UNICEF, Vietnam ministry, businesses accelerate parenting agenda impacting future generations

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UNICEF, Vietnam ministry, businesses accelerate parenting agenda impacting future generations

This supplied photo shows delegates at a ceremony to launch a partnership to expand the Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Holistic Parenting Project in Hanoi, Vietnam, December 10, 2021.

UNICEF on Friday joined Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and businesses to launch a partnership to expand the Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Holistic Parenting Project that will promote nurturing care for Vietnamese children.

The partnership gathers forces together from MOLISA, The Human Safety Net, a global foundation powered by Generali, and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in an effort to step up the parenting agenda in Vietnam, the UN body said in a press release.

As businesses across the Southeast Asian country seek to do more for their workers, looking for means to attract them back to their factories, there is clearly an important role for the business sector – advancing supportive programs for their workers, providing parenting initiatives as well as ensuring that they support early childhood development by upholding children’s rights through corporate family-friendly policies and campaigns.

“Being a parent is the most important job in the world,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF representative to Vietnam.

“It’s also the toughest job and the most rewarding.

“Parenting is too important to be left to chance.

“Reliable information, skills, and tools support parents and caregivers to enjoy their role and to give children a brilliant start in life on the road to them reaching their full potential.

“UNICEF has been an organization driven by the power of collaboration.

“Today we witness a partnership that speaks volumes about the importance of mobilization of public and social resources and responsibilities to give the support needed to parents in Vietnam.”

In the 2021-24 scale-up period, the project will rely on over one million euros (US$1.1 million) worth support from The Human Safety Net.

In addition to that, the global foundation has already planned recurring non-financial support activities.

Activated since 2019, the project has been implemented in 27 communes of three provinces – Gia Lai, Dien Bien, and Kon Tum – and selected factories in and around Ho Chi Minh City by UNICEF, MOLISA, and VCCI.

With a vision for 2024, the partners renew their pledge to expand the project to 15 provinces and cities and 40 more companies, together with wider and mobile access via digital learning platforms.

Vietnam is a leading country in realizing international commitment to children’s rights, UNESCO remarked in the press release.

The prime minister’s Decision 1437/QD-TTg demonstrates the national effort to promote early childhood development, ensuring physical, cognitive, emotional development and equitable access to supporting services for children under eight.

MOLISA echoes the message of putting parents at the center of society’s attention.

“Parenting is a pillar key to advancing the early development of children and has been spotlighted as more critical than ever in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nguyen Thi Ha, MOLISA Vice Minister.

“It reminds us of the important role parents play in time of crisis.”

The provision of quality parenting and family support is critical to achieving the best possible development for all children, Ha said.

The cooperation significantly contributes to strengthening their mandate to promote children’s rights in Vietnam and the extension of the government’s program on early childhood development, she added.

“We have been working with UNICEF in Vietnam since 2019 on two highly successful pilot projects of the Nurturing Infants Children and Environments (NICE) parenting program,” said Emma Ursich, executive officer of The Human Safety Net.

“The NICE model provides nurturing care for children ages 0-6 years, encompassing good health, nutrition, safety, early learning, and responsive caregiving, all with the aim of ensuring children can survive and thrive in life.

“This perfectly fits within The Human Safety Net For Families program, which is implemented in 23 countries worldwide and tries to identify proven and replicable models like this to scale.

“We’re delighted that this will enable UNICEF to roll out the program to reach even more parents and children all across the country, especially among ethnic minorities and urban migrant communities.”

As parents and caregivers are the main providers of the care, nutrition, stimulation, and protection that every child needs for their healthy development, the collaboration aims to build networks of support in communities and in factories for parents, providing them with the knowledge and skills to give nurturing care and build positive parent-child relationships.

This will also help reduce violence against children by learning through play, reinforcing positive and managing difficult behaviours, creating structures and routines, talking about COVID-19, and managing stress and conflict.

Same time, family-friendly policies, such as paid parental leave, breastfeeding support, childcare and child grants, giving parents the time and resources they need to build their babies’ brains, are also promoted as best practices.

“Promoting early childhood development and supporting Vietnamese families is key to Generali Vietnam’s community agenda with the Sinh Con, Sinh Cha parenting program being our flagship CSR initiative,” said Tina Nguyen, CEO of Generali Vietnam

“I am proud to see a major Italian company such as Generali standing close to children in Vietnam and contributing to the development of an inclusive and social sensitive corporate culture,” said Antonio Alessandro, Italian Ambassador to Vietnam.

“My congratulations to MOLISA, UNICEF, and Generali for these achievements.”

The parenting project is a valuable initiative that supports working parents and their children, said Nguyen Quang Vinh, secretary general of the VCCI, a major entity in mobilizing the private sector in Vietnam.

“VCCI will continue to support UNICEF and the government in scaling up this life-changing endeavor,” Vinh said.

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