This year, WCD coincides with the Men’s Football World Cup 2022 kick-off, a unique opportunity that UNICEF Viet Nam is taking to promote the power of sport to drive inclusion, to build skills, competencies, confidence and to support mental wellbeing of children and adolescents in Viet Nam.
Across the country, WCD activities have started earlier this month with the Football without Limits initiative, a collaboration between UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and Training and the National School Sports Association. It aims to provide footballs to children in around 30,000 schools and beyond, as well as resources on the essential role sport plays in fostering healthy wellbeing and development of children, especially girls. The national initiative will continue over the coming year, embracing the Women’s Football World Cup in 2023.
National and international football stars have also joined hands with UNICEF through an awareness campaign to inspire the public to come together as one team to get childhood back on track. As we all unite to support our favorite football players and teams, UNICEF also encourages everybody to rally and create change and progress for every child.
To showcase the power of sport for children’s development, the People’s Committee of Da Nang teams up with UNICEF and hundreds of children at an event on this World Children’s Day. Officials from MOET and MOLISA, mass organisations from both central and city levels, international organizations, celebrities and five hundred children from Da Nang come together to enjoy a special football match of girl and boy players, music performance and other activities that promote the spirit of One Team for Every Child.
In this spirit, UNICEF is encouraging team sports, encouraging girls into sport, and supporting the MOET to make this a reality. “We want schools and parents to understand that sport brings so much more than eye-ball coordination and fitness. Today we celebrate the power of sport – beyond fun and physical benefits – for the important role it plays in promoting mental wellbeing, bringing joy, supporting good nutrition, as well as enabling children and adolescents to practice the essential skills they need for success in the workplace, such as communication, negotiation, strategy, learning to lose and get back up, teamwork and leadership,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam.
Children in Viet Nam
The first country in the East Asia and Pacific region to ratify the CRC in 1990, Viet Nam has made tremendous progress for its 27 million children moving progressively to ensure that they all are healthy, educated, protected in safe and clean environments and empowered to reach their full potential. “With notable results across various areas and active engagement in key priorities such as the digital transformation for the education system, Viet Nam shows impressive capacity to bring positive change for every child,” Flowers remarked.
“Despite outstanding gains, there remains an unfinished agenda for children,” she added. “Worsened by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenged by rolling disasters and the climate crisis, too many children are facing disparities, suffering multidimensional poverty; and too many are being left behind. A specific refocus and reprioritization of resources is needed in favour of the children most at risk, those from ethnic minority groups, those whose parents migrate for work, those who live with disabilities and all those who are facing deprivations.”
The evidence continues to tell us that more needs to be done to bridge the gap and get childhood back on track:
14.5 per cent of children are at risk of deprivation in at least two dimensions of their well-being. Children living in rural areas are twice as likely to be at risk as those in cities.
Nearly 20 per cent of children under-5 are stunted and severe acute malnutrition affects more than 200,000 children every year, with only 10 per cent of them receiving appropriate treatment.
72 per cent of children 1-14 experience violent discipline at home.
Pre-school enrolment rate amongst children aged 3-5 from ethnic groups is only 66 per cent compared to 92 per cent nationwide.
“This WCD is Viet Nam’s opportunity for a collective commitment to prioritize the children’s agenda – to ensure that the tools that exist, the nationally targeted programmes, do more to prioritise the situation of children. Commitment is needed to ensure increased and more timely government investments in child and gender sensitive social protection and essential social sectors and to hold all involved accountable for change, for achieving the SDGs for this segment of the community. Just as teamwork is key to success in football, a shared commitment is critical to ensure all children in Viet Nam are healthy, safe, educated and empowered. And, just as fair play is essential in sports, children need a fair opportunity to reach their full potential in life,” concluded UNICEF’s Representative./.