|Tea growers in Sơn La province’s Vân Hồ district. A new programme was launched on Tuesday in the northwestern province of Sơn La aimed at empowering women, creating jobs and improving incomes for local women. – Photo courtesy of Aus4Equality/GREAT program.|
SƠN LA — A new programme aimed at empowering women, creating jobs and improving incomes for local women was launched on Tuesday in the northwestern province of Sơn La.
The A$33.7 million (US$25 million) programme will be implemented in Sơn La and Lào Cai provinces from 2017 to 2021 with funding from the Australian government.
The programme, entitled Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) will focus on empowering local women to engage in agriculture and tourism markets and enhance women’s voices in economic decision-making.
It will partner with a wide range of actors, including the private and non-government sectors in agriculture and tourism to improve the policy environment and stimulate inclusive and equitable growth in the mountainous north-west region of Việt Nam.
It is expected that the programme will support some 40,000 self-employed women to boost their incomes and contribute to the creation of 4,000 jobs for women to drive economic growth in the province.
“Gender equality is a priority for both Australia and Việt Nam and a critical part of the Australian Government’s development cooperation in Việt Nam,” said Justin Baguley, Counsellor, Economic and Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Việt Nam.
According to Nguyễn Thị Hoa, vice chairwoman of Mộc Châu, one of the two districts in which the project will be implemented, women in the region suffer many disadvantages. They have little power in household decision-making as well as in the community. They have long working hours and not many opportunities to access education, she said.
Hoa said she believed the implementation of the programme would give local women more confidence and better awareness about their rights. By accessing economic opportunities, their decision-making power at home would be improved, she added.
Lò Minh Hùng, vice chairman of Sơn La Province People’s Committee, told Việt Nam News that the programme will help contribute to improving socio-economic development in Vân Hồ and Mộc Châu districts, and in Sơn La province as a whole.
“The initiative will improve gender equality through enhancing local women’s capacity and their access to economic opportunities,” he said, adding that the local authorities have supported the programme by setting up the project management board and assigning tasks to relevant agencies.
The provincial People’s Committee would continue implementing policies facilitating women in developing their household economy and improving their status within their families and society, he said.
A call for proposals was also announced at the event, with a closing date in mid-August. The call will be available to partners from both private and public sectors and aims to develop and implement innovative solutions to persistent poverty and economic marginalisation among women in ethnic minority communities in the two provinces.
Successful applicants will receive financial and technical support from the programme and in exchange will help to enhance linkages with new markets and suppliers, improve the policy environment and contribute to sustainable social development in the north-west of Việt Nam. — VNS