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Nutrition in Viet Nam

Sector: Nutrition

Date Range: 1990-2004

Location(s): Hanoi, Viet Nam

Organization: Save the Children (US)

In 1990 Save the Children (US) had received an unprecedented invitation from the Government of Viet Nam to create a program to enable poor villages to address the pervasive problem of childhood malnutrition. At that time an estimated 60% of children under the age of 5 suffered from moderate or severe malnutrition. The positive experiences in the first four villages led not only to an expansion of the approach to other villages, but also to the expansion of the Positive Deviance Approach to programming around the world. Following the initial success in reducing childhood malnutrition by over 80%, in pilot communes, the project grew to impact the lives of millions of children over the next decade. The Viet Nam case is probably the best known and best documented large-scale application of PD.

Program Description

The first successful large-scale field application of PD was initiated in Viet Nam in early 1991 to address the problem of childhood malnutrition. Over the following decade, the PD approach to nutrition became a national model and today reaches a population of 2.2 million inhabitants in 250 Vietnamese communities. The program has sustainably rehabilitated an estimated 50,000 malnourished children under the age of 5.

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Reports and Studies

Several studies conducted after SC's formal departure from program villages to investigate the sustainability of the approach of sustained positive deviant child care practices and their effects on child growth in Viet Nam were recently published by the

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Project Spotlight


PD Hearth Project in Indonesia


Sector: Nutrition

Location(s): Indonesia

Organization: USAID

From 2003 – 2008, USAID funded five international NGOs, (CARE, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Mercy Corps (MC), Save the Children US (SC), and World Vision International (WVI)), to implement Positive Deviance in Indonesia as part of food security programs. Together, the five NGOs reached 9,997 children across the country. Of this number, 59.6% gained 200g between admission into the program (Day 1) and graduation from the program (Day 10). Of 4,847 participants who were weighed again at the end of the month, 45% had gained the recommended 400g. Results differed slightly (but not significantly) between implementers; however, they differed dramatically between different communities.

For the full report, click here.