Safety and health training for Vietnamese farmers to go nationwide

The ILO organized WIND (Work Improvement in Neighbourhood Development) programme which aims to improve the occupational safety and health of Vietnam’s farmers expands to go nationwide.

Press release | 02 June 2005

A programme to improve the occupational safety and health ofVietnam’s farmers takes an important new step next week, when it expands to go nationwide.

The WIND (Work Improvement in Neighbourhood Development) programme is organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO) working withVietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), and is funded by the Japanese Government.

The scheme has been piloting in four provinces (HaNam, Nghe An, Can Tho and Hau Giang) since 2004. In the initial phase local officials were trained by international ILO experts in sound, low-cost, practical, occupational safety and health practices.

In this second, key, phase of the programme, these core WIND trainers will learn how to pass their knowledge and skills on to farmers to create a nationwide network of ‘Farmer Volunteers’.

“This phase is very crucial,” said Tsuyoshi Kawakami, ILO Specialist on Occupational Safety and Health, who is leading the programme. “Farmers are not trained educators or specialists. But if this important information on safety and health is to reach the people who need it most, we need to get their help. The Farmer Volunteers will know how to pass on their knowledge to their neighbours in ways that will be most effective and bring most benefit. ”

“Training farmers to become WIND trainers themselves was a strategic decision. It will empower them, and ensure that the information and skills are in the hands of those who most need it. It’s the most effective way of ensuring WIND reaches the greatest number of people,” said Rose Marie Greve, Director of ILO Vietnam.

The six day training workshop will take place from 8-15th June, inVinhCity, Nghe An province. About 30 core trainers will take part, including government officials, representatives of the farmers’ and women’s unions, and provincial departments of labour and agriculture. The course graduates are expected to organise their first workshops for Farmer Volunteers in August or September.

The WIND (Work Improvement in Neighbourhood Development) programme, was first implemented in Cantho province,Vietnamand is a tried-and-tested grass-roots programme that relies on local self-help initiatives and examples of good health and safety practices to get its messages across. Since its introduction even the poorest farmers have been able to produce real improvements in their living and working conditions, using only simple, low-cost methods.

About 67 per cent of Vietnam ’s working population is involved in agriculture and agricultural production. Modernizing the sector and increasing productivity is vital for reducing poverty and strengthening the country’s social and economic development.

Vietnamese farmers face many safety and health risks. Some are age-old: heat stress, long and irregular working hours, backbreaking work postures and the strain of handling of heavy items. Modern agricultural technology has also brought new dangers: agro-chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides, electricity and farm machinery all pose potentially life-threatening hazards when not used correctly.

For more information please contact:

Dr Tsuyoshi Kawakami,
OSHSpecialist
Mobile: +66 (0) 9 939 6891
kawakami@ilo.org

Mr. Nguyen Van Theu,
National Project Coordinator,
ILOVietnam
Mob: + 84 (0) 91 261 0875
theu@ilohn.org.vn

Ms. Tran Thi Van Thu,
Head, Information Division,
Department of Occupational Safety,
Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.
Tel: 9362955