Supporting Ethnic Minority Adolescent Girls: Project Kickoff in Huong Hoa

On August 29th 2017, MCNV collaborated with the Village Health Workers’ Association of Quang Tri Province and the Youth Union of Huong Hoa District to organize a kickoff workshop for MCNV’s new project “Supporting Ethnic Minority Adolescent Girls”. Participating in the event were representatives of the Provincial Health Department, Provincial Sexual and Reproductive Health Centre, Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs and the authority and relevant parties of the district, including People’s Committee, Health Department, Health Centre, Centre for Population and Family Planning, Department of Training and Education, Department of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Women’s Union and Youth Union, as well as international non-governmental organisations Plan and World Vision.

An assessment carried out by MCNV in collaboration with the Provincial Sexual and Reproductive Health Centre in the first half of 2017 has shown that ethnic minority adolescent girls in Huong Hoa are facing serious health, education and social problems. To evidence, in 2016 in Huong Hoa there were 301 girls out of totally 483 cases who became pregnant at adolescence (counted for 62.3% of the total number of pregnant adolescent girls in the province), 120 cases of child marriage, and 30% of adolescent girls under 15 years old and 50% under 16 started having sex. The ethnic minority adolescent girls lack knowledge and skills in SRHR, face difficulties in accessing quality health and education services, and are affected by local cultural customs and limited awareness of the community.

In 2017 and 2018, the project will be implemented in 6 communes in the border area Vietnam – Laos, including Huong Lap, Huong Phung, Huong Viet, Lao Bao, Tan Long and Tan Thanh. The project’s general objective is to reduce the rates of unwanted pregnancy and child marriage among adolescent girls. Key interventions will focus on (i) building capacity and creating opportunity for personal development for adolescent girls; (ii) improving the access to health, education and social services for adolescent girls; (iii) raising the local authority’s and people’s awareness about the issues related to adolescent girls. A wide range of activities have been planned, including a social marketing campaign for behaviour change communication, setting up clubs and groups of adolescent girls, checking up and counselling on SRH, providing scholarships and vocational trainings for disadvantaged adolescent girls, and improving SRH knowledge and skills for adolescent girls, thus contributing to ending unwanted pregnancy and child marriage among adolescent girls.

*Photo: Ms. Phan Thi Lien, Chair of the Village Health Association, Quang Tri province, was presenting the image and symbol of the project named Mun Arai.