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Japan funds initiatives to support Vietnam’s migrant workers affected by Covid-19

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Government of Japan is funding a series of youth-led initiatives on job replacement, income generation, life skills and the provision of sexual and reproductive health knowledge for young migrant workers who had to return to Vietnam due to Covid-19.

The initiatives will be implemented in the provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Tri, which are the hometowns of a large number of migrant workers, by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, with technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The signing ceremony to implement this project was held online by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in collaboration with UNFPA Vietnam, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Provincial Youth Unions of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Tri on Wednesday.

Supporting young returning migrant workers is one of the most important components of the UNFPA Project, which is known as “Mitigating the negative impacts of Covid-19 on vulnerable population groups – Ensuring National Progress to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals in Vietnam”, funded by the Government of Japan. 

The project focuses on four main issues—gender-based violence, quality care for older people, sexual and reproductive health and support to young returning international migrant workers in 14 provinces suffering from the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to UNFPA, Vietnam is one of the countries experiencing severe socioeconomic impacts due to Covid-19, and young people are among the most vulnerable population groups. 

Young international migrant workers from the three provinces of Quang Tri, Nghe An and Ha Tinh are facing a tough time because of the sudden changes in working conditions. 

Many of them had to return to Vietnam due to the pandemic and are facing difficulties reintegrating into the local workforce.

With a total fund of over VND2 billion, these initiatives will help provide young returning migrant workers with jobs, an income, life skills and knowledge on sexual and reproductive health from now until the end of March 2022.

Attending the signing ceremony virtually, Daisuke Okabe, Minister of the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam, said, “The Government of Japan is honored to be able to support these initiatives which contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals’ philosophy of ‘leave no one behind’.” 

Ngo Van Cuong, secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, emphasized the importance of supporting young international migrant workers who returned home due to Covid-19. 

“The Secretariat of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union will instruct the Vietnam Youth Union’s relevant departments to closely collaborate with the provincial Youth Unions of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Tri to facilitate the implementation of the initiatives on job replacement and income generation, thus helping returning migrant workers to settle down well,” he said.

According to Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative for Vietnam, the risk of Covid-19 to adolescents and youth is often under-estimated. Young people may have a stronger immune system against Covid-19, but it does not necessarily mean they are not affected by the impact of Covid-19.

“It is important to recognize that young people have been confronted with multiple shocks including a disruption to education and employment, income loss, greater difficulties in finding a job, and accessing health and other public services. Young international migrant workers are one of the hardest hit,” she said.

“Therefore, UNFPA commits to working closely with the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in UNFPA’s project.”

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