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ChildFund and Microsoft are teaming up to develop applications that will protect vulnerable children from online threats in Vietnam.

Microsoft Vietnam has agreed to a VND 5.4 billion (AU$314,774) sponsorship to help ChildFund Vietnam and the Department of Child Affairs develop an application that will make it easy to report and track cases of child abuse in remote villages.

The sponsorship will also include the development of applications that can teach children and their parents about being safe online, which will form part of ChildFund’s Swipe Safe project.

Swipe Safe is targeting 12,000 teenagers in 30 Vietnamese high schools, as well as their parents and teachers, to help them make the most of the online world.

ChildFund also partners with local businesses, encouraging internet cafes and online gaming shops to sign on to child safety codes of conduct.

ChildFund Vietnam Country Director Nguyen Thi Bich Lien said the rapid rise of internet use in Vietnam meant digital safety had a growing role in ChildFund’s work.

“One of ChildFund’s priorities in the coming years is to support Government and grassroots level authorities in building and strengthening an effective child protection service system,” she said.

“We believe that with the support from Microsoft, ChildFund Vietnam will be able to implement data management and awareness-raising through education applications which are highly practical and successfully applied in the context of Vietnam.”

As well as educating children and their parents, the partnership will also allow ChildFund to develop a web-based reporting system for cases of abuse.

Microsoft Vietnam General Director Pham The Truong said the project would highlight how the internet can be used to make communities safer and better connected.

“We are living in a fast moving, connected world, filled with new complex issues every day,” he said.

“This project is one of the initiatives Microsoft is working with NGOs to solve social challenges, improve the human condition and drive new growth equally with technology.

“We believe in good outcomes from this project so our children can live in a healthier environment.”

Vietnam has one of the highest rates of internet use in Asia. Around 67% of the population – 64 million people – are online, and internet use is common even in remote villages with limited infrastructure.

Under the arrangement, Microsoft will provide funding and recommend a developer, while ChildFund and the Department of Child Affairs will use their child protection expertise to ensure the applications meet the needs of the community.

The projects will be implemented in two communities where ChildFund works over the next 24-months and rolled out nationwide.

 

ChildFund Vietnam has been helping schools transform their playgrounds, gardens and classrooms using recyclable materials.

In Bac Kan province, in northern Vietnam, 10 new school playgrounds have been built and decorated using old plastics and tyres, providing more than 1000 children with safe and inspiring places to learn and play.

At Quang Phong school, for example, old tyres have been used to make fences, animal figures and play equipment such as seesaws and rocking horses, and old plastic bottles and cans have been used to decorate the school’s gardens.

Parents and teachers have contributed hundreds of hours to building the play equipment and laying out concrete for the school’s new playground. Children at Quang Phong now no longer have to play in the mud and can enjoy a vibrant and fun place to socialise between classes!

Preschools supported by ChildFund in Hoa Binh and Bac Kan provinces have also been busy recycling, turning plastic bottles, cups and CDs into colourful toys and decorations for their classrooms.

Below are some of our favourite photos of the schools’ recycling efforts.