Plan International Initiates Two Projects to Protect Youth in Ha Giang Province

Ha Giang province in the north of Vietnam, together with Plan International, are working together to protect minors and young people from gender-based violence and early marriage.

Plan International Launches Two Youth Protection Projects in Ha Giang Province
Delegates, and officials at the launching ceremony. Source: Plan International Vietnam

The northern province of Ha Giang has recently embarked on two new projects with the goal of putting an end to child marriage and consanguineous marriage in the area. This effort is aimed at addressing these issues and creating a better future for the young population of Ha Giang.

A survey conducted by Plan International in Ha Giang province has revealed that youth from ethnic minorities (EMs) are facing escalating challenges in accessing education and care services due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, they are at a higher risk of experiencing gender-based violence. Adding to their struggles is the surge in unwanted pregnancies, a major contributing factor to child marriage, as well as an increase in instances of violence against children and youth belonging to ethnic minorities.

To address these issues, Plan International Vietnam has implemented two initiatives in Ha Giang province. The first initiative, titled “Ensuring Adolescent Girls Learn and Stay Protected from Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Covid-19” (2023-2025), has targeted two districts: Meo Vac and Yen Minh. This project has received support from the Beiersdorf Group through Plan International Germany.

The other one is the project “Ethnic minority adolescent and young people aged 11-24 in Ha Giang Province are protected from becoming victims of child, early and forced marriage” (2023-2026) in two districts of Xin Man and Hoang Su with the generous support of Uniqlo Co., Ltd. through Plan International Japan.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Mao Quoc Toan, deputy director of the local Department of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the increasing importance of children’s rights, protection, and education in recent years. While efforts have been made by both central and local authorities, there are still children who live in unsafe and unhealthy environments. These children remain vulnerable to domestic and social violence, child sexual abuse, as well as forced marriages at a young age. It is crucial for society to address these issues and ensure the well-being and safety of all children.

According to Dang Quoc Viet, program manager from Plan International’s National Office, the goal of Plan’s five-year program in the 2021-2026 period in Vietnam is to empower Vietnamese girls and enable them to exercise their rights effectively.

Plan International in Vietnam is committed to working with relevant agencies at all levels, from central to local levels, as well as partner organizations, children, families, and communities. Their goal is to support two million girls in learning, leading, making decisions, and developing. Viet affirmed this commitment.

At the kick-off ceremony, participants shared their presentations on the current status of protecting minors and ethnic minority youth in Ha Giang province. They planned specific activities for the two projects and discussed methods of implementing these activities in each partner unit. They also discussed the roles and responsibilities of the participating parties.

Lam The Hung, deputy director of Ha Giang Department of Education and Training, emphasized that Plan International has accurately identified the key issues in the development of the projects. The two projects are highly applicable to the practical conditions in Ha Giang province.

Earlier this June, Plan International Vietnam’s Ha Giang Office coordinated with the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, Department of Education, and Ha Giang Provincial Youth Union to organize the provincial Children Forum in 2023.

Attending the workshop were provincial leaders and representatives from relevant departments, along with two members of the Youth Advisory Committee of Plan International Vietnam. Also present were 114 children representing the provincial Children’s Council.

During the Forum, the students presented yearly updates of the Ha Giang Provincial Children’s Council model. They also raised 12 important questions to the provincial leaders, focusing on issues such as child marriage, sexual/child abuse, violence prevention, child injury, and child labor.

After listening to the children’s questions and sharing, the provincial leaders provided answers, guidance, and explanations in order to help the children better understand these issues. This empowers them to serve as community communicators at school, in their families, and in their localities.

At the conclusion of the forum, both the students and local leaders were able to reach a consensus on the frameworks that will be implemented for the upcoming school year’s forum.

Hannah Nguyen