Ethnic minority women are gaining more confidence in doing business

Wednesday, June 24, 2020  15:21

SA PA - In Vietnam, 49.8% of more than 13 million ethnic minority people are women who face additional burdens because of their gender. To contribute to improving the role of women in ethnic minority communities, the GREAT (Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism) Program supported by the Australian Government with funding of AUD 33.7 million (equivalent to VND 600 billion) is being implemented in northwest Vietnam to address challenges and constraints. The Program is aimed at empowering local women to actively participate in the agricultural and tourism markets while strengthening women's voice in economic decision making. It has a specific focus on ethnic minority women in Lao Cai and Son La.


In Lao Cai, through 30 partnerships across different sectors, the Program has been creating jobs for the local people, helping women to increase their income and promote the province’s economy. Women now have access to training to acquire new agricultural knowledge and skills and have improved access to new crop varieties and market opportunities. Through the Program, the life and income of local families has improved significantly.


As a Red Dao woman, Mrs Tan Ta May in Ta Phin Commune had a strong determination to build on the traditional knowledge handed down through her family to help other women in hardship in the village. She consequently established the Red Dao Community Cooperative, initially with the participation of seven members. The Cooperative provides herbal bath services and develops products based on traditional remedies and medicinal plants of the Red Dao people. In the beginning, it was not smooth sailing. When registering the business, there was disbelief from the local authorities about a woman’s ability to run a business, especially an ethnic minority woman who only finished primary school. During her appointment with the authorities, she read a whole article from a newspaper to prove her ability. Thankfully, the registration for the Red Dao Community


Cooperative was approved and then established under her guidance. Through the opportunity to cooperate with the GREAT Program, the Red Dao Community Cooperative has actively connected with Hoang Lien National Park to expand its supply area to source traditional herbs in a sustainable manner as well as developing a four-hectare medicinal plant seed production centre.

 "The active participation of all levels of Lao Cai Province in general and Sa Pa Town in particular always creates favourable conditions for community development projects.", said Hoang Thi Vuong, Head of Sa Pa Department of Culture and Information. 

"The local authority has developed appropriate policies and plans to promote social and economic development for ethnic minorities. With the GREAT Program, I appreciate the focus on reducing gender inequality. By participating in cooperatives, local women are able to interact with people from other cultures, have improved social skills and a bigger voice in the family. It is expected that even after the Program ends, Sapa will achieve not only sustainably economical development but also increased awareness of gender equality for both men and women", concluded Hoang Thi Vuong. 


Through the support of the GREAT Program, local cooperatives are well on the road to achieving their social and economic goals including preserving and expanding activities in traditional villages around Sa Pa. This includes the dyeing and weaving of brocade products in Ban Ho Village and promoting other products with ethnic cultural values such as Red Dao herbal bath essence in Ta Phin Commune. GREAT also supports access to markets for local cooperatives to major retailers such as Big C, Vinmart and Aeon Mall forming to link producers to consumers.

Bui Lien