Nam for all children."
The following stories showcase the experiences of participants in the communications campaign "Together we act - For a safe, clean and green Viet Nam for every child".
1. Gameshow "Beat the Internet – Disaster risk reduction and climate actions"
The campaign was brought to the television screens of students across the country with a special edition of the hit show "Beat the Internet". The gameshow, for the first time, showcased natural disasters and children’s responses to climate change with the theme - readiness for natural disasters and climate change.
Le Duong Khanh Linh, a 14-year-old 9th grader at Da Nang’s Le Do secondary school, was one of more than 6,000 students from five schools in five districts who participated in the preliminary round of the show on channel VTV8. The 10 best students representing the schools were then selected to compete directly in the show which created nationwide momentum for students to learn about natural disaster preparedness and climate change.
The contest had extra significance for Linh, who experienced the impacts of climate change-driven natural disasters first-hand when Typhoon Noru, the worst storm to hit Viet Nam in two decades, caused devastation in the central region in 2022.
“When the storm hit Da Nang, it rained heavily and the flood rose very quickly. My house was quickly flooded,” said Linh.
While her family escaped the storm by relocating to a higher floor with their belongings, it illustrated the importance of having skills to prevent and respond to natural disasters.
Of course, Linh was also one of the first in her class to raise her hand to compete in the contest.
“The competition is a useful playground for us. Through such contests, people can raise awareness about disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and environmental protection,” Linh said. “I especially like the element that requires quick reactions from contestants.”
Linh put her skills to good use to win her school round and was one of two contestants to win first prize in the final round of the contest, surpassing 6,000 contestants. The other contestant was Linh's classmate, Le Ba Minh Nhat.
To prepare for the competition, Nhat and Linh spent four days, especially during recess, learning together about the causes of ozone depletion, greenhouse gases, disaster prevention and climate change adaptation through teachers, by searching Google as well as as well as downloading the disaster prevention and control application on smartphones.
Referring to the most memorable experience at the contest, Nhat said: "In the last question at the school round, my friend and I gave incomplete answers, so I was very nervous waiting for the results from the organizers. But in the end, we still won.”
“Through the competition, I realized that there are many things I still don't know, and I want to learn more about disaster prevention and climate change adaptation. I hope to apply what I have learned in practice to protect the environment," Nhat said, adding that he also aimed to participate in the “Road to Olympia” contest, the longest running TV gameshow for high school students, in the future.
2. Running race "Relaying disasters risk reduction and climate actions - For a safe, clean and green Viet Nam for every child"
More than 2,000 competitors, 1,000 at My Khe beach in central Da Nang and 1,000 virtually, competed in a running race on December 10, 2022 as part of the UNICEF-NSCDPC supported “Together we act – For a safe, clean and green Viet Nam for every child” campaign to raise awareness of disaster preparedness and climate change.
After six days of continuous rain, the sky cleared on the day of the race at picturesque My Khe beach in central Da Nang city. Among more than 1,000 runners was Dinh Thi Khanh Thu, an 8th grader at Nguyen Chi Thanh secondary school.
“My family loves sports. My father inspired and supported me to participate in sports like badminton and running. In the race, my sister and I were very excited to participate knowing that the competition was suitable for both sisters' ages," Thu said, who was the first female student to cross the finishing line and complete the three-kilometre course.
Born and raised in Da Nang, one of the coastal cities in the central region heavily affected by natural disasters, Thu and her family have memories of responding to storms and floods in 2006, 2016 and 2022. One time, the roof of Thu's house was blown away by strong winds and most recently, her house was flooded.
The race left a deep impression on Thu. “I love running on the sand because it's fun. Runners will not bleed or be injured if they accidentally fall," Thu shared.
After winning the race, Thu is committed to keep running with her father's encouragement: "He said even when I won, it is not certain that I will win the next prizes in the future, so I need to work harder to win the prize and improve my health."
Thu regularly updates herself with news about floods and climate change to share with family members. “I know it is necessary to prepare for hazards by bracing the house, preparing necessary items such as flashlights, and storing food for emergencies such as power outages due to heavy rain. First of all, it is also necessary to protect the environment by doing the smallest things such as not throwing garbage indiscriminately, not cutting down trees because that will cause soil erosion, picking up plastic waste on the beach," Thu said.
The first prize in the male category was won by Huynh Kim Thanh, an 11th grader at FPT School in Da Nang.
“Da Nang is famous as the ideal swimming-cycling-running city because it has both the sea, the mountains and wide roads. Every year, the city has sports tournaments, but this is the first time I participate in a running race with my age category, associated with the main topic of disaster prevention, climate change adaptation and environmental protection," Thanh said.
The male student is also a member of the Da Nang running club and has participated in many races since he was 15 years old, including the 70km race in Sapa city, Lao Cai province. But in other competitions, he often competes with people who are older than him.
“The participation of many students of my age group makes it more competitive and meaningful. My peers spend many hours using their smartphones to surf Facebook, TikTok or play video games. I think there should be more sports activities like this for us to participate in to improve our health," Thanh said.
The first running race was organized to spread disaster prevention messages to children, encouraging the spirit of running and sports training with two versions of running online and in person. After the registration portal was opened for two days, the online race had about 1,000 participants and the competition officially ran from November 1 to November 30. The in-person race featured 500 young athletes and was a festival for students, parents and professional runners to become "green runners" who contribute "green footsteps" to spread the main message on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, for all children.
Interesting numbers of the competition
6 years old: the age of the youngest runner in the competition
63 years old: the age of the oldest runner in the competition
202: the number of female athletes aged 6-16 joining the 3km race
138: the number of female athletes aged 16 and over in the 15km race
4: the largest number of family members participating in the race
3. 1-MINUTE GREEN VIDEO CHALLENGE “EARLY ACTION WITH CHILDREN- DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND CLIMATE ACTIONS”
The "1-minute green” video challenge proved a hit with children across Viet Nam, with nearly 9,000 videos from youth aged 13-18 received and 24,000 new members only four weeks after the launch of the UNICEF Viet Nam Facebook group.
The contest, a key feature of the UNICEF- NSCDPC supported “Together we act – For a safe, clean and green Viet Nam for every child” campaign to raise awareness of disaster preparedness and climate change, encouraged children to apply new technologies in the learning environment and extracurricular activities to make 1-minute long videos on disaster prevention and climate change adaptation.
Nguyen Viet Nhat (pictured above), an 11-year-old boy who was born deaf, was of the many students to bring his green credentials to life on film.
The fourth child in a family of five siblings from Nghe An province, who currently studies at the Centre for Research and Promotion of Culture of the Deaf at Dong Nai University in Bien Hoa province encountered many difficulties absorbing knowledge from a young age because some teachers do not know sign language to teach Nhat. He is described by his friends and teachers as mischievous, cheerful and intelligent.
Actively participating in the "1-minute green" challenge, Nhat submitted videos with appealing content and diverse topics about green lifestyles and environmental protection every week, such as mixing trichoderma (a kind of biological product) with organic waste to make compost, filtering water with moringa seeds, taking buses and riding bicycles to reduce emissions and using bamboo products to replace plastic. The videos also used an application that automatically reads voiceover script, along with Nhat explaining in sign language, helping other deaf people to also understand the video content.
“I decided to participate in the “1-minute green” competition because I wanted to practice my newly-learned knowledge. I want to share it with everyone to raise awareness about mitigating the impact of climate change and natural disasters and I want to challenge myself,” Nhat said, through his mother. “I found out about the contest after my teacher introduced me to UNICEF's online programme on making short films by mobile phones taught by Mr. Nguyen Dinh Quyen, with sign language translation.
“I find the UNICEF video tutorials very easy to understand, I really like them. After three online lessons, I took my phone to record scenes in the house, in the alley, and when I returned home to edit the video, I was very excited," Nhat said.
After the first video on the topic of water purification with moringa seeds, Nhat was surprised. “As a deaf person who is unable to hear or speak, I think there is no need for sound or voiceover. But then, many friends and teachers commented and explained that the message was passed on to everyone, not only including the deaf. I understood and in the following videos, I added background music and used google translate to read the voiceover script," Nhat said.
As a result, Nhat won first prize and was invited to receive the award in Da Nang. In the coastal city, Nhat visited a cafe owned and served by deaf people, interacting and talking with them, an experience he will remember for a long time.
“Through the contest, I learned how to shoot, choreograph and edit short videos. At the same time, children are also more aware of loving and protecting the environment, taking more responsibility for disaster prevention and climate change," Nhat said. The 6th grader also shared his dream. “My dream is to grow up to study abroad and become a teacher for deaf and dumb children like me.”