Project context and rationale
1. The Social And Economic Context of
Vietnam and its Needs
Recognizing that poverty can hinder sustainable development, the
government of Vietnam has had poverty reduction as a central goal
of its reform policies for the past 10 years and poverty rates in
VN have fallen significantly from 51% in 1992 to 30% in 1997.
However, this improvement has not been uniform and disparities have
widened between the urban and rural areas, between different
regions of Vietnam and amongst various groups of population.
To improve social equity, Vietnam needs not only more social
workers (SWs), but SWs with knowledge and skills suitable to the
demands of the open-market economy. To do so, they plan to increase
both the quality and quantity of the SWs by:
- upgrading secondary level of SWs to university level;
- providing additional training for current SWs working with
vulnerable groups in rural areas.
2. Project Impacts
The main expected interrelated impacts from this project include
- improve the quality of social workers for rural Vietnam
- enhance the capacity of the ULSA to sustain the social work
These impacts will be addressed through the following
- To jointly develop and conduct a program of study at the level
of Bachelor of Social Work to upgrade the SW teachers of ULSA.
- To prepare selected VN Social Workers at the Master's level to
be trainers who will extend the upgrading of Social Workers for
rural areas, thus sustaining the program following completion of
- To jointly develop a SW Practice Centre at ULSA so that the
vulnerable groups can directly benefit from the outcome of
- To heighten awareness of the importance of research in Social
Work and to initiate research linkage between MUNSSW and ULSA.
- To disseminate knowledge and experience gained from the
- To ensure the development of appropriate infrastructure to
further sustain SW in rural VN.
- To jointly establish a process of continuous evaluation for the
project's lifetime and facilitate midpoint evaluation.
3. Partner Institution ULSA
The ULSA operated by the Ministry of Labor Invalids and Social
Affairs (MOLISA) is the only school in Vietnam that trains social
workers at the university level and provide continuing education
for the currently working ones. Despite its limited resources, it
has graduated over 27,000 social workers at the secondary technical
level since its opening in 1961. The project will improve ULSA's
ability in HRD and meet VN's national plan for poverty reduction
through a coordinated approach involving:
- A ten course program (or 8 month) in SW in VN: The
trainees will consist of current SW teachers at the ULSA who will
in turn teach other SWs currently working or new SW students.
- Master's study in VN for selected SW teachers who have achieved
- Two month course at MUN for selected SWs who have completed
the ten course program in VN. This experience provides them
needed exposure to western social services and western post
secondary educational environment, as well as its methods of
teaching/learning. At the same time, MUN faculty and students will
benefit from exchanging ideas and knowledge with these
- A program of workshops in VN: to update practicing SWs
working in rural areas on various topics related to the project.
Topics include: training the trainers, communication/counseling,
women's health issues, family violence, child/elder abuse, health
promotion, nutrition, and others. These trainers will in turn
disseminate this knowledge to vulnerable groups and people working
with them, such as women's union, teachers, police force, health
care volunteers, youth groups.
- Establishment of the Social Work Practice Centre (SWPC):
this facility enables faculty and students to apply the knowledge
and skills learned in class to directly benefit people in the
community. Health promotion materials will also be distributed to
clients attending the SWPC.