July 2018: Australian Government to help Northwestern Women improve their lives through tourism and agriculture

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Son La, 24th July 2018 – The Australian Government officially kicked off its Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Program in Northwestern Vietnam in a bid to empower, create jobs and improve incomes for local women.

The AUD 33.7 million (approximately VND 600 billion) program, implemented from 2017 to 2021 will empower local women to engage in agriculture and tourism markets, enhance women’s voices in economic decision-making. The program will partner with a diverse 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 the mountainous north-west region of Vietnam. It is expected the Program will assist some 40,000 self-employed women to boost their incomes and create approximately 4,000 jobs for women to drive economic growth in the provinces.

Mr. Justin Baguley, Counsellor, Economic and Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, remarked: “Gender equality is a priority for both Australia and Vietnam and a critical part of the Australian Government’s development cooperation in Vietnam. The GREAT program aims to stimulate innovative solutions to enhance the lives of women, their families and local communities in north-west Vietnam and will also contribute to higher productivity and economic growth in the region. We look forward to working closely with the provinces of Lao Cai and Son La to make the program a success”.

A forthcoming 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 market-oriented 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 Program, and in exchange will help to enhance linkages with new markets and suppliers; improve the policy environment; and contribute to sustainable social development in north-west Vietnam.

About the AUS4Equality|GREAT program

The mountainous north-west region of Vietnam is home to a diverse ethnic minority population and has some of the highest levels of poverty and inequality in the country. Women in these areas are particularly disadvantaged, experiencing challenges such as isolation, lower levels of education and lack of decision-making power in their households and community, which prevent them from accessing economic opportunities.

To help address these challenges, the Australian Government is supporting the Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Program as part of the Aus4Equality initiative. The Program was designed to give local women in these provinces the opportunities to engage more meaningfully and profitably in agriculture and tourism value chains, and to be involved in economic decision-making and leadership. By promoting inclusive market systems development, in partnership with the private sector, the Program will help increase the productivity of agriculture and tourism sectors in these provinces, contributing to inclusive economic growth and improved gender equality. In agriculture, the Program will focus on selected value chains, including spices, vegetables, tea, medicinal herbs, rice, among others. In tourism, the Program’s focus will be placed on community-based tourism, employment generation, enhancement of traditional handicrafts and agritourism.

The Australian Government is investing AUD 33.7 million (equivalent to approximately VND 600 billion) in this initiative, focusing on Sơn La and Lào Cai provinces in the North-west of Vietnam. The governing bodies of the Program are the Provincial People’s Committees of Son La and Lao Cai. It will be implemented during 2017-2021, managed by CowaterSogema Inc. Int. on behalf of the Australian Government.

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