Launch of the “Reaching the Furthest Behind” Program Phase II
Reaching the Furthest Behind Phase II launch

On the morning of November 28, 2023, the Ha Giang People’s Committee and Plan International Vietnam (Plan), CARE International in Vietnam (CARE), and the Center for Research on Initiatives of Community Development (RIC) launched the Reaching The Furthest Behind program phase II in Ha Giang city, Ha Giang province. The event sets the stage for collaboration between relevant agencies to bring positive changes to disadvantaged communities.

The workshop was held with the participation of more than 100 delegates from the People’s Committee of Ha Giang Province, the People’s Committee of Hoa Binh Province, People’s Committee of Quang Tri Province, Irish Embassy in Vietnam, Committee for Ethnic Minorities Affairs, National Assembly’s Ethnic Council, Vietnam Women’s Union, and provincial, district, and commune-level agencies where the program would be implemented with leaders and staff of the three organizations of Plan, CARE, and RIC at two venues located in Ha Giang city, Ha Giang province and Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province.

Phase II of the Reaching The Furthest Behind program with sponsorship from the Irish Embassy in Vietnam is expected to be implemented from September 2023 to August 2028. The program aims to improve the quality of life of vulnerable ethnic minorities in 06 communes of Dakrong and Huong Hoa districts of Quang Tri province; 4 communes of Da Bac and Lac Son districts, Hoa Binh province and 5 communes of Xin Man and Vi Xuyen districts, Ha Giang province. The program will apply community-centered approaches and promote the agency of women in the process of socio-economic development, and promote the implementation of policies to support the socio-economic development of ethnic minority groups and mountainous areas.

The inception phase of the program implemented in Quang Tri and Hoa Binh provinces from June 2022 to August 2023 has been evaluated positively. According to Mr. Truong Chi Hieu, Deputy Head of the Ethnic Affairs Committee of Quang Tri province: “Reaching The Furthest Behind program has brought about practical impacts and supported the sustainable development of ethnic minority communities in Quang Tri. The program has contributed to changing people’s mindset and living conditions, towards gender equality, and ensuring schools become safer from natural disasters and climate change”.

There is also positive feedback from direct program beneficiaries. Ms. Ho Thi Xo, Head of the Banana Cooperative Group in Ta Rut commune, Quang Tri province, said: “The program has helped us better understand the market requirements and potential customers of the group’s products through market visits and direct discussions with traders. We feel more confident to implement our business plan.”

From another perspective, Ms. Luong Thi Loan, from Kia village, Yen Hoa commune, Da Bac district, Hoa Binh province emphasized: “Reaching The Furthest Behind program has helped members of the community communication team create creative forms of communication that attract the participation of villagers, promoting discussions about gender equality in my village.”

Speaking at the conference, Mr. Seán Farrell – Deputy Head of Mission, Irish Embassy in Vietnam, shared about Ireland’s development strategy in Vietnam as well as expectations for this program: “This is one of Ireland’s most important programs in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The program contributes to the implementation of Vietnam’s national targeted programs for mountainous areas and ethnic minority communities. The program’s objectives are consistent with the priority areas of the Mission Strategy of the Embassy of Ireland in Vietnam. The program builds on Ireland’s long history of supporting ethnic minority communities and vulnerable groups in Vietnam.”

Mr. Hoang Gia Long – Standing Vice Chairman of Ha Giang Provincial People’s Committee said: “Ha Giang’s international integration strategy to 2023, with a vision to 2030, Ha Giang always maintains the cooperation with Embassies in Vietnam, foreign non-governmental organizations, international foundations and countries that have friendly relations with Vietnam, to promote the image and products locally made in Ha Giang, as well as to call for resources to solve problems such as negative impacts of climate change, employment gap, hunger, and poverty, for especially poor communes in remote areas, areas where ethnic minorities live… Therefore, the Reaching The Furthest Behind program sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland in Vietnam would help Ha Giang province implement the National Target Program for Socio-Economic Development of Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Areas, contributing to supporting communities and vulnerable groups to easily access basic services, economic development models to become more independent in life, and improve their position in family, community, and society.”

Ms. Le Quynh Lan, Acting Country Director of Plan International Vietnam emphasized: “With support from the Irish government and people, Plan, Care, and RIC have joined forces, accompanying local authorities and people to successfully implement the inception phase of the program. Thanks to that, the Embassy has committed to funding the program over the next 5 years, to bring about sustainable changes to disadvantaged communities and mountainous areas. We hope that through this program, ethnic minority communities, especially girls, people with disabilities, and women in 15 especially difficult communes of Quang Tri, Hoa Binh, and Ha Giang will be empowered to respond and adapt to climate change. They will also improve their positions in families, communities, and society. The program will also contribute to the commitment to support 2 million girls to learn, lead, decide, and thrive enshrined in Plan International Vietnam’s 5-year strategy for the period 2020-2025.”

Mr. Le Van Hai, Director of RIC Center, discussed more about the program’s approach: “The program will be implemented with a community-centered approach. Communities propose initiatives, establish plans, and manage the construction and maintenance of micro-infrastructures. With this approach, communities will have increased capacity and ownership to implement local development initiatives to improve their living conditions.”

In addition to direct intervention at the grassroots level, networking, and experience sharing will be facilitated with partner agencies at the national level. Ms. Le Kim Dung, Country Director of CARE in Vietnam said: “The Reaching The Furthest Behind program aims to promote policy implementation and strengthen cooperation with central agencies. We wish to contribute to support the effective implementation of the National Target Program for Socio-Economic Development of Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Areas, along with other programs, building capacity and facilitating conditions for disadvantaged communities to respond and adapt to external changes as well as climate change and improve their living condition.”

Please see workshop photos at: https://shorturl.at/cqS09

 

For press information, please contact

Pham Trang Nhung (Ms.), Press Coordinator, Plan International in Vietnam via email nhung.phamtrang@plan-international.org  or phone number: +84906252213.

Nguyen Thi Kieu Trang (Ms.), Communications and Marketing Manager, CARE in Vietnam via email nguyenthikieu.trang@care.org  or phone number +84 90487 9991.