Australian Embassy


DATE: 18 May 2009
SUBJECTS: Sport; Health; Development cooperation

Australia supports drowning prevention and
life-saving training in the Mekong

Ho Chi Minh City – The Australian Government today announced a grant of AUD15,000 (200 million VND) to support drowning prevention and life-saving training for instructors in the Mekong River Delta. An opening ceremony for the project was held today in An Giang province.

The successful recipient organisation, the Vietnam National Aquatic Sports Association (VNASA), will use the funds to train 110 instructors in swimming and drowning prevention. The instructors will transfer their learnt skills to children 6-18 years old in thirteen of the most flood-prone Mekong provinces: An Giang, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Binh Duong, Can Tho, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Long An, Tay Ninh, Tien Giang and Vinh Long. VNASA will also publish instructor handbooks on basic swimming techniques and drowning prevention for distribution in the Mekong River Delta.

This is the second occasion VNASA has received funding via the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP) funded by the Australian Sports Commission. In 2008, VNASA used Australian funds to provide swimming and life-saving training to more than 170 Mekong children and youth.

Ms Le Hong Diep Chi, VNASA Vice-President, said the 2008 training “was highly valued by local authorities because it supported work by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to universalise swimming and injury prevention for children.”

Ambassador Allaster Cox said that life-saving and drowning prevention training “is essential for children and youths living in the Mekong River Delta, because they are most vulnerable to drowning and natural disasters.

“The project goes beyond simply encouraging sport and active lifestyles, and gives instructors and children the tools to prevent drowning and water-based injuries”.

The Australian Sports Outreach Program supports community participation and physical activity in the Asia-Pacific region. The program is also addresses broader community issues such as health promotion, leadership and social cohesion through sport and physical activity. About AUD270,000 (3,5 billion VND) is available each year for distribution.