Bac Kan is a poor province in Vietnam with the least population among 11 northern mountainous provinces. According to the General Statistics Office of the Government of Vietnam, the 2013 population of Bac Kan province was 303,100with a density of 64 persons per km2 over a total land area almost 5000 square kilometres of the province. Around 95% of the province’s land area is forested with the remaining land used for housing or agriculture. There are five main ethnic groups in Bac Kan: Tay, Nung, Dao, H’mong and Kinh, with the majority are Tay and Nung.
In Bac Kan ChildFund has been working in 20 communes in Bach Thong, Na Ri and Ngan Son district.
Main population is dependent on agriculture for their income. Communities live in remote and mountainous areas which make it difficult to access water or expand their agricultural activities. Between harvest times, many do not have enough to eat.
Health services are generally very poorly equipped and difficult to access. By 2010, up to 30% of the children under-five are malnourished, preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea, respiratory and parasite infections are common. People collect water from shallow wells or streams, which are often polluted. Many households do not have latrines. A high percentage of pre-schools and primary schools have no water or sanitation facilities at all.
Schools and satellite schools are often 3-4km away from home. Due to the hilly conditions, many children must walk long distances across wide streams and mountains to reach their school. Classrooms are usually small and in poor condition. While basic education is free, parents find it hard to pay for the associated expenses of sending their children to school.
Some of the challenges that children and people in Bac Kan are facing include:
- Lack of understanding about child safety
- Ineffectiveness of child protection system due to lack of human resources and low competency
- Low capacity to carry out public healthcare services to mothers and children under five
- Inadequate access to sanitation facilities and practice
Projects that ChildFund is supporting in the area:
- ChildFund Swipe Safe
- Women Economic Empowerment
- Improving Child Protection Effectiveness
- WASH for All
- Taking care of Mother and Child
- Quality Education for Ethnic Minority Children