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Project report

Women's small business enterprises, Vietnam Viet Nam , RUN BY: CARE Australia | STATUS: COMPLETED

This project is 100% Funded



AUD 25,005

Raised from 8,878 people

Project Background

Communities in rural Vietnam rely on their crops to feed their families and to an earn income. Changing weather patterns and traditional farming methods used in these villages means farmers are not as productive as they could be.

Project Details

The Helping Women Access Savings and Loans, Vietnam project, supported 1,125 women from the poorest communities in rural Vietnam to access loans to establish businesses in agriculture. Women also received training to manage their loans and income, and training in farming practices and climate change to help them become more productive.

Five new Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA’s) were established during 2015, with 125 new members. There are now 85 VSLA’s in Dien Bien and Bac Kan provinces, Northern Vietnam.

To help women grow more food, raise more livestock and adapt to climate change, 22 training sessions and village meetings were held, topics included:

  • Fish, cattle and  pig raising
  • Livestock feeding
  • Modern methods of rice cultivation
  • Establishing and managing a village saving and loan association
  • Training of teachers in climate change
  • Identifying local needs and applying new business models 

Project Challenges

The concept of climate change remains difficult for people to understand. Many of the technical terms and how they relate in a local context are difficult to explain and learning materials are not commonly available in minority ethnic languages. The project is addressing this challenge by using role play, games and story-telling to explain the effects of climate change.

Project Outcomes

Since receiving loans and participating in training, women are buying drought resistant seeds and applying modern agricultural and livestock practices. Women say their livestock yields are higher, at rates of up to 75 per cent. Women who grow rice are producing larger and better quality crops. This means women are able to save more money; most are saving up to $20 USD per month. With more food and money available, women can pay for their children’s school fees and provide healthier meals for their families.

Attending VSLA meetings, earning an income and providing for the family has also increased self-confidence in women. This has improved the way women interact with their husbands at work and at home. Many men are observed caring for children while their wives are at VSLA meetings and training sessions. Men are also cooking and cleaning more at home, sharing decisions in family finances and are supportive of their wives to continue and expand their businesses.

At a community level, VSLA models are recognised by local authorities, including local government as a successful model for supporting women in business and agriculture.

Success Story

Ms Lo Thi Duong has been a Village Saving and Loan Association leader since 2014. She lives in Phang village, Dien Bien province, she has two children. 

Duong has attended a number of VSLA training sessions and activities and was recently selected to lead the Rice Cultivation interest group. 

Duong spoke to CARE about her learnings and was excited to share her experiences: 

“I use a lot less seedlings when I plant my rice paddy. Previously, I needed 20kgs of seed per 1,000 square meters, but now I only need 8kgs. I can harvest more rice on the same plot of land, and the quality is much better; the rice kernel is much firmer and tastier than before and I am spending much less time in the field. By spending less on rice seedlings and gaining higher rice yields, I now earn VND 1 million (AUD60) more than I ever have before. I will use this money to invest into my children’s education and buy pigs.”

What Next?

Until June 30, 2017, the project will continue to improve the lives of women from ethnic minority communities and to promote women at community and national levels to be involved in decision-making. The project will focus on building skills and knowledge for women in agricultural production and will continue to collaborate with local and national partners and livestock and veterinary departments to provide technical training and business opportunities.

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How was it this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
***World Nomads UK
World Nomads Australia
World Nomads NZ
CARE Australia

CARE is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. As a non-religious and non-political organisation, CARE works with communities to help overcome poverty by supporting development and providing emergency relief where it is needed most.

Last year, CARE assisted 122 million people across 84 countries through 1,015 poverty-fighting projects.