The international initiative Alive & Thrive (A&T) handed over its “Little Sun” childcare trademark to Vietnam’s National Institute of Nutrition on September 17.

Vietnam’s nutritional institute now has control of the Little Sun branding and marketing tools, including its website, online forum, Facebook page and mobile application, which are used by millions of Vietnamese.

The centre is now also in charge of managing the trademark’s counselling-room service in the run up to A&T ending its project activities in Vietnam in late November.

Vietnam was the first country to offer the Little Sun social franchise’s model of providing high-quality counselling services and advice on child-rearing in a bid to prevent malnutrition, a representative of A&T said.

Le Danh Tuyen, Director of the institute, said the guiding documents required to maintain and expand A&T’s parenting model were almost completed.

Across 15 Vietnamese provinces, A&T established a network of 781 counselling rooms, which is expected to grow to 1,031 rooms by November 2014. Estimates reckon that more than 100,000 people benefit from the service each month.

A&T has been running the initiative since 2009 in a bid to improve infant and child nutrition through the promotion of breastfeeding and the enhancement of complementary feeding practices in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Vietnam.-VNA