Da Nang Women’s Union promotes knowledge and awareness about violence against women and girls

More than 8,000 people in 11 communes and wards of Hai Chau and Hoa Vang districts of Da Nang city have benefited from the behaviour and awareness raising activities with the aim to eliminate violence against women and girls under the community mobilization programme.

More than 500 men actively participate in 16 male advocates clubs and 6 core clubs formed under the community mobilization programme.Photo: UN Women/Thao Hoang

The Project “Community mobilization in prevention and response to violence against women and girls in Da Nang City” was implemented in two phases: 2014-2016 and 2017-2020.

It was implemented by Da Nang Women’s Union, Viet Nam Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam Youth Union, Vietnam Women’s Union, society groups, academic institutions and United Nations agencies.

The project has been expedited with four main groups of activities: sensitize communications and policy advocacy; build capacity for the community in violence prevention; formulate communication materials; and carry out local activities in an attempt to mobilize people, especially men to realize their internal strengths, the root causes of violence against women, to get united and join actions to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

The project also highlighted the importance of gender equality for the sustainable development of all individuals in society and the participation of men and boys to eliminate discrimination against women and girls. 

After seven years of implementation, more than 8,000 people (40% was men) in 11 communes and wards of Hai Chau and Hoa Vang districts have benefited from the behaviour and awareness raising activities with the aim to eliminate violence against women and girls.

Many men  felt ill-equipped to discuss gender issues because gender equality trainings had always targeted women. It is a “woman’s issue,” they said. So “male advocates clubs” were established to mobilize men to stand up for gender equality and prevention of violence. 

So far, rhere were 16 male advocates clubs in Da Nang, with a total of about 550 members from 18 to 65 years old.

During COVID-19 outbreak, the Women’s Union established a 14-member steering committee to try to curb the violence after a surge in coronavirus infections forced the whole city into lockdown from July 27 to August 31.

The Da Nang Women’s Union steering committee mobilized members of 16 male advocates clubs supported by UN Women to tell women about hotline numbers, safe shelters and other support services and to show them how to protect themselves from COVID-19 and domestic violence. They used social media, printed leaflets and loudspeakers brought onto the streets to spread messages that were created with technical and financial support from UN Women.

Many women in Da Nang also lost their jobs or part of their incomes as a result of the lockdown and social distancing policy. UN Women worked with the Women’s Union and the male advocates clubs to identify 100 survivors of violence and gave them a total cash grant of VND 150 million (USD 7,500). Priority was given to the most vulnerable families, such as those with pregnant or elderly women.

Members of Da Nang male advocates clubs (in orange T-shirts) distribute rice, milk and instant noodles to vulnerable families. Photo courtesy of Da Nang Women’s Union

The most apparent result was the fact that the Women's Union of Da Nang City advised the City Party Committee to issue Directive No. 39-CT/TU dated 22 April 2020 on “Building a safe Da Nang City free from violence against women and children”.

This is the city’s commitment and an important legal basis for the Women's Union to continue performing synchronous solutions towards building a safe city - free from violence against women and girls as well as replicating the project to the whole city. The male pioneers’ model of the project has also been scaled up in Ho Chi Minh City and has become a pilot model which has been widely shared at a large number of conferences in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mai Nguyen