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Damages caused by typhoons No. 6, 7 in Central Vietnam

A collapsed house in Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province. Photo: Dan Sinh News

By 4 pm (GMT+7), Oct 19, natural disaster in central Vietnam has so far left 102 dead and 26 missing. At least 178,000 homes, nearly 7,000 hectares of crops have been damaged and 700,000 cattle/poultry killed, official data shows.

Three provinces suffering the largest loss of lives are Quang Tri (48), Thua Thien-Hue (27) and Quang Nam (11), according to the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

According to Quang Tri provincial Department of Foreign Affairs, this is the first time Quang Tri suffer 4 floods in just 10 days. From October 6-17, a large-scale downpour hit Quang Tri, causing water to rapidly rise on rivers and severe floods in many areas of the province.

From October 16-18, all districts, towns and cities (except Con Co island district) suffered from high flooding, the Department says.

A local inundated medical center. Photo: Ho Cau/Vietnam News

By October 19, nearly 3,000 cattle and 472,000 poultry were killed/washed away, while nearly 2,580 ha of crop in Quang Tri were damaged. 316.5 hectares of rice plantation and 5.8 ha of agricultural land were inundated. Numerous irrigation structure, dykes, embankments were landslided and seriously damaged.

The disaster also causes disruption in water supply, especially in Huong Hoa district and Dakrong district, where MCNV’s three development projects are being implemented.

In Huong Hoa district, over 3,500 m water pipelines of Huong Phung commune were washed away while the water system in Chenh Venh and Cheng village were buried and severely damaged by fallen soil and rock.

Erosion in Dakrong. Photo: Thanh Loc/Thanh Nien News

In Dakrong district, over 672 m water pipelines were washed away (A Vao commune) while clean water system of Huc Nghi commune resettlement area were damaged.

In addition, in Huong Hoa district and Dakrong district, schools are also eroded due to flood. (In the whole province of Quang Tri, over 70 schools have been inundated with high water level).
The delivery of emergency aid and rescue to affected localities are facing numerous obstacles, since many roads and areas are blocked by landslide and flood.

A classroom in Huong Hoa district. Photo: Dan Sinh news

According to the latest news from the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHFM) on October 20, Saudel, a freshly-formed storm is expected to enter the East Sea and may head to central Vietnam.

At 1 pm on Friday, 23 October, Saudel is forecast to hit the Hoang Sa Archipelago of Vietnam, packing maximum sustained winds of level 11, and a gale of level 14.

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Magazine 2020-3

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MCNV honored by Quang Tri province for outstanding effort in fund mobilizing

MCNV was recently honored with the Certificate of Merit acknowledging its contribution to the development of Quang Tri province.

A conference on strengthening the cooperation and implementing the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) aid program for period 2020 to 2025 took place on October 2nd in Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province.

The event was jointly held by Quang Tri provincial People’s Committee and the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO).

A pavilion displaying handicrafted bamboo and tungs trees oil products, produced with the support of MCNV.

Delegates from various local agencies and NGOs, including MCNV took this occasion to exchange the views and discuss about issues of great significance to the development of Quang Tri province, which were: aid for socio-economic development, climate change response and war remnants removal.

Remarkably, at the event, MCNV was awarded with the Certificate of Merit by the People’s Committee of Quang Tri province, acknowledging the organization’s outstanding contribution to mobilizing FNGO’s funds for the locality during period 2014-2019.

This acknowledgement is considered a source of encouragement for MCNV to further the organization’s effort in maintaining and expanding support in Quang Tri.

Currently, MCNV has been implementing three projects in Quang Tri, which are:

-Promoting sustainable partnership between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forest management in the context of climate change’ (PROSPER)

-Ethnic minorities community development

-Realization of land use rights for ethnic minority people with disabilities (PWD) in Dakrong and Huong Hoa districts, Quang Tri province.

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Leaping towards improved nutrition – rearing frogs in Lao PDR

Mr. Tambeo, proudly shows off two prize bullfrogs

As the evening draws to a close a loud croaking can be heard throughout Thathe village, in Nong District, Lao PDR. It is the chorus of the East Asian Bullfrog (Hoblobatrachus rugulosus). Although small in size these noisy pond dwellers bring big benefits to poor households in Thathe village, as frog meat is a popular addition to the rural Lao diet whether stewed in a steaming pot or fried as a tasty snack.

The frogs are far easier and cheaper to rear than larger livestock and utilise less water than fisheries, as one small fenced pond of 2m x3m metres can support around 600 frogs. The frogs provide a daily protein constituent in the household diet and also are a valued source of income as they can be sold for 30,000Kip/kg, (around 4-5 frogs per kilo), or exchanged with other families for eggs and vegetables.

Through the EU funded CANTEEN project, MCNV has provided over 45,000 froglets to 75 households through 10 poor villages in Nong District. Household members have been shown how to construct and maintain the ponds and trained in techniques for feeding and caring for the frogs, as well as how to prepare and cook them safely. The addition of aquaculture to farming practices within the villages promotes an agroecology that is nutrition-sensitive and more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Froglets are initially kept in small ponds once they have grown and are ready for breeding they will be moved to larger ponds.

Mr. Tambeo, is just one of the villagers that has benefited from this simple, but innovative idea. He says that “I was initially skeptical of such a new idea, but the training and support MCNV provided showed me that rearing frogs was a simple and very profitable endeavor. The frogs are easy to breed and raise as I they eat insects and larvae that are easy to obtain, and my children love to eat them! I can also exchange them with neighbours for eggs and vegetables. I can also sell the frogs and the additional income also helps me provide medicine and other essentials for my family and I can buy more froglets to raise and breed. THANK YOU MCNV.”

Although for Mr. Tambeo it was initially a leap of faith to begin rearing frogs with the support of MCNV the project has been a hopping success and MCNV is now looking at extend this idea to other villages school ponds so that children can learn the art of frog raising and enjoy tastier and healthier school meals too.

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MCNV continues promoting inclusive education in Vietnam

The opening ceremony of Dien Bien Support Center for the Development of Inclusive Education on September 11 has paved the way for a brighter future of children with disabilities in Dien Bien province. As part of the event, the Center also kick started the new academic year 2020-2021.

In 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV) and the Dien Bien provincial Department of Education and Training, declaring the willingness to establish and mobilize funding for the construction of Dien Bien Support Center for the Development of Inclusive Education (Support Center).

Thanks to great support from the Provincial People’s Committee and Department of Education and Training of Dien Bien Province, donors from the Netherlands, Kind Heart Foundation (Vingroup) and PwC, the Support Center was put into operation in October 2019 and welcomed its first batch of students in December of the same year.

An outdoor lesson in the Support Center. Photo: MCNV

Being established as core part of the project ‘Capacity building for Dien Bien Support Center for the Development of Inclusive Education’ by MCNV, the Center aims to provide expertise and support in early detection, early intervention and inclusive education for children with disabilities in Dien Bien; raising community awareness towards equal rights of children with disabilities; and assisting community and parents in supporting their disabled children’s social inclusion.

A teacher helps her student improve mobility skill. Photo: MCNV

After two enrollments, the Support Center has now become the ‘second home’ of 41 children aged 3-15 who are living with different forms of disabilities (autism, intellectual disability, hearing impairment, etc). The Support Center has started providing consultancy and expertise support for primary schools which mainstream children with disabilities.

Filled with the colors and scents of nature, the Support Center provides a relaxing environment for children with disabilities. Photo: MCNV

Covering an area of nearly 6000m2, the Support Center consists of 6 buildings, with a total number of 24 rooms, including classrooms, multisensory rooms, individual intervention rooms, etc, to accommodate different needs of students.

In order to facilitate the rehabilitation and improvement of students’ senses and skills, the Support Center is furnished with a variety of necessary aids and equipment, such as keyboard, manual alphabet, sensory pads, twisting puzzle, manipulative, etc.

According to Deputy Chairman of Dien Bien provincial People’s Committee, Mr. Le Van Quy, there are nearly 4,000 children of disabilities in Dien Bien. Many of them are still out of school and many others are struggling in adapting to general education environment.

“I hope the Support Center will step by step reinforce its teaching quality, and become the trusted second home of children with disabilities in Dien Bien”, he said.

Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Director General of the Department of Primary Education, Ministry of Education and Training, Standing Deputy Head of the Steering Committee on Education for Children with disabilities, Dr.Ta Ngoc Tri, emphasized the importance of inclusive education, and highlighting the practical roles of the Support Center in the national education system.

Dr.Ta Ngoc Tri speaks at the event. Photo: MCNV

“The Support Center not only works on early detection and intervention to help students with disabilities grow to full potential, but also plays a significant role in assisting other schools and education institutions in improving inclusive education,” he noted.

According to MCNV Country Director, Mr. Pham Dung, the establishment of the Support Center in Dien Bien province is realized based on the previous successful models supported by MCNV in three provinces of Dak Lak, Phu Yen and Cao Bang. MCNV therefore hopes that the Support Center will continuously improve itself to fulfill its mission and develop its capacity to serve as a technical supervisor of similar Centers in the Northwestern region in the future.

MCNV Country Director Mr.Pham Dung speaks at the event. Photo: MCNV

“Cooperation and experience exchange are of great significant in building a strong network of Support Center. For example, in the past, the Support Center in Dak Lak stood by the Center in Cao Bang, and nowadays, the Center in Cao Bang is assisting the Center in Dien Bien,” he said.

On this occasion, the Support Center also received gifts including water filter, winter blankets and warm clothes from various sponsors.

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650 compost bins presented to Ben Tre province

Last August, 650 compost bins were presented to 10 districts/wards of Ben Tre city and Chau Thanh district (Ben Tre province). In more details, 600 compost bins were distributed to 600 households, while 50 bins (larger size) were handed to 04 markets and 10 schools.

Compost bins presented to households in Ben Tre city in August 2020. Photo: Ben Tre provincial Women’s Union

In addition, a workshop on converting waste into fertilizer using compost bins was provided to 600 households, while 350 households received training on growing organic vegetables.

Workshop on waste-to-compost technique. Photo: Ben Tre provincial Women’s Union

The aforementioned activities were conducted in the second phase of the project ‘Community-based eco-green solution to solid waste treatment’. Funded by UPS, the project was jointly implemented by MCNV and Ben Tre provincial Women’s Union, aiming at facilitating eco-friendly practices in a simple yet effective process.

Vegetables nourished by organic compost in a beneficiary household. Photo: Ben Tre provincial Women’s Union

Kitchen garbage like fruit peels, leftover vegetables will be put into the bin, adding Effective microorganisms  (EM) to accelerate decomposition. After a few months, the waste will be turned into organic fertilizer, which is used to nourish plants in home gardens.

Waste-to-compost benefits the community in various aspects, including purifying and beautifying the environment; reducing the cost of waste collection, transportation and treatment and raising public awareness of waste management and engaging people into the process.

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Microcredit: The catalyst for change

Ms.Tran Thi Kim Thuy. Photo: Tran Le Hieu

In over the last 10 years, Microcredit has helped thousands of women in Ben Tre province find their way out of poverty. Nowadays, it keeps being the ‘catalyst for change’, helping beneficiaries push their boundaries

Ms.Tran Thi Kim Thuy (50 years old) and her husband are residents of Binh Hoa hamlet, Binh Dai township, Ben Tre province. For the past 30 years, they have been earning their living by selling crops grown in their home garden, such as corns, water spinach and banana. Everyday, they worked hard not only to make the family’s end meets, but also prepare for their children’s future.

In the last recent years, the couple’s effort has paid off. Their son and daughter have completed their education and been living overseas with stable jobs.

At home, Thuy and her husband continue to work on improving the household economy. In early 2020, Thuy’s hometown, Binh Dai township was selected for the expansion of the microcredit project funded by the Microcredit for Mother (MfM) foundation (the Netherlands), a sponsor of MCNV Women Empowerment (WE) program.

Thuy didn’t hesitate to take this chance to realize her goal by registering for membership. She is now member of the township’s group number 4.

Recently, Thuy made a loan worth VND 10 million (1/3 of the total cost) to invest in farming facility: a drip irrigation system.

“Thanks to microcredit group, I have got easy access to the loan I need. The lending procedure was quick and simple, no collateral is required. I therefore could purchase the equipment instantly “, she said.

The drip irrigation system in Ms.Thuy’s garden. Part of the purchase was financed by loan from the microcredit group. Photo: Tran Le Hieu

Since the system was installed, labour and workload have been significantly reduced. Ms Thuy and her husband no longer have to carry heavy buckets of water or continually dragging hoses and sprinklers from one spot to another.

Thank to the drip irrigation system, water is allowed to trickle slowly near the base of the plant through tubing, pipes, valves and emitters. As a result, constant quantities of water are delivered to the plants in a precise and continuous manner. Water hence can penetrate deeply into the soil and get well down into the plants’ root zone. Waste due to evaporation is eliminated while small flow help prevent soil erosion and nutrient runoff.

Since the Mekong Delta in general, and in Ben Tre province in particular has been severely affected by climate change and saltwater intrusion, equipment that can improve water efficiency like the drip irrigation system is a valuable asset.

“The system has been creating healthier growing conditions and higher yields for my garden. The change motivates me to work harder to improve the quality and quantity of the crops, so our vegetables can be sold in supermarkets”, Thuy said.

  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • In 2020, the project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, including Binh Dai township, thanks to the funding of Microcredit for Mothers (MfM) foundation.
  • The project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, providing financial services and facilitate socio-economic inclusion for over 5,000 disadvantaged and poor women, supporting household economy development, response to saltwater intrusion and new rural development.
  • Nowadays, the project has become financially self-sustained, and is being conducted with the permission of the State Bank of Vietnam, Ben Tre provincial branch.

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LEARN Knowledge Translation and LEARN Evaluation Recap

The two-day event LEARN Knowledge Translation and LEARN Evaluation was successfully held in the capital city of Vientiane on July 30 & 31.

The event aimed to evaluate the 5 years of the program LEARN (Lao Equity through Policy Analysis and Research Networks).
Present at the event were EU Head of Cooperation to the Lao PDR, Bryan Fornari; HE Mr Leon Faber – EU Ambassador to Lao PDR; Vice Minister of Health, HE Mr Khamphone Phouthavong; Dr. Bounthom Samountry, Acting President of University of Health Sciences; Dr. Sengchanh Kounnavong, Director of the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute.

Delegates participate in group discussion. Photo: MCNV Laos

On the first day of the event, the delegates participated in discussion on the achievements, lessons learned from the 5-year journey of LEARN and the plan for a follow-up program in the time to come.
The second day of the event began with the launch of the LEARN Special Issue of Global Health Action Journal, in which 14 thesis were published from the LEARN Master in Public Health program and PhD program.

MCNV Laos Country Director Rebecca Derry presents the Global Health Action journal to his excellency, Mr. Khamphone Phouthavong, Vice Minister of Health. Photo: MCNV Laos

Being conducted in a period of five years, the 14 thesis look into multi angles of reproductive health and nutrition in Lao PDR, such as Pregnancy Health Literacy among Teenagers, Factors Influencing Sexual Reproductive Health Among Adolescents, Stillbirth in Lao PDR, Anaemia Among Adolescents, Quality of Family Planning Services for Women of Reproductive Age.

In particular, much of the research was focused on tackling long-term issues like malnutrition and teen pregnancy and helps to point out newly emerging issues such as the increase in obesity in the urban areas of Laos.
The two-day event was concluded with the graduation ceremony for the second cohort of Master in Public Health students.

Second cohort of Master in Public Health under LEARN celebrates their graduation ceremony. Photo: MCNV Laos

As part of LEARN, 19 students of University of Health Science (Laos) have completed their Master in Public Health. The first cohort of 9 marked their graduation in February 2020.

Funded by the European Union (EU) and coordinated by MCNV Laos, VU University of Amsterdam, Hanoi University of Public Health, the project Lao Equity through Policy Analysis and Research Networks (LEARN) aims to support the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute (Lao TPHI) and University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Public health.

With this support these institutes can provide national health authorities and stakeholders with expertise, documentation, reports and relevant tools for increasingly evidence-based health policy-making. The project will enhance the institutional development; build capacities, and increase resources of Lao TPHI and University of Health Sciences, faculty of public health.

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24 teachers in Dien Bien province receive TEACCH training

“Applying TEACCH- Treatment and Education Autistic Children Communication Handicap’ was the theme of a workshop recently taking place in Dien Bien province (from July 27-30).

The workshop was organized by the provincial Department of Education and Training with the support from MCNV, as part of the two sides’ cooperation in 2020.
The 24 trainees were teachers of the Dien Bien Support Center and teachers of children with disabilities in the province. The workshop was conducted by Dr.Nguyen Thi Kim Quy, former Head of the Educational Psychology department, Hanoi University of Education.

Trainer – Dr.Nguyen Thi Kim Quy (left) give instruction to the trainees

TEACCH is a lifetime approach designed to assist children with autism. TEACCH was first practiced in the 1970s by psychological experts in the University of North Carolina, US. Nowadays, TEACCH has become a comprehensive clinical and psychoeducational programme to support people with autism worldwide.

Based on the fact that autistic children tend to have a visually based learning style, TEACCH focuses on the use of visual and structured teaching rather than verbal instruction.

In the four-day training, under the guidance of Dr.Nguyen Thi Kim Quy, 24 trainees were provided with a theoretical foundation of TEACCH, trained on how to apply TEACCH techniques in helping students develop skills such as imitation, perception, fine motor, gross motor, etc. As part of the workshop, the trainees also got hand-on experience in planning a TEACCH lesson by themselves.

Below are some of the testimonials:

The TEACCH approach is very useful and practical. We’ll take account of and  incorporate this approach into our work guideline, lesson planning and apply into the academic year 2020-2021 as well as in the years to come.

Mai Thi Hong Nhung, Director of the Dien Bien Support Center

“I am strongly impressed by TEACCH as it focuses on children’s skills, instead of their weaknesses. What I like the most from the course was the skills and knowledge I have acquired in designing a TEACCH-based lesson by myseld”.

Ca Van Thu, Head of the Organization-Administration, Treatment and Counselling Department, Dien Bien Support Center.

“After the course, I have become aware of the positive outcome brought about by early detection and early intervention for kids with autism/communication handicap. I’ll dig deeper into this field to apply it into practice effectively, and try my best to design supporting activities to apply TEACCH to students with mild condition of autism.”

Pham Thanh Hue, Vice Rector of Hoang Cong Chat Preschool, Dien Bien district, Dien Bien province

Located in the Southwest border of Vietnam, Dien Bien province has a population of nearly 550,000. According to a statistical research conducted in 2018, the number of children with disability in the province is over 3,000 (age 0-18), of which 643 kids have never been to school (21%), 773 have dropped out (24%). The rest of the children are going to local schools (from preschool to high school level), accounting for 55%.

  • MCNV kick started supporting healthcare and rehabilitation for persons with disabilities in Dien Bien province in 2014. In 2016, MCNV and the Dien Bien provincial Department of Education and Training signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to declare the willingness to establish and mobilize funding for the construction of the Support Center.
  • The project was subsequently financially sponsored by Thien Tam Foundation (VINGROUP), pledging to provide funding for part of the infrastructure (a 2-storey buiding with 8 classrooms).
  • In October 2019, the Supporting Center was officially put into operation. With financial and technical supports by MCNV, the staff of the center have been benefited from various capacity building activities.
  • Since December 2019, the Center started to admit students with disabilities. The Center has so far providing teaching and daycare services for 40 children with different forms of disabilities.
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Roll-out of Vietnam’s Occupational Therapy website

The first official website of Vietnam’s Occupational Therapy is now accessible at

In the world, for hundreds of years, Occupational Therapy (OT) has been an essential part of rehabilitation, playing a significant role in helping patients re-integrate into society and reduce disability.
However, in Vietnam, professional OT training had not been provided until the year of 2015. OT was only practiced in major hospitals and mostly by overseas students and volunteers.

When patients were discharged, it was almost impossible to continue OT at home, whilst to those who have just recovered from stroke, victims of accidents, or the handicapped, doing simple tasks like self-feeding, bathing, moving around, etc, are big challenges.

Aiming to meet with the urgent demand for Occupational Therapy (OT) in Vietnam, in 2015, a 5 – year project on Development of Occupational Therapy Education in Vietnam was initiated by MCNV. The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Humanity & Inclusion (HI).

In addition to nurturing a competent team of OT lecturers and professional therapists for Vietnam, the project also works on building a professional association in OT. With the launch of the first OT website in Vietnam, we have made one more step closer to this goal.

Available in two languages Vietnamese-English, the website aims to serve as a credible platform for knowledge sharing and experiences exchange for all OT therapists in Vietnam, worldwide and all those who are interested in OT.

Visit us at:

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