Livelihood & Climate Change

First surveying activity of Tropical Fruit project

In mid April 2022, a team comprising MCNV representatives and technical advisors made their first surveying trip to households growing mango, dragon fruits and grape fruits in four provinces of Binh Thuan, Long An, Dong Thap and Ben Tre.

The surveying activity aims to look for key farmers offering their orchards for advanced-technology agricultural trials and demonstration as part of the project “Fruit quality project” by MCNV and the Vietnam Farmers Union (VNFU)

The working task force visits a mango garden of a farmer family in Dong Thap.

The working group comprised representatives from the VNFU, MCNV and three among the project’s partner companies: Bayer Vietnam (crop protection agents producer), Yara (fertilizer producer) and Eurofins (innovative soil and crop analysis).

During the trip, the farmers were briefed on the project’s objectives and the benefits of participating in the project as well as the eligibility criteria to be selected, including the minimum area of field possessed, the willingness and openness to acquiring new technology to improve the product quantity and quality. Besides, the working group also conducted inspection in terms of water resources, farming techniques, the use of insecticides and fertilizer, target export market, etc in surveying fields.

Selected farmers will represent their respective province to offer their field for fertilizer trials, demonstrations of crop protection and irrigation technology.

Soil testing in a pomelo orchard in Ben Tre province

After the survey, 2 farmers’ household were selected including a pomelo plantation in Ben Tre province and a mango plantation in Dong Thap province. The survey will be further continued to search for another two households representing Binh Thuan and Long An provinces.

With total value of 906,665 euro, nearly half of which is funded by the Dutch Goverment via the Netherland Enterprise Agency (RVO), the project aims to improve the quality of the dragon fruit, grape fruits and mango in four provinces: Dong Thap, Long An, Ben Tre and Binh Thuan.

During the last 2 years, COVID-19 has adversely impacted the fruits market in Vietnam.

According to a farmer growing mango in Dong Thap province, there was the time when production costs exceeded the selling price “ripe mangoes were given away to people instead of being sold, they can take as much as they want”, he said.

In Binh Thuan , normally the farmers will break even at  the price of VND 9,000 per kilogram of dragon fruits. However, there were the time when the price plunged to only VND 2,000-3,000 per kilogram. Unsold dragon fruits were disposed or used to feed cattles.

Therefore in the last 2 years, most farmers growing dragon fruits minimized the costs of maintainence of their orchards. They cut down spending on fertilizers, pesticides, labour cost up to 80% to wait for the recovery of the market (VND 12,000-13,000). In this context, the project jointly conducted by MCNV and VNFU is expected to create a reliable and sustainable cooperation between European leading companies and the farmers in Vietnam./.

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Hoi An Roastery visits MCNV in Quang Tri

Visiting an agroforestry coffee farm of an ethnic farmer

On the 2nd of May 2022, a delegation of Hoi An Roastery (HAR) paid a field visit to Quang Tri province of Vietnam with an aim to investigate market expansion and scale up linkages with coffee producers in the Arabica coffee production hub in Huong Phung commune.

Visiting a shop with bamboo products that were made by ethnic groups (under MCNV’s support)

The HAR’s delegates included the owner of HAR Europe BV, Tjarco van Raad (Director of HAR – Europe BV, Caroline de Bruijne (Sales and Marketing Director of HAR Europe BV), Rudy van Bork (Executive Director of HAR in Vietnam) and Davis Dawson IV Ferdinand (Sales Director of HAR in Vietnam).

MCNV is a long-standing partner of HAR and in the past years facilitator of the coffee value chain of HAR, local processor and coffee producers . At a joint meeting with MCNV, HAR’s members were thoroughly updated on the contract farming and visited MCNV’s museum and project sites.

The delegates visited coffee farms, and met up with coffee producers and processor to discuss the sustainable cooperation through the deployment of Stage 2 of the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development bankable project of “Agroforestry coffee production of Hoi An Roastery & Arabica Coffee Smallholders in Quang Tri province, Vietnam”.

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Combining community-based tourism with sustainable forests management in Quang Tri

MCNV recently joined with local authorities in organizing an event to kick start community-based ecotourism in combination with FSC®-certified sustainable forest management in Chenh Venh village, Huong Phung commune, Huong Hoa district. The event brought together representatives of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism, the Forest control department and the Center of Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion of Huong Hoa district and relevant departments.

A pavilion selling local specialties.

The event was a chance for the participants to expose to exotic eco-tourism services directly provided by Chenh Venh village, such as visiting the campsite in Sa Muoi hill, Chenh Venh waterfall and stream, trekking through natural forests managed by the community, Ro Ve village picnic site while learning about the indigenous cultures embodied in local authentic dishes and performing arts.

In order to put the entire ecotourism services into operation, MCNV and the People’s Committee of Huong Hoa district and Huong Phung commune have spent the last six months assisting Chenh Venh village and the Community Forest Board of the village in the preparation process. Key support includes: converting local residential houses into homestay, installing camping infrastructures (tents, bedding ), restoring the stream bank landscape, installing sign boards, building sanitary facilities, providing training on community-based tourism services, culinary skills, etc.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Chair of Huong Hoa district People’s Committee, Mr. Pham Trong Ho highlighted the advantages of Chenh Venh village in developing community- based tourism, thanks to its magnificent natural landscape and distinctive indigenous culture. He also appreciated MCNV’s practical support, which is believed will lay out a solid foundation for the development of ecotourism in combination with sustainable forest management in the long run.

Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dai, Chief of MCNV Office in Quang Tri province gives his speech at the event.

According to Mr. Nguyen Dinh Dai, Chief of MCNV Office in Quang Tri province, Chenh Venh village comprises nearly 100 Bru Van Kieu households who oversee up to 1,000 hectare of forest. The jobs created and income generated from non-timber products, community-based tourism and ecosystem services play a significant role in helping the locals manage and protect the forest more effectively.

A lady of Van Kieu ethnic minority in traditional costumes.

Thanks to PROSPER project by MCNV and the European Union, in 2021, the community forests in Chenh Venh village and Ho village (Huong Son commune) have become Vietnam’s first community forests that received the FSC® certificate issued by the World Council of Forest.

 In the time to come, MCNV will continue to support Chenh Venh village in maintaining and developing community-based tourism. In detail, MCNV will help connect the beneficiaries with sponsors and responsible enterprises who are willing to pay for ecosystem services provided by this community, such as carbon absorption, biodiversity and water conservation./.

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GSRD – MCNV new partnership to benefit over 1,000 poor women and children in Phu Yen

A conference to kick start the project “Boosting income and jobs for poor ethnic women in Dong Xuan district” (BIJPO) was held on March 25th  by MCNV and Dong Xuan District People’s Committee.

Building on the achievements of the previous Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture project, BIJPO will be implemented in a period of 36 months, from April 2022 to April 2025.

A family in Dong Xuan district, Phu Yen province. Photo: MCNV

 BIJPO aims to tackle the new challenges confronting people of ethnic minorities living in remote mountainous areas brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. In particular, BIJPO will focus on boosting the income, improving food security via the improvement of working condition and agricultural production. The project will benefit about 650 women and 500 children of poor and nearly poor households in 15 villages of 6 communes in Dong Xuan district, and therefore, contribute directly to the realization of the National target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in 2021-2030.

As part of the project, 15 new women-led cooperatives will be formally established and receive support in terms of making joint business plan and building joint assets/facilities for its production and business. Operation of the groups will create alternative jobs and income for the poor women in village who are willing to join and commit the common production plans of the groups. Potential business includes debarking machines of acacia wood; producing dry mushroom products; weaving products, etc.

 At the same time, the project will facilitate 30 household agricultural production groups. These informal groups will be set up and endorsed by local commune government. Each household production group will include around 15 poor and nearly poor households. The project will provide group members with agricultural production training courses; coaching; seedlings, breeding for improving current crops or implementing alternative cash and non-cash crops. Female members will work together to improve and diversify their household agricultural production such as rearing fish, frogs, chicken, ducks, crabs and planting acacia plantation, fruit trees (banana, papaya) vegetables, or pumpkin. The improved productions aim to create both cash and also non-cash income for these households.  The agricultural models will be identified and proposed by group members in accordance with local context and household conditions./.

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The seed of prosperity

It’s the beginning of dry season in the North of Huong Hoa district (Quang Tri province). Ho Van Dinh is walking along the stream, heading toward the Ta Bang mountain, under the blazing sun.

Dinh’s family used to live at the foot of Ta Bang mountain, in Nguon Rao Pin village. However, after the historic flood swept through Quang Tri in October 2020, several massive cracks have appeared in this mountain. To protect people from the hazards of landslide, local authorities have swiftly relocated 32 households living nearby, including Dinh’s, to a safer place.

After climbing up a nearly-2-km bumpy slope, Dinh stopped walking. Pointing toward a land plot filled with stones and rocks, he said: “I planted trees there. The total area is 1.6 hectares”.

Dinh and a three-month grown Tung tree.

At the first glance, it seems like nothing can survive on this barren land, except grasses and shrubs. Nonetheless, thanks to the hardwork of Dinh’s family, nowadays, many young tung trees (Vernicia Montana) have started to showcase their vital Eden-green color together with “lat hoa” (Chukrasia tabularis).

“These trees were planted by me, my wife, my three sons and their wives. It took us around 3, 4 days in a row to complete the work. After three months, the survival rate is nearly 100%,” Dinh said happily, while busily filling soil around the root of a young tree.

A young Tung tree on Ta Bang mountain.

Dinh’s household is one of 100 households in four villages of Huong Son and Huong Phung commune supported by the project “Promoting sustainable partnership between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forest management in the context of climate change” (PROSPER project) co-funded by the European Union (EU) and MCNV.

In the year 2021, PROSPER project has partly funded the labour cost for these 100 households to plant tung trees together with other indigenous plants covering a total area of 139.4 hectare. The plantation density is 1,333 trees per hectare, including 1,067 tungs trees and 266 indigenous plants.

In the same year, MCNV has piloted planting tung trees to prevent landslide in several locations in Huong Son, Huong Lap and Huong Viet communes, with a total area of 42 hectares. Earlier, in 2020, two villages in Huong Phung commune receive funding for forest plantation in an area of 120 hectares. So far, the total area of forest plantation in Northern Huong Hoa supported by the PROSPER project has been 300 hectares.

“Planting Tung trees help protect the soil and water. It is easy for Tung trees to grow here, thanks to the suitability with local soils and climates,” said Dinh.

“It also benefits us in terms of income generation. When it comes to the harvesting season, all of us go to collect the seeds. The sale of the seeds helps us earn additional income to afford food for the family,” he shared.

Dinh’s family has been growing tung trees in over 10 years, covering an area of 1,2 hectares. According to Dinh, fresh tung seeds is sold at VND 5,000-6,000 per kilogram, while the price of dried tung seeds is doubled.

Tung trees can help protect water and soil.

Normally, a tung tree starts to mature to bear fruits in their third year and yield commercial quantities at three to four years of age. The oil obtained from Tung seeds is commercially valuable, and is popularly used as the ingredients for the production of wood finishing products, paints and ink.

According to a research by MCNV in 2020, tung tree plantation in Northern Huong Hoa covers a total area of 2,400 hectares (in combination with other indigenous trees), and 300 hectares of Tung trees dispersedly planted in household surroundings, yielding an annual amount of dried seeds of up to 1,500 tonnes, equivalent to VND 15 billion per year.

It is estimated that each hectare of tung trees can produce 3-4 tonnes of dried seeds, worth VND 30-40 million/year, if they are properly taken care of.

Recently, Quang Tri province has included tung tree in the list of key species contributing to the province’s implementation plan of the project “Planting one billion trees in the period of 2021 – 2025” launched by the Government of Vietnam./.

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Toward a sustainable coffee supply chain

November fills the commune of Huong Phung (Quang Tri province) with the hustle and bustle of the prime coffee harvesting season.

“The cherries are ready to be picked! When will the company from Hoi An come to buy them?” Ho Van So, head of Xa Ry Village coffee group says in excitement while looking at the ripe coffee cherries glowing in the autumn sun.
Xa Ry is one of seven coffee groups in Huong Phung commune (Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province) participating in contract farming as suppliers for Hoi An Roastery and a local household coffee processing unit.

The partnership was established with the support from the Medical Committee Netherlands – Vietnam (MCNV) and has been growing robustly over the years, fueling the confidence in a bright prospect of a sustainable coffee supply chain.

Ho Van So harvests coffee cherries.

However, amidst the complication of COVID-19, for nearly two years, this promising model has been struggling with the risk of being shattered. The challenge forces businesses to formulate an adapting strategy and look for new resources for development. In order to facilitate the coffee supply chain access to the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development, MCNV has initiated a project titled: “Agroforestry coffee production of Hoi An Roastery & Arabica Coffee Smallholders in Quang Tri province, Vietnam.”

RA certification training materials

The project aims at promoting contract farming and certified coffee production to enhance the supply chain, contributing to the sustainable development of coffee production in Quang Tri.

A meeting discussing the plan for the 2021 coffee crop.

In 2021, the project marks a significant milestone by participating in the Rainforest Alliance (RA) certification program period 2021-2025 with a vision toward 2030. If the program is fully implemented, it will help increase farmers’ income, enterprises’ profit margins and contribute solution to tackle various social, environmental concerns as well as crop quality and productivity-related issues.

Before the project is implemented, most of the coffee was sold to middlemen. According to Ho Thi Nuong, a female member of Xa Ry coffee farming group, bargaining was impossible as they could not reach out to any other buyer.
The farmers therefore had no choice but scramble to sell their coffee. Limited market access and low level of market penetration has led to uncontrolled harvesting, lowing down the quality of processed coffee beans and threaten to reduce yields of the next harvesting season.

Farmers, at the same time, were trapped in a circle of numerous concerns including unstable coffee price, crop yields, fertilizer purchase and inadequate cultivation techniques. Most of them acquire fertilizer on credit and can only settle the payment once they receive cash from coffee buyers. This leads to complete reliance on middlemens, who play the role of both fertilizer supplier and coffee buyer.

“Thanks to the project, we are now harvesting coffee cherries following the RA standard. The quality is improved and the price is increased. All participating groups are enabled to bargain with the buyers before signing a contract. Payment for coffee sale is made in due time, facilitating farmers to pay for the fertilizer they bought on credit. Things are getting better!”, Nuong says.

Sharing the views of Nuong, Ho Van So adds:
“In 2020, I began to remove old low-yield coffee trees to plant around 2,000 trees per hectare. Quality is more important than quantity. Less trees also means less fertilizer. At the same time, we are growing other kinds of trees such as peppers to generate more income and provide shade for coffee trees.”

In October 2021, a series of workshops was organized by MCNV to give farmers an overview of the RA certification, in particular the criteria that must be met.
“At the beginning, it was so hard to get used to activities like writing farm diary and doing garden monitoring,” says Vo Chanh Thi (Dai Do village).

Fresh coffee cherries delivered to processing unit.

“Nonetheless, step by step, we have found out that this practice is highly beneficial. In addition to improving coffee quality and quantity, this model helps farmers feel confident since it ensures a stable and favorable price. Not only can they sell coffee at a higher price, they also get an extra income in accordance with a so-called “Sustainability Differential’’ policy when participating in the RA certification.

Farmers weigh and make record of coffee cherries harvested.

Seven groups of farmers (over 50 members) have taken part in the contract farming model of 2021, of which nearly 40% are people of ethnic minority. According to the farming contract, coffee cherries are sold to enterprises at significantly higher-than-market price.

Local bank staff support to open individual account for farmers.

MCNV plays a facilitating role in this coffee supply chain by providing support, consultation and monitor to the entire process, including the establishment and capacity development of farmer groups, contract negotiations and signing, coffee supply and processing, bookkeeping, quality control, and development of a monitoring and evaluation system. In addition, MCNV has connected the beneficiaries with a local bank to open individual bank accounts, ensuring the transparency and timeliness of payment.
Based on the current progress, the year 2021 is expected to be a great stepping stone for the journey toward RA certification./.

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Consultation workshop on sustainable forest management plan period 2021-2025

On August 26th 2021, MCNV collaborated with the Quang Tri Association of Smallholder Forest Certification Groups (SFCG Association) to organize a consultation workshop on the sustainable forest management plan of the SFCG Association for the period of 2021-2025 and the preparation for the FSC® audit of the community-managed natural forests in Chenh Venh village (Huong Phung commune) and Ho village (Huong Son commune), Huong Hoa district.

The workshop was conducted within the project “Promoting sustainable partnership between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forest management in the context of climate change” (PROSPER) co- funded by the European Union and MCNV.

Various stakeholders of the project were present the workshop, including delegates from Huong Hoa district Forest Protection Department, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Huong Hoa – Dakrong Protection Forest Management Board, Northern Huong Hoa Nature Reserve Management Board, Forest Science Center for Northern Central Vietnam, Community Forest Management Board of Ho Village and Chenh Venh Village, Chan May Cooperative, etc.

MCNV Chief of Central region office, Mr.Nguyen Dinh Dai speaks at the workshop. Photo: MCNV

2021 is an important year for Quang Tri SFCG Association as the Association will be audited for FSC® certification for the period 2021-2025. To meet with FSC® audit requirements, with the support from MCNV, Quang Tri SFCG Association has actively assisted 37 member sub-associations in the lowland districts in building capacity, strengthening the system of management and monitoring, designing and operating a smartphone application for forest management, and carry out other activities such as acacia plantation, silviculture, low-impact harvesting and establishment of high quality acacia seedling nurseries.

All activities were conducted in compliance with 10 FSC® principles in sustainable forest management. In addition, the Quang Tri SFCG Association has enrolled three more member sub-associations in the mountainous area, including Chenh Venh Community Forest Management Board, Ho Village Community Forest Management Board and Chan May Cooperative.

With the participation of the community forest management boards of Chenh Venh and Ho villages, this will be the first time the community-managed natural forests participate in the FSC® certification for non-timber forest products. Over the past time, MCNV and Quang Tri SFCG Association have recruited external consultants to conduct assessments related to these two community forests, including an assessment of high conservation value forests, survey of rattan & bamboo reserve, and environmental and social impact assessment. The community forest management boards of the two villages were also equipped with basic knowledge in sustainable forest management according to FSC® standards, first aid skills and participate in field visit to a model of sustainable supply of rattan. At the same time, they were provided with protective tools for forest patrols and first aid packages.

Based on the suggestions from delegates participating in the workshop, MCNV and the external consultants will continue helping the Quang Tri SFCG Association complete the preparation steps for the FSC® audit scheduled to take place at the end of September 2021./.

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Turning local resources into sustainable tourism products

Huong Hoa, a mountainous district of Quang Tri province is well-known for a chilling climate and magnificent natural landscapes. Since transport infrastructure is vastly improved, the locality has become a popular getaway destination for visitors in and out of the province.

According to Quang Tri provincial television, the idyllic beauty of waterfalls is a prominent feature that make Huong Hoa stand out. With the alluring view of cascading water, misty fresh air and the refreshing sensation of dipping in a natural plunge basin, a waterfall pleases multiple senses at the same time. Leaving behind the bustling urban life, trekking, swimming or going picnic at a waterfall site amidst the lush green nature seems to be a perfect choice for recreation.

Chenh Venh waterfall. Photo: MCNV

In a remote locality like Huong Hoa, the experience seems even more appealing since most of the waterfalls are left unmanaged, and therefore, no entrance or service fee is charged. Visitors can do whatever they like as long as they wish at a waterfall site. This factor, at the same time, also means the increase of safety risks, due to numerous seen and hidden hazards. Extra strong current and whirlpools, unseen logs and boulders, steep rock cliffs, any of them can easily lead to falling or drowning accidents, especially when people lack of vigilance and survival skills. Furthermore, due to the isolated location, the likelihood of getting immediate medical attention at a waterfall is very low.

In the last four years, at least two drowning deaths were recorded, at Chenh Venh waterfall (Chenh Venh village, Huong Phung commune), with the latest happened in May 2020. In addition to claiming lives, unmanaged tourism also puts the environment at risk, due to littering, improper smoking, irresponsible campfire, etc.

Extra strong current, logs and boulders are some of the threats in a waterfall like Chenh Venh.

In order to unleash the potentials of natural and cultural resources in a sustainable way, the People’s Committee of Huong Hoa district has come up with a comprehensive plan on community-based tourism. Part of the plan is dedicated to turning local waterfalls into established tourism site.

As a long-standing partner of Quang Tri province and Huong Hoa district in particular, MCNV is joining the local authority in this initiative. The first step is turning Chenh Venh waterfall into an established tourism site and is implemented as part of the project “Promoting sustainable partnership between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forest management in the context of climate change” (PROSPER), co- funded by the European Union.

A discussion between MCNV, local authorities and people in Chenh Venh village. Photo: MCNV

Currently, key infrastructure at Chenh Venh waterfall site has been completed, including upgrading staircases, installing information board, protective barriers, hazard signs, dust bins and building bamboo huts for tourists.

Bamboo huts at Chenh Venh waterfall site. Photo: MCNV

At the same time, a group of on-site tourism staff is established, with the majority recruited from the village’s forest protection team and the residents living close to the waterfall. The staff is tasked with collecting entrance fees, providing huts renting services, maintaining safety and sanitation at the site. Along with first aid packages and personal floatation devices, the staff has been equipped with basic first aid skills, thanks to a course joinly conducted by MCNV and local health centers.

A local staff collecting trashes at the site. Photo by MCNV

According to the management board of Chenh Venh waterfall site, during the recent national public holidays (from April 28th to May 1st), the total proceedings collected from entrance fees (VND 10,000/1 person) and hut renting fees (VND 120,000/hut) was VND 4 million – a relatively large amount to a remote mountainous village like Chenh Venh. Half of the proceeding was paid as wage for the staff, while the rest went toward Chenh Venh village’s Forest Protection Fund.

In the time to come, food and beverage stalls will be set up at the site to provide tourists with the fresh taste of local specialties. At the moment, MCNV is working on preparing the staff with requisite skills in tourism services, such as reception, tour guiding, food hygiene and safety, etc.

The initial outcome of Chenh Venh waterfall site transformation signals a promising future of a bigger project titled “Developing Chenh Venh ecotourism village” jointly implemented by MCNV and Huong Hoa district. The project is implemented based on the advantages possessed by Chenh Venh village in terms of climate, natural landscape, agriculture and geographical position.

Palm leaves are collected to build Van Kieu ethnic minority’s traditional house. Photo: MCNV

Located on the Ho Chi Minh trail which connects Quang Tri with the world-heritage Phong Nha-Ke Bang cave, Chenh Venh village is where the authentic cultural identies of Van Kieu-Pa Co ethicity are well preserved, with tradional occupations like bamboo rattan handicraft, brocade weaving, straw liquor making.

With the sponsorship worths VND 650 million (~EUR 25,000) from MCNV, the project is implemented in the second half of 2021. From July to the end of year, MCNV will work together with local authorities, technical consultants and local residents to complete requisite features of a tourism village, including: rebuilding Bru-Van Kieu ethnic stilt-house, setting up specialties pavillion, constructing clean water system, upgrading vegetables, flowers gardens and livestocks shelters; renovating pavements, roads; etc.

A fish pond is being built as part of the eco tourism village complex. Photo: MCNV

In addition to natural landscapes, Huong Hoa district is famous for numerous tourist attractions including Khe Sanh Victory Monument, Ta Con Airport, Sa Mu pass, etc. In 2019, the number of overseas visitors to Huong Hoa district was estimated at 14,000. Currently, due to the complication of COVID-19, the tourism industry in Vietnam and the world is temporarily ‘frozen’. In the future, when the pandemic is well controled, Chenh Venh ecotourism village is expected to contribute to the recovery of tourism in Central region in particular and Vietnam in general./.

Chenh Venh ecotourism village is under construction. Photo by MCNV

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Microfinance – an escape from poverty

Ms. Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo has always been a good mother who has sought to do the best for her family. However, the unstable income from seasonal work meant that she and her husband could never earn enough money to ensure a good life for themselves and their children. There seemed to be no easy path to escape from this poverty trap.

A turning point in her life arrived in 2017 when she joined the Vinh Tan Hamlet Microfinance Group (Vang Quoi Dong commune, Binh Dai district) which is supported by MCNV’s micro-finance project in Ben Tre Province.

A turning point arrived in 2017 when Thao got access to her first loan from the Vinh Tan Hamlet Microfinance Group.

An initial 5,000,000VND loan from this project enabled her to rear pigs to provide a more stable source of income. The initial success of this loan inspired Thao to encourage seven other women to participate in the project. They acquired further small loans to invest in livestock rearing and to build containers to ensure the supply of water during periods of severe drought.

In addition to rearing pigs and cows, this group of women also purchased sewing machines to provide additional income from garment production. This garment processing activity has been vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has enabled the women to work safely from home whilst still earning an income.  

Thao (first, left) and two members in her group.

Thao is the leader of this group, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, she has managed to connect the group with a garment company to ensure they have continued to earn an income. Thao has also helped the group to comply with COVID-19 regulations to protect themselves and their communities.  Thao’s microcredit group have now saved enough money to purchase several new sewing machines.  Her dedication and success, together with MCNV’s support, has enabled the women in her group to earn decent incomes that are resilient to shocks such as COVID-19 and drought. This success has provided a pathway out of poverty and greater prosperity for themselves and their loved ones./.

  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • In 2020, the project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, including Binh Dai township, thanks to the funding of Microcredit for Mothers (MfM) foundation.
  • The project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, providing financial services and facilitate socio-economic inclusion for over 5,000 disadvantaged and poor women, supporting household economy development, response to saltwater intrusion and new rural development.
  • Nowadays, the project has become financially self-sustained, and is being conducted with the permission of the State Bank of Vietnam, Ben Tre provincial branch.
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