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Photo: (from left) Jesper Moller (Deputy Representative, UNICEF Vietnam), Pawel Gorski (Head of Impact Partnerships, iCare Benefits), Marianne Oehlers (Chief Programme Partnerships, UNICEF Vietnam), Trung Dung (CEO & Founder, iCare Benefits), Youssouf Abdel-Jelil (Representative, UNICEF Vietnam)

Together For Every Child: UNICEF and iCare Benefits cooperation in 2017-2019

Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam), 18 April, 2017 - UNICEF and iCare Benefits have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate to improve the wellbeing of children in Viet Nam. "In the last 20 years, millions of Vietnamese people have moved from rural areas to industrial zones to become factory workers, searching for a better income and a higher quality of life. We think that this trend will continue for another 20 years. Building a new life in the industrial areas brings many challenges. Therefore, local and international companies and non-profit organizations should collaborate to support the migrant workers." - says Trung Dung, iCare Benefits CEO & Founder. "We are honored to work with UNICEF and together create better opportunities for children, their working mothers, and entire families."  - Mr. Trung added.

Some 80% of workers (mostly migrants) in footwear and garment manufacturing industries are young women and 60% of them have children while many others are going to become mothers in the near future. Research indicates that very few women have correct knowledge about breastfeeding and handwashing. When asked, few factory female workers know that exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of a child’s life dramatically decreases the risk of stunting and other diseases. There is a persistent false belief that breastfeeding alone will not provide small children with enough food to grow healthy or that the stress of returning to work will decrease the milk production. As a result, working mothers spend more than half of their salaries on formula milk and struggle to make ends meet in their daily lives.

iCare Benefits and UNICEF will work together in the next two years to raise awareness about advantages of exclusive breastfeeding and handwashing with soap. iCare Benefits will also support UNICEF in implementing the Children’s Rights in the Workplace Programme for Apparel & Footwear industry. The programme aims to support factories in creating solutions for challenges such as: health and nutrition of working mothers, access to basic services, living conditions, left-behind children, and others.

"The iCare Benefits programme in Viet Nam brings a network of 1,000 factories with nearly 2 million workers which joined the iCare Benefits Program and this partnership is a great opportunity for UNICEF to make a significant and lasting impact on millions of factory workers’ children. We’re looking forward to develop a strong case in Viet Nam which can lead to cooperation in other regions." - shared Marianne Oehlers, the Chief of Programme Partnerships, UNICEF Vietnam.