A Danish project in Vietnam on sexual rights and knowledge has just been evaluated and as a result of the Danish Family Planning Organization’s (DFPO, known in Danish as Sex & Samfund) good work, the project will continue until 2011.
Danida funding the sex campaign
The project was funded through Danida and had a budget for the first three years of 3.7 million Danish kroner. The outreach was four mainly rural areas of Nam Dinh, Bac Giang, Phu Yen and Ho Chi Minh City, but the evaluation of the project recommends that the project is taken even further in order to reach more people in need for sexual and reproductive information. On February 6th 2007, Danida decided to fund the second phase of the project with 9.1 million kroner. The goal of the project that started in 2003 is to enhance sexual knowledge and awareness among young Vietnamese and their parents.
During the first phase of the project, which ended in September 2006, Sex & Samfund and its cooperation partner, Gender, Family and Environment in Development (CGFED), established family centers of knowledge and communication. At these centers, books on sexual communication and parental guiding were distributed.
The Vietnamese society has a more traditional view on sexual freedom than the Danes who are doing the project. According the Sex & Samfund’s webpage it is only natural for a husband to demand that his wife continues to have children until she has a son. “That is a violation of a woman’s right to decide for her own body”, the organization says.
Babies don’t come out of the armpits
Apparently, a lot of information and guidance is needed in the areas of the project. A 17 year old Vietnamese girl, who participated, tells the organization that before she joined the family center, she had no idea where babies came from. “Before I started going to the meetings, I thought that boys and girls could have babies without having sex”, she says. “Actually, I was told that babies came out through the armpits”, she says.
A mother who has also benefited from the project did not get any information from her mother about bodily changes. “My mother got angry and said that I should not ask about these things, but today I offer my daughters a decent explanation”, she says.
The much needed information is not only directed at the young people, but also their family and the surrounding society. The project also urges family and society to recognize the young people’s right to sexual and reproductive health. The project also tries to reach out to the media and through that spread the message of sexual self determination and health.