Project promotes ethnic minorities women’ empowerment

VietNamNet Bridge – Over 1,720 remote ethnic minority women were supported with finance for income-generating activities through the establishment of women’s Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA).

Reducing poverty, ethnic minority women, remote ethnic communities, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam

Women in Na Hi Village, Hua Thanh Commune, Dien Bien District gather for their periodic Village Savings and Loan Association’s meeting. – Photo: VNS

This is a part of the results of the CARE International in Viet Nam’s Ethnic Minority Women’s Empowerment project (EMWE), which is being implemented in the northern mountainous provinces of Bac Kan and Dien Bien.

The project, running from July 2013 to June next year, is now supported with A$1.7 million by Australian Aid.

Under the project, 426 remote ethnic minority women were trained to identify and implement new climate resilient livelihood options.

The project also introduced authorities to CARE’s model of dialogue between ethnic minority communities and people’s councils, building their willingness to listen to ethnic minority women’s concerns.

Le Xuan Hieu, the project manager, said that women in remote ethnic communities in Viet Nam, including in Bac Kan and Dien Bien, were not benefiting equally from the remarkable economic growth.

They experienced high levels of poverty, unequal participation in economic opportunities, have limited options to adapt to changes in the climate, and had a limited voice in decisions that affect them, he said.

CARE International in Viet Nam started forming VSLAs to give a hand in reducing poverty in the provinces.

Ly Thi Minh, 30, a member of a VSLA in Na Hi Village, Hua Thanh Commune, Dien Bien District, said she joined the group when it was founded four years ago, and since then she was happy with it as she and other women saved together and took small loans from those savings.

“Earlier when I needed some money, I had to go to the bank and complete complicated procedures. Moreover, the bank loans with interest are for big amounts of money, so if I need a few million dong, I didn’t know where to borrow it,” said Minh.

Her livestock and poultry used to lack food as she could not manage to find funds to buy feed.

Now with the VSLA model, not only Minh, but other women in the village can easily borrow small amounts of money from each other.

“We will not be worried when we have to buy medicines for a sick child, when we have to pay for monthly school fees or when we run out of capital for our trading,” said Minh.

But others expressed their worries about some limits of the model.

Lo Mai Kiem, chairwoman of the Son La Province Women’s Association, said that in her province, households lived far from each other, so it was difficult for them to arrange their household work to meet each other twice a month.

Moreover, the model did not have a supervision mechanism to limit risks.

Ho Thi Quy, head of the Women’s Economic Growth Boosting Division under the Viet Nam Women’s Union, said that different provinces should apply the model creatively to make it be suitable to the areas’ conditions.

Provinces should also apply the model step-by-step, run the model as a pilot programme first and then expand it the pilot model operated effectively, she said.

    
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Source: VNS

Reducing poverty, ethnic minority women, remote ethnic communities, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
 
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