Poverty Reduction by Improving Social Work and Health in Rural Vietnam

Lay Summary 

This project is designed to better the quality of life in rural Vietnam by improving social services for women, children, the elderly and disabled people. Interrelated impacts of this project are to improve the qualification of social workers for rural Vietnam (VN); and to enhance the capacity of the University of Labour and Social Affairs (ULSA) of VN to sustain the Social Work training program following completion of this project.

Poverty reduction has been one of the priorities of the Vietnam government. Despite the economic success in the past decade, the poverty reduction has not been uniform and economic disparity is widening between the urban and rural areas, between different regions of Vietnam and among various groups. The Vietnam government continues to strive for further reduction in the poverty rate, especially in the rural and remote areas and to narrow existing social gaps. This project will assist the Vietnam government to achieve its goal by improving the quality of education for social workers and enhance the capacity of the ULSA to sustain the social work training program.


Teaching and Knowledge Transfer

• Provided modern and workable infrastructures for teaching and working at the University of Labor and Social Affairs (ULSA). Purchased Social work (SW) books/library, teaching equipment and materials, classroom, working and living space for project staff.
• 16 ULSA teachers completed a program of 10 introductory Social Work courses. They in turn taught the same program to other Social Work providers (total 80 completed the program).
• 12 SW courses have been designed (written in Vietnamese, with financial assistance from UNICEF of Hanoi).
• 12 ULSA teachers have completed the Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (9) and at the Philippines Women's University (3) in Manila and returned to their posts in Vietnam.
• These 12 Masters graduates (9F, 3M) and those who completed the 10 course introductory program above will continue teaching future SW students and upgrading at least 60,000 rural SW providers in Vietnam following project completion.
• Organized and implemented a study visit of six (3F; 3M) ULSA's Social Work teachers (May 2004) and five (2F; 3M) administrators to Canada (September 2004) to exchange experience and ideas in SW education and to have direct observation of the roles and responsibilities of SW in Canada.
• Conducted five workshops on Social Work education to 182 participants
• Improved English capacity for ULSA's teachers
• Infrastructure in place for project activities
• ULSA teachers were better prepared for more advanced SW education
Program of 10 Introductory Social Work courses was developed


• ULSA teachers conducted research projects on relevant issues in Vietnam and used their research results in designing strategies to deal with VN social problems. These applied research projects contributed to the country's development and raised the visibility and credibility of ULSA
• Baseline data collected in areas involved in the project will be used in designing and evaluating evidence-based solutions

Community outreach

• Social work practice centre (SWPC) provides counseling services to students and people in the surrounding communities. At the same time it is the living laboratory for faculty and students to practice counseling and related skills to improve the livelihood of a vulnerable population
• Health education materials are available for people in communities involved in the project
• ULSA teachers who completed the 10 Social Work introductory courses, have organized and conducted 41 workshops for 1306 rural social work providers (59% females), and 2 workshops for 60 (40F; 20M) ULSA senior SW students. This train-the-trainer approach will potentially upgrade 60,000 rural SW providers following project completion

School of Nursing
School of Social Work
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Administered By The Association Of Universities And Colleges Of Canada
St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
Community Development
Social Work
International Collaboration
Social Sciences
International Outreach
Industry Sectors 
Health Care and Social Assistance
Start date 
1 Jan 2002
End date 
31 Dec 2007
Partner Organization 
Community and Family Services International
Resource Exchange International
Philippine Women University
University of Regina