Co-creating Healthy Cities for Adolescents and Youth in Vietnam

Project Overview

Da Nang
Lead Partner
United Nations for Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Project Start
Project End

Consortium Partners

Da Nang City Authority
University of Da Nang - VNUK Institute for Research and Executive Education

Local context

As Vietnam’s third largest city, Da Nang aspires to be a smart and child-friendly urban hub in the coming years. This will require addressing some of the major issues experienced by children and adolescents in Da Nang, such as:

  • lack of quality health and nutrition services in schools;
  • water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools and communities;
  • education (safe learning environment);
  • social-emotional skills, mental health and psychosocial support;
  • lack of adequate services to protect children from abuse, violence and exploitation;
  • limited child participation; and
  • increased environmental pollution.

About the project

‘Co-creating Healthy Cities for Adolescents and Youth in Vietnam’ was launched in October 2020, with a grant under Phase I (2018−2022) of HCA. The project aimed to transform Da Nang into a vibrant, healthy and adolescent-friendly city that ensured the wellbeing and participation of adolescents in its development.

The project’s key interventions were:

  • generating evidence and advocating on adolescent vulnerabilities and deprivation to inform planning, budgeting, and programme design;
  • ensuring equitable access to quality essential services, including health and nutrition, WASH, education, protection from violence and social protection;
  • empowering and promoting the meaningful participation of adolescents through innovative and digital platforms;
  • generating knowledge and sharing good practices to promote sustainability and scale.

UNICEF used its experience of working with local authorities, private sector partners, NGOs and local schools to make real changes to the city’s systems. The aim was also to empower young people by helping them make their voices heard throughout the project lifecycle.

The project gathered adolescents’ perspectives through an e-survey, individual consultations, and a mobile app, allowing young people to play an important role in designing solutions and putting their needs first. All platforms, materials and means of communication were diverse, accessible and creative to ensure inclusive participation of adolescents from different and vulnerable backgrounds.

Read about Phase I of the project

Project ambitions for Phase II (2022−2026)

The project’s success in Phase I led to expanded funding under Phase II. In the second phase, the project continues to use a holistic approach to adolescent health and wellbeing.

Through its consortium, it puts increased focus on ensuring that all adolescents have access to quality essential services. Additionally, the project advocates for local investment in children’s needs, and empowers adolescents to engage and shape city development using innovative digital platforms.

Building on feedback and learning from the first phase, the project in Phase II is now partnering with technology start-ups to digitalise interventions. It places emphasis on including diverse groups of adolescents through a mix of digital and in-person programmes. Thanks to VNUK Institute’s expertise in digital implementation, the project ensures that all adolescents with vulnerable backgrounds, including migrants and those with disabilities, are equally and meaningfully involved.

Project consortium and partnerships

Phase II of the project continues to be led by UNICEF, in collaboration with Da Nang City Authority and the VNUK Institute for Research and Executive Education. Adolescents and youth representatives are also part of the project’s steering committee, which meets at least once a year to take decisions on the strategic direction of the project.

While not part of the consortium governance, the project continues to engage with private-sector partners, non-governmental organisations, social enterprises and local academia specialising in innovation and technology. Together they build adolescent skills, advance project objectives and promote longer-term impact and sustainability.