Workshop reviews project on increasing women's social and economic empowerment

The project contributed to promote more equitable gender relations at the household level, more effective producer groups resulting in increased income for members at the community level and an improved enabling environment focusing on current government policies and socio-economic development plans.

At the workshop. Source: SNV

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Lao Cai Province, the Women's Union of Lao Cai Province recently co-ordinated with Oxfam Vietnam and the Netherlands Development Organisation SNV to organize a closing workshop to summarize the project “Women’s Economic Empowerment through Agricultural Value Chain Enhancement” (WEAVE) (2016-2020) funded by the Australian Government.

There were over 150 delegates attending the workshop, from the central level, leaders of numerous provincial departments, branches and unions; representatives of SNV, Oxfam, GREAT organizations in Vietnam; leaders of Bac Ha and Bao Thang districts; some companies, enterprises, cooperatives and representatives of the farmer groups participated in the project of Bac Ha and Bao Thang district participated in the project.

Although Vietnam has enjoyed significant economic growth in recent decades, social and economic inequality persists particularly for ethnic minority women living in some of the poorest provinces in the Northwestern region of Vietnam. Ethnic minority women face multiple barriers to social and economic development that prevents them from benefitting from the economic changes in Vietnam as it moves towards a market based economy.

From 2016 to 2020, the WEAVE project is implemented for the pig and cinnamon value chain in Bac Ha and Bao Thang districts. Throughout nearly five years of implementation, the project has contributed to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women's economic position through three main workgroups: Strengthening women's autonomy, ensuring women participate and have a voice in decisions at home, in production groups and in the community; Supporting women and households to access new knowledge and technology to expand household economic opportunities; Improving the policy supporting the agricultural value chain.

At the workshop, the experiences and lessons learned showed that promoting gender equality is an important factor in improving households' economy and contributing to positive change in the community. By participating in the WEAVE project, the role of women in the decision-making process in the families and the production groups have been empowered; women have more access to and control over services and capital.

Their opinions are compilated through the Gender Action Learning System, Balanced Benefits Dialogue, etc., which are the methods of gender equality mobilization used in the WEAVE project.

Tu Pham