Women sell fruit and vegetables at a street market in Vietnam. Photo: Harjono Djoyobisono

AVI in Vietnam

AVI was one of the first Australian volunteering agencies to send volunteers to Vietnam, beginning with English language teacher assignments in 1985 as part of the volunteer program (now AVID). 

Since 2009, AVI have also managed short-term community development projects for Macquarie University students through the PACE Initiative.

Improved educational outcomes
Through the development of partnerships with educational authorities and institutions, AVI volunteers have made a considerable contribution in improving educational outcomes in Vietnam.  They continue to provide professional development, training opportunities for local teachers, and curriculum development in isolated provinces.

Support sustainable livelihoods
AVI volunteers work with local authorities and communities in rural areas to increase their capacities in agricultural production and economic capability. Through training workshops, volunteers are helping local community members enhance their technical skills in the strategic planning of agricultural and environmental resources. AVI Volunteers are also working with local communities to reduce the impact of climate change, by developing effective and suitable community-based disaster mitigation strategies and finding ways to reduce gas and pollution emissions.

About Vietnam

Located on the Eastern Coast of the Indochinese Peninsula, Vietnam shares borders with China, Laos and Cambodia.  It is home to 54 different ethnic groups and is one of South East Asia’s fastest growing economies, and the world’s 13th largest population and 3rd largest in ASEAN [1]. In recent years Vietnam has joined the rank of middle income countries, resulting in an increased economy matched by improvements in Vietnam’s social indicators. 

Rapid economic development in Vietnam has resulted in the reduction of poverty rate by 75 precent [1]. However, this reduction is unequal among populations, with 50 precent of the ethnic minorities still living below the poverty line [2]. In addition there is a widening gap in rural-urban income, as a majority of the poor population reside in rural areas.

Vietnam has made a significant progress in education. The net enrolment rate in primary school in 2009 was 95.5 precent [3]. The difference between boys and girls in primary school net enrolment rates was as little as one precent [4]. However, the challenge of increasing gaps in access to education between various populations still exists. For example, school completion rates among ethnic minorities and girls remain relatively low and there remain shortages in skilled workers throughout the country.

With Vietnam’s rapid growth has come improved health for its people. The under-five and infant mortality has been halved. Maternal mortality has declined considerably, from 233 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 69 per 100,000 live births in 2009 [5]. However, these rates still remain high in the rural and ethnic communities.

Vietnam has made significant achievements in ensuring environmental sustainability. However, a number of challenges still exist. More than one million people in Vietnam are affected each year by natural disasters [6]. Differences exist in access to clean water between rural and urban areas. Along with this, air and water pollution, caused by rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, represent major problems.



Volunteer profile

Maureen McInroy returned to Hue, Vietnam in May 2012 to start her third Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) assignment in the region.

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Host organisation profile

Founded in 1989, Pham Ngoc Thach University (PNTU) trains doctors, nurses as well as conducts medical research.

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