January 2018: CowaterSogema Launches New Women’s Economic Empowerment Project in Vietnam

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CowaterSogema Launches New Women’s Economic Empowerment Project in Vietnam

Funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), CowaterSogema has launched a large socioeconomic development initiative in Vietnam. The Gender-Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Program is Australia’s Bilateral Aid Investment Plan’s flagship initiative that seeks to improve the social and economic status of women living in north-west Vietnam by ensuring their meaningful and productive engagement in the agricultural and tourism sectors.

As Canada’s leading management consulting firm, globally recognized for its leadership in gender equality and women’s empowerment programming, CowaterSogema will provide world class technical and management expertise to ensure the successful delivery of this $33M, five year Program. CowaterSogema’s leadership of this program will be defined by a strong focus on locally-driven approaches, a deep understanding of the operating environment, and highly adaptable systems that can achieve scale, impact and sustainability.

Background / Context

Women, especially those living in the rural and high-poverty ethnic minority regions in Vietnam face barriers accessing vital economic opportunities. They are continually overrepresented among those engaging in low-skill and precarious work; lack of access to land, credit, and training; and are deprived of decision-making power within the home and in their broader communities. Ethnic minority households are among the country’s poorest and women and girls from these groups are disproportionately affected by poor health, educational, economic outcomes.


The economic empowerment of women and those most underserved is crucial to reducing poverty and achieving sustainable economic growth. The GREAT Program recognizes and builds on the indispensable activities that women from rural communities in North-West Vietnam currently undertake within the agricultural and tourism value chains. The Program will complement the efforts of the Government of Vietnam to better empower women and close gender gaps in economic livelihoods by:

  • Increasing the capacity, space and choices available to women to beneficially engage with agriculture and tourism businesses;
  • Supporting private sector actors within the agriculture and tourism sectors to trade profitably and sustainably with more women entrepreneurs; and
  • Working collaboratively with government agencies to strengthen sector governance and policies that foster more inclusive socioeconomic development

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