On 11th May 2022, the New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Tredene Dobson, and Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu announced a NZ$2million contribution from Aotearoa New Zealand to support Vietnam’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will include NZ$1 million for medical equipment, provided through UNICEF Vietnam, and NZ$1 million for community-level economic recovery support through CARE International and Oxfam in Vietnam.

Representatives from development partners sharing best practices in conducting field activities

Commenting on the event, New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Tredene Dobson said “This project acknowledges that there is a two-fold approach to COVID recovery. On the one hand there is an on-going health response and this is why Aoteara New Zealand is working with UNICEF to deliver medical equipment to areas where it is needed for the ongoing safe and effective response to COVID-19. However, there is also a significant economic impact from the pandemic so following consultation with the Government of Viet Nam, we wanted to ensure that this project also supported economic recovery amongst some of Viet Nam’s most vulnerable communities – both in the major urban centres but also in hard hit rural areas.”

While the partnership with UNICEF Vietnam will focus on providing medical equipment to support vaccination and treatment of children in Vietnam, the projects with CARE International in Viet Nam and Oxfam in Viet Nam will support a total of 5,400 persons who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Ms Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam said: “Health systems have experienced terrible disruptions in essential health and other social services worldwide, including health services not related to COVID. This has had a significant impact on the well-being of children and women beyond that of the COVID-19 disease itself. While it is necessary to focus on the response to the pandemic, it is essential to also strengthen the preparedness of the health system to future outbreaks. Evidence shows that countries with a health expenditure below $150 per capita will not be able to adequately prepare for or respond to future pandemics. They will not be able to close gaps in immunization or meet targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals. Building on Viet Nam’s remarkable achievements, it is now critical to invest more to strengthen health systems, so that children and the communities have better chance to survive and thrive in the future. The medical equipment provided thanks to New Zealand will contribute to the preparedness of the health system for future outbreaks.”

The projects with CARE International in Viet Nam and Oxfam in Viet Nam will be directed to women, people with disabilities and members of ethnic minority communities in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Quang Tri, and Ha Giang.

Speaking of the collaboration with New Zealand, Ms Le Kim Dung, Country Director of CARE International in Vietnam said: “CARE believes that this grant will support over 3,100 people from vulnerable households in ethnic minority communities in Quang Tri and Ha Giang to recover quickly from the shock after Covid-19 pandemic. Applying a gender-responsive approach in conducting activities, we are making sure that poor and marginalised ethnic minority people of all genders, particularly women, equitably benefit from immediate assistance and development in general. Once recovered from the shocks, they will gradually build their ability to withstand shocks altogether and remain resilient in the long term.”

Ms. Vu Thi Quynh Hoa, National Director of Oxfam in Vietnam also shared: “In this project, Oxfam will support job skill trainings and financial assistance for at least 2,300 informal workers such as street vendors, small family business shops, lottery ticket sellers, etc. in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong province for them to build their livelihood resilience. We will focus on helping women and people with disabilities as they are the most affected by COVID-19. This project, following the COVID-19 response in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong funded in 2021, implemented by Oxfam with the Center for Disability and Development (DRD), which timely supported people’s emergency needs during the peak of the crisis, once again shows your solidarity with Vietnam in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and recovering its economy”.

Over the past two years, the New Zealand Embassy has successfully delivered several COVID-19 response projects totalling NZD$270,000 through its partners, assisting more than 3,300 female workers in various sectors and 130 children with disabilities as well as members of the hearing-impaired community in Viet Nam by Oxfam in Vietnam, ActionAid in Vietnam, East Meets West, CARE International in Vietnam, Vietnam General Confederation of Labour, Tan Binh Centre, and SCDeaf.

Read the full press release here.