The Den Dom Dom (Firefly Lantern) Study Encouragement Programme helps FrieslandCampina achieve its commitment to “being part of Vietnam” by creating and fostering educational opportunities for underprivileged children in remote areas.
Education is recognised by the United Nations as vital for equitable and sustainable development and features prominently as a mechanism to achieve Millennium Development Goals. It is critical in ensuring people’s participation in developing a sustainable future through their full inclusion in society.
Remote areas in Vietnam remain economically disadvantaged and have a legacy of poverty and isolation that is exacerbated by unsatisfactory literacy rates in tandem with high drop-out rates in schools due to poor financial, social and educational conditions.
After FrieslandCampina’s 1995 entry into the Vietnamese market, education was put at the heart of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme of FrieslandCampina Vietnam (FCV). The Den Dom Dom (Firefly Lantern) Study Encouragement Programme (DDD) was established in 2002 to develop local communities by encouraging and supporting education amongst Vietnam’s disadvantaged.
Objectives and Delivery
The DDD programme has targeted remote and disadvantaged communities in Hue, Ca Mau, Binh Phuoc, Ha Nam, Quang Ngai, Kon Tum, Quang Binh, Lai Chau, Gia Lai and Quang Ngai provinces. It has included the construction of new schools with standardised facilities as well as the renovation of other school facilities across the country, which benefits the underprivileged and supports children’s rights. DDD also reduces the gap between urban and rural locations in terms of the educational opportunities offered. Under the programme, more than 20,000 scholarships have been awarded to students, allowing them to continue their education without a negative financial impact on their families.
Since its inception, the DDD programme has successfully engaged three main stakeholders – the government, media and civil society – to support its sustainability and engagement through its communication and knowledge-sharing platforms.. These community engagement and communication strategies have delivered heightened public awareness and involvement by philanthropists keen to support Vietnam’s development.
From the project’s inception, a dedicated phone line has facilitated private donations. This has now progressed to include an automated SMS portal and website, which also facilitates communication between FCV’s corporate team and all stakeholders.
FCV, has successfully developed the programme into a national CSR movement by sharing its successes with a wide audience through a sustained social drive.
Prominent media partners, including National Vietnam Television (VTV); Thanh Nien newspaper and the Khan Quang Do (Red Scarf) children’s magazine, have supported this strong community engagement. These partners have provided a platform to promote worthy stories and ideas originating from the programme, which has encouraged further positive media coverage of the DDD, including a reality show.
Up till September 2014, the DDD programme had built 12 completely new schools; many new classrooms in 5 schools in various provinces and provided 20,000 scholarships to students in total investment worth over $1.4 million.
This has developed nationwide social inclusion that has mobilised substantial private donations in support of education in localities outside the programme’s area of operations. In 2010, over 40,000 people joined DDD, voting for 600 nominated schools in need of facilities and scholarships and donating over 800 million dong (around $38,000) to the DDD private fund. This supported the construction of 15 school facilities and repairs in 2011-12 alone.
The programme has received national and international plaudits. In recognition of the programme’s contribution to Vietnam, FCV received the Prime Minister’s Certificate of Merit for helping disadvantaged children in 2013. In 2011 FCV was awarded the Labour Medal II by the Vietnamese government for its contribution to creating shared values in Vietnamese society and the economy.
The programme has also been recognised by the Ministry of Education and Training. In 2013 FCV was the first dairy production company in Vietnam to receive an Asia Responsible Business Award from the Asia Business Association, which recognised the company’s significant achievements through its projects and community support activities.
Former Minister of Education Proferssor Pham Minh Hac said: “The education programme Den Dom Dom not only contributes significantly to ensure the rights of every child but also helps find potential talent.”
This case study was written by SharingValueAsia in consultation with FrieslandCampina. It will appear in special report entitled “Partnership in Action” produced in association with Hewlett-Packard in August 2014
Details of principal stakeholder
FrieslandCampina VietNam (FCV) has operated in Vietnam since 1994 and has had a market presence since 1924 through its Dutch Lady brand. FCV has two modern dairy production facilities in in Binh Duong and Ha Nam provinces that produce dairy products under the Dutch Lady, Friso, Yomost and Fristi brands. The company is a subsidiary of Dutch firm Royal FrieslandCampina, one of the world’s five largest diary companies. Besides Den Dom Dom program, the Company has made meaningful contributions to agriculture in Vietnam with its dairy development program. A network of 4,000 farmers supplying 60,000 tons of raw milk annually accounting for 25% national output has been developed since 1996.