On 27 August and 8 September in Hoa Binh and Lao Cai provinces retrospectively, Aide et Action, in partnership with North West Development Centre (NWD), was pleased to launch our Increasing Access to Livelihood Opportunities for Ethnic Minority Youth project.
Backed with funding provided by the EU, this 42-month project – starting in 2020 and ending in 2023 – is set to reach 7,165 ethnic minority youth aged 16-30, including 5,088 high school students, 1,441 college students and 636 youth not currently enrolled in formal education.
In Vietnam, approximately 9 million people are living in extreme poverty, of which 6.6 million (73%) are from ethnic minority heritage, although they only account for 15% of the country’s total population. About three-quarters of the country’s poorest live in remote and rural areas, with their geographic location acting as a further barrier to accessing quality education and health services.
In Bac Ha district, located in the remote northern mountainous province Lao Cai bordering China, ethnic minorities account for more than 80% of the total population, of which the Mong ethnic group makes up a large majority. Levels of unemployment remain high in Bac Hac and in Lao Cai in general. Many youth leave school to farm or to join insecure labour markets without a clear career orientation, where they end up earning low incomes with little job security.
Our project will target five remote and rural districts – Da Bac and Mai Chau in Hoa Binh province and Lao Cai, Bac Ha, and Sapa in Lao Cai province. Here, we will work with upper-secondary school students as well as youth currently out-of-school in these rural areas, introducing them to market-based knowledge to identify jobs or careers that they wish to pursue. The project will also include mechanisms for strengthening the capacity of national and local stakeholders designed to support young people, to provide them with the help needed to start their own business through entrepreneurship initiatives.
As part of the project, career orientation materials for upper-secondary schools will also be reviewed and revised. This will involve close collaboration with almost 1,000 teachers, including 365 from vocational training colleges and 584 from high schools, as well as 74 staff from local authorities and 50 local enterprises.
The project’s kick-off ceremonies were attended by representatives from provincial government departments, Youth’s Unions, private enterprises, various media and more. Now more than ever, as economic insecurity looms in the midst of a global pandemic, Aide et Action and its partners believe that updated market-oriented vocational training, apprenticeships, and entrepreneurship initiatives are key to giving ethnic minority youth more opportunities to participate in the economic and social growth of the country.
“In order to integrate successfully into the regional and global economy, efforts must be focused on developing human resources and reforming the vocational training system towards self-management and market based approach.”, said Mr. Nguyen Duy Thanh – Head of Vocational Division of Hoa Binh Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, speaking at the project’s kick-off ceremony in Hoa Binh.