Empowering Women through Micro Finance

IMG_1332In recent years, local banks and government agencies in Vietnam have initiated several micro finance models that provide poor people with low interest rate loans to start their own income generating businesses. These models have been proven to be effective in reducing poverty. However, the coverage of these programs is still very limited and only few households have access to these funds, especially in mountainous and remote areas.

It is poor women in particular who lack awareness of the importance of developing assets and resources of their own. They also lack the skills required to utilise these resources. Compounding this problem is their lack of access to capital.

Inclusion of women in family income generation activities is a major goal of this project. Not only will the project improve the economic well-being and quality of life for these poor women, it will raise their status, value and recognition in the society.

Objectives

  • To empower poor women in rural and remote communities by increasing their skills, knowledge and access to resources
  • To reduce poverty in these communities through systematic asset building activities
  • To strengthen the capacity of poor women, especially those who are marginalised and vulnerable in relation to issues of family violence and human trafficking.

The project aims to help communities where people have no, or limited access to capital for economic development, i.e. where there are not yet any friendly, accessible micro-lending projects.

Activities

Adopting the Grameen Bank Model, the project is currently serving over 1,400 women in two districts Tam Duong and Lap Thanh of Vinh Phuc Province. Both the districts are in mountainous areas with poor infrastructure.   The long-term plan of the project is to expand to serve about 3,000 women members in more communities in the next 5 years. The critical point in the micro finance scheme is that the more people you serve, the more effective and sustainable it is.

Ongoing initiatives include:

  • Establishment of credit-saving groups amongst groups of women, with membership being determined through the identification of poor women households
  • Provision of loans in conjunction with training in financial management, small business management, live -stock management and agriculture production
  • Engagement of women in a range of awareness raising and community education activities on reproductive and maternal health, hygiene and rural sanitation, HIV/AIDS prevention, children’s education and nutrition, gender equity and human rights.