What we do

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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Project on Realization of land use rights for ethnic minority people with disabilities concluded with encouraging results

Participants at the workshop

After nearly two years of implementation, the project “Realization of land use rights for ethnic minority people with disabilities in Dakrong and Huong Hoa districts” funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has helped underprivileged people make a step closer to self-reliance and social inclusion.

With a total value of EUR 100,000, the project was jointly implemented by the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV), Quang Tri provincial Committee of Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and the province’s Association of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and Agent Orange Victims, Sponsorship for PWDs and Child Right Protection (DPO).

The project was concluded with a closing workshop held on May 4 th, 2021, in Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province, providing the stakeholders with insights of the project outcomes, challenges during the implementation process and post-project action plan.

The workshop brought together delegates of Quang Tri CEMA, Quang Tri DPO, Quang Tri Department of Natural Resources and Environment and representatives of 13 commune beneficiaries of 2 districts Dakrong and Huong Hoa.
Conducted in the format of a hybrid meeting, the workshop welcomed the virtual participation of Mr. Peeters Robbie, the Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam and Mr.Pham Dung, Country Director of MCNV Vietnam.

In nearly two years of implementation, the project has supported the leveling of residential land, agricultural production land and granting land use right certificates to ethnic minority households with PWDs in Dakrong and Huong Hoa district, facilitating independent livings and social inclusion.

Despite the setbacks of Covid-19 and the historic floods sweeping through Quang Tri in October-November 2020, the project has achieved significant results, with 112 ethnic minority households with PWDs received support to level residential land (13,558 m2) and agricultural land (84,080 m2). Meanwhile, 18 households was supported in the granting of land use rights certificates.
These supports have vastly contributed to PwD’s property ownership verification and lay a better foundation for their agricultural production.

Mr. Ho Van Che (Huc Nghi commune, Dakrong district) a beneficiary of the project “Realization of land use rights for ethnic minority people with disabilities in Dakrong and Huong Hoa districts”. Photo: Phan Tan Lam

As part of the project, a database consisting the information on the status of residential and agricultural production land of over 22,000 PwDs households was created, aiming to assist Quang Tri province in approaching the government’s related policies. The model is the first one of its kind that has ever been applied in Vietnam.
Moreover, the project provided PwDs with better access to policies on land use rights and related policies, services and procedures via training workshop, communication on awareness raising and capacity building for Quang Tri DPO.

Via these activities, the project contributed to accelerate the realization of the Resolution No. 10/2018/NQ-HĐND themed “Policy on supporting residential land and funding for granting certificates of land use rights, production land for poor ethnic minority households and poor households in the communes of region III and extremely difficult villages in the period 2019-2022”.
Despite the project has been concluded, the models piloted in the project are expected to contribute to realizing the National Target Program 2021-2030 on socio-economic development of ethnic minorities-inhabited areas, including two projects on land and resilient settlement.

Mr.Peeters Robbie speaks at the workshop.

Talking about the outcomes of the project, Mr. Peeters Robbie, the Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam, stated: “What has been achieved is something we can all be proud of”, considering the hurdles of Covid-19 and the floods hitting the region in October and November 2020. On the occasion, he highlighted the spirit of equality and equity in the longstanding cooperation between the Netherlands and Quang Tri province which is “still very much alive today.”

“For this project, we figuratively and quite literally are leveling the playing field”, he said, emphasizing the belief that everyone should have a fair opportunity to develop a living for themselves.

To conclude his speech, Mr. Robbie commended all the project partners on their hard work and results obtained and expressed his wish for field visit in the near future.

Speaking at the workshop, Head of Quang Tri province’s CEMA, Mr.Le Van Quyen highly appreciated the results of the project:

“The project has practically helped meet the need for residential and production land of PwDs, via the close cooperation between authorities of various sectors, including ethnic minorities affairs, natural resources and environment, land registration and non governmental organization,” he said.

The Head of Quang Tri CEMA also suggested a longer period of implementation of project related to land use rights, in order to create more profound impacts.

In the workshop, delegates also gave recommendations on how to improve access to land use rights for PwDs, suggesting Quang Tri DOP to take proactive step in mobilizing and diversifying sponsorships, including those from enterprises and the enhancement of communication and awareness raising activities on land use rights policy./.

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Early Detection – Early Intervention and Inclusive Education project in Cao Bang close

In the past 18 years, the project Early Detection – Early Intervention (ED-EI) and Inclusive Education project implemented by MCNV in Cao Bang province has practically benefited the locality in various aspects.

A classroom of the Support Center in Cao Bang.

The project is part of the Disability program kick started in April 2002 by MCNV in Cao Bang province, aiming to achieve three goals: (1) Capacity building for officials and teachers in ED-EI and education for Children with Disabilities (CwDs), (2) Enhancing the capacity of participatory authorities, especially the provincial Support Center for the development of Inclusive Education, equipping the Center with sufficient resources and expertises to adequately provide qualified services to CwDs in the province; (3) Fostering the capacity of systems that support and implement ED-EI for CwDs.

In order to achieve these goals, the establishment and development of the Support Center is regarded as the key component of the project.

After 18 years, the project was concluded in late 2020 and has already been handed over to Cao Bang provincial Department of Education and Training. In the project closing workshop held in late March 2021, Head of Cao Bang provincial Department of Education and Training, Mr.Vu Van Duong and Prof.Dr. Le Van Tac, independent specialist who was in charge of the project final term evaluation, shared impressive figures and facts.

Breaktime on the Support Center’s yard.

According to the report, the Project has largely contributed to the vast increase of the percentage of CwDs attendance to school (from nearly 30% in 2002 to 89.1% in 2020). Currently, in Cao Bang province, 372 education institutions (among 503 preschools, primary schools, secondary schools,) are admitting CwDs.

Since the establishment of the Center, a total number of 560 CwDs have been admitted to the Center to be provided with necessary interventions, rehabilitation services and training on preschool skills, of which 453 students (80%) have been admitted to common schools. Meanwhile, 560 respective parents have been provided with consultancy services, helping them improve understanding of their children’s conditions, capabilities and manage to take better care of their children. 

As part of the project, thousands of screening, evaluation and training sessions were conducted, benefiting school officers, teachers and parents of CwDs across the province.

Infographic: The project outcomes

According to the report, in over the past 18 years, the project has created significant impacts on the development of the special education system, including accelerating the enforcement of Laws on Persons with Disabilities in Cao Bang, a mountainous province with distinctive cultural and social patterns , and predominant population of ethnic minorities.

Particularly, the establishment and stable operation of the Support Center has contributed to increasing equitable opportunities for CwDs in ED, EI and inclusive education.

In terms of policy, the project has produced and disseminated evidence-based results and examples to lay a essential foundation for relevant authorities to enact Laws on Persons with Disabilities. Thanks to the project, evidence-based research results and case studies have been generated and widely disseminated, laying solid foundation for the enactment of the Laws on Persons with Disabilities and policies at national and provincial level.

A teacher teaches students in the Support Center.

In addition to directly benefiting CwDs, their parents and teachers, the project benefited other stakeholders in terms of personal development via providing learning opportunities in reporting, human resources, project management, etc.

The model is evaluated as highly feasible in disadvantaged mountainous provinces. Cao Bang province experiences are suitable to be applied to other provinces, especially in mountainous regions.

*Stakeholders’ Testimonials:

We highly appreciate the long-term commitment, professional and enthusiastic support of MCNV for the education sector of Cao Bang in early detection-early intervention and special education. MCNV has played the most important role in making the Disability program successful here. 18 years of support by MCNV is a long journey. It’s hard to have such a long-standing and close relationship like that.  (Leader of Cao Bang provincial Department of Education and Training)

“MCNV works in a professional manner with great expertise, which made every supporting activities efficient and suit the needs of the locality and the beneficiaries.(Officer of Cao Bang provincial Department of Education and Training)

“The percentage of CwDs attending school has been on the rise while the number of dropout decreases. The coordination between school and family is getting more effective, which is considered an outcome of the project.”   (Management of local common school admitting CwDs)

“With the aforementioned outcomes, MCNV realizes that it is the time to hand over the project to Cao Bang Department of Education and Training. The Department is now ready to take charge of the next phase to make the best out of the past achievements, helping CwDs better integrate into the community and ensuring the implementation of their rights”.   (MCNV representative)  

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EU Delegation visits PROSPER project site (April 2021)

On April 14th & 15th 2021, a delegation of the European Union (EU) visited three districts of Hai Lang, Huong Hoa and Cam Lo of Quang Tri province, where the EU-funded project “Promoting sustainable partnerships between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forestry management in the context of climate change” (PROSPER) has been implemented by MCNV and partners for over the past one year.

Ms. Camille G. Lavirotte, (Deputy Head of Finance, Contracts & Audit, Attachée), (fourth, right); Ms. Hong Anh Nguyen (Programme Manager) (fifth, left); Ms. Thuy Ngoc Dinh (Finance & Contracts Officer) (fourth, left); MCNV staff and SFCG Quang Tri.

The field trip aimed to provide the EU Ddelegation and MCNV the insight of the first-year achievement of PROSPER via visits to various forest plantations, natural forests and plant nursery of Quang Tri Smallholder Forest Certification Group (SGCG) Association, and participating cooperatives, including pine and acacia plantation of Phu Hung Cooperative (Hai Le commune, Hai Lang district) and hi-quality acacia nursery of Keo Son cooperative (Cam Nghia commune, Cam Lo district).

During the field trip, the EU delegates met with leaders of SFCG sub-associations, community forest groups and households who were beneficiaries of the PROSPER project in Ho village (Huong Son commune), Chan May Eco Bio Agricultural Cooperative and Chenh Venh village (Huong Phung commune) in Huong Hoa district.

Ms. Hong Anh Nguyen (left), Programme Manager, EU Delegation to Vietnam visited Phu Hung cooperative, Hai Lang district.

Leaders of these sub-associations and groups took the chance to brief the EU Ddelegation on the activities they have been participating in as part of the PROSPER project in the last one year, including: setting out sustainable forests management rules and regulations, forest patrol and audit in combination with forest nourishing, exploiting non-timber forest products, etc.

Chenh Venh village forest group representative briefs the EU Delegation on the group’s current activities and plan in the time to come.

At the same time, representatives of the project beneficiaries shared with the EU delegates and MCNV about their action plans in the coming years, focusing on sustainable forest management and community livelihood development, expansion of the plantation area of tung trees (an indigenous plant with various economic potentials), participation in the sustainable tung oil supply chain, enhancing the community coordination in Forest Stewardship Council certification (FSC®) rattan and bamboo trade, eco- tourism, etc.

The hi-quality acacia nursery of Keo Son (Cam Nghia commune, Cam Lo district).

PROSPER, with a total value of EUR 800,000 (EUR 600,000 funded by EU and EUR 200,000 by MCNV), is implemented by MCNV and the SFCG Association of Quang Tri in the period of February 2020 – February 2023.
The project will assist 60 sub-associations of around 3,000 farmers who are household, cooperative and community forest owners. In the 3 years, the project will help 1,500 hectares of plantation forests achieve FSC® certificates and sustainable forests management will be applied on 600 hectares of natural forests.

After the first one year, despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19, various key activities of PROSPER has been successfully implemented, including: assisting the participation in the FSC forest certification to implement sustainable forest management, promoting sustainable supply chain of non-timber forest products, establishing an acacia nursery, expanding the area of forest plantation, facilitating access to the smartphone application of the SFCG Association for forest management, etc.

*Infographic: PROSPER first-year achievement

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Home-based job benefits poor women in Ben Tre

Strong, durable, and reusable, tote bag is becoming a popular choice of shoppers nowadays. Day by day, those eco-friendly products are being produced by diligent home-based worker like Ms. Vo Thi Ngoc Trinh (Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province).

A bag made by Trinh.

Ms.Trinh is a resident of Loc Thanh hamlet, Loc Thuan commune. She is married and has a 7-year-old daughter. Trinh’s husband is a mason, who often travel far from home to work. For a woman who has to balance between her income-earning activities alongside childcare and domestic responsibilities like Trinh, a home-based job is the most suitable choice.

“As a member of a local Microcredit group, I got access to a loan worth VND 7 million (~EUR 270) to purchase a sewing machine. Thank to it, I started working from home as a tote bags maker since 2020”, Trinh said, while putting together pieces of cloth and carefully stiches.

Trinh has been outsourced by a local factory through an intermediary. Every week, the intermediary visits her one to two times, to collect the finished products and supply extra materials. The money Trinh earned depends on the quantity of products she completes.

“On average, I make around VND 80,000 – 100,000 each day (VND 2.4 million to 3 million per month).

“Working from home allows me to earn some money while still can manage to do chores and take my daughter to school”, said Trinh.

“The income earned by my husband and me is just enough for us make end meets. My daughter is at grade one of primary school now, hence the expense has increased, as we have to pay for tuition fee, textbook and stationery, etc.”

Ms.Trinh and her daughter

“I don’t think we will have more kids, as I’m afraid that we cannot afford to raise them”, Trinh said.

“At the moment, my husband and I just want to save enough money to renovate this house, especially the kitchen, it is too shanty”, she said./.

Trinh wants to save enough to renovate her shanty house.
  • 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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Homemade with Heart contest open for application

🌼 What’s is the ultimate goal of INNOVATION and CREATIVITY, if not for the betterment of people’s lives?

💁‍♀️💁‍♂️Regardless of what your profession is, as long as you have the passion for invention, the aspiration to support independence and participation of persons with disabilities.

💙 Homemade with Heart contest is for YOU !!!

The contest aims to stimulate the sharing of simple ideas and inventions that support the autonomy of persons with disabilities (PwDs) during their daily life activities. With two categories (Professional & Non-Professional), Homemade with Heart will help open a world of possibilities for PwDs and at the same time unlock your potential for creativity.

🆙👉Check out the contest’s website to know more about the application https://homemadewithheart.vn/

This contest is brought to you by Humanity &Inclusion Vietnam and USAID, in partnership with MCNV, ACDC and JICA

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MOU signed with MOH on promoting Rehabilitation in Vietnam

On today morning (June 2), together with representatives of 7 local and international NGOs, MCNV Country Director Pham Dung signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Medical Services Administration on cooperation in Rehabilitation.

Under the framework of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded agreement, collaboration activities will majorly focus on development of healthcare models and rehabilitation facilities for the disabled in the country, improve the law and policies on rehabilitation as well as improve the capacity of rehabilitation centres in several project areas.

The MoUs express the commitment of NGOs to effectively implement activities to reinforce Rehabilitation services and assistance for people with disabilities in Vietnam.

08 NGOs participating in the MoU signing ceremony are:
Action for Community Development Center (ACDC); Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH); Humanity and Inclusion (HI); the International Center (IC); Institute of Population, Health and Development (PHAD); Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP); Medical Committee Netherlands – Vietnam (MCNV).

On the same days, 08 NGOs also participated in a Workshop on Rehabilitation Provisions under the revised laws on Medical Examinations and Treatment (LET).

According to the National Survey on People with Disabilities by the General Statistics Office (GSO), in 2016, over 7% of the population aged 2 years and older, (equal to around 6.2 million), have a disability.
These percentages are expected to rise with the aging of the population, leading to a sharp increase in demand for Rehabilitation in the future.

For more information:

https://vietnamnews.vn/society/717596/msa-partners-with-eight-ngos-in-improving-rehabilitation-activities.html

https://vietnamtimes.org.vn/eight-ngos-support-vietnam-improving-rehabilitation-activities-20987.html

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Highland: Harvest seasons await!

Slowly walking pass a large area of land that was just leveled in the mountainous village of Cup, Huc Nghi commune, Dakrong district, three Van Kieu ethnicity fellows excitedly share with one another about their plan in the near future.

(From the left) Three fellows of Van Kieu ethnicity: Ho Van Che, Ho Van Ngoi and Ho Van Nghien. Photo: Phan Tan Lam

 “My land plot is quite large. I will use part of it for wetland rice cultivation, and use the rest for a chicken farm”, says Ho Van Che (41-year-old), with one hand on his crutch and the other pointing to his two plots of land which were just leveled.

 “For myself, I am not married yet, and have to rely on my parents for living. I am going to roll up my sleeves to join my parents on the paddy field soon. Hopefully, I will be able to help produce more staple food for the family. It will also be a good way to reduce the helpless feeling!” Ho Van Ngoi, 36 years old, struggles to lift up his face while talking about his future plan.

Ngoi was born with a hunched-over upper body, making it difficult to cast his eyes to the front. Even though it is hard to see Ngoi’s whole face, we still can catch a glimpse of his smile.

Ho Van Nghien, 26 years old, softly predicts: “The rainy season is coming. The rainfall will nourish the soil and stabilize it. The end of the year will be the ideal time for  sowing, and next year April it will be our first wetland rice harvest season”.

Ho Van Ngoi (left) and Ho Van Che. Photo: Phan Tan Lam

Nghien has got married and is now father of three sons. Like many households in Cup village, in order to earn enough for the family’s living, he and his wife spend most of their time working far from home on upland fields.

When the rainy season comes in early June, the couple start seeding. Robust seeds will be broadcast onto the mountainous soil, where they wait to sprout. In the next 3 or 4 months, the rice will be ready for harvest.

However, upland crop has only one season a year, yielding around five packets of rice (150 kg), only enough for the family to survive in three months.

While his wife spends time taking care of their children at home, Nghien has to take on extra works to afford the staple food for the rest of the year. One of the tasks Nghien is hired to work on is to harvest Acacia wood. He may get VND 150,000/working day. However, like many seasonal works, it cannot be a stable source of income.

 “I am exhausted with upland rice cultivation, since I have to work far from home, and climb up the high hills.”

After a while of silence, Nghien confides: “It is tiring enough for a normal person, for people with disabilities like us, it is even tougher. From my house, I have to walk four kilometers on bumpy path to reach my rice field. It takes me over one hour to walk. I am visually impaired, so I still can walk like that. My two handicapped friends, Che and Ngoi, cannot do so”.

All of the three men, Che, Nghien and Ngoi have production land located nearby their houses. Their plots of land were provided by the commune authority. However, due to the infertility of the soil and rough topography, they could not work on their land.

The light of hope only arrives when they receive the support to level the land. They are now looking forward to harvest seasons on their ‘old yet new’ pieces of land.

Ho Van Che is looking forward to his bright future. Photo: Phan Tan Lam

Supporting ground leveling for agricultural and residential land and land use rights certification are the key activities of the project “Promoting access to residential and agricultural lands for households of ethnic minority people with disabilities” jointly implemented by MCNV, the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs  of Quang Tri province, and the Association of People with Disabilities (PWDs) and Agent Orange/Dioxin victims, Sponsorship for PWDs and Child Rights Protection of Quang Tri province (Quang Tri DPO) in the mountainous districts of Dakrong and Huong Hoa.

The project is funded by the Royal Embassy of the Netherlands in Vietnam from July 2019 to December 2020. It is estimated that 100 households of PWDs like Che, Ngoi and Nghien will be supported in land leveling. At the same time, hundreds of households with PWDs will be benefited from better access to information, policy and services related to land use rights.

Quang Tri DPO will receive training to improve their capacity in assisting members to get access to the State’s policy for the disabled.

Yesterday, Che, Ngoi and Nghien were worried about their family’s future and the shortage of food. Today, they are looking forward to the day marking the first harvest season on their own land. That day is coming soon!

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Zoom in on a life-changing project in Binh Dai (Ben Tre province)

In over the last 10 years, in Binh Dai District, Ben Tre Province, there is a project that has been providing life-changing instrument for thousands of women to rise against poverty…

From poverty to financial independence

In the past, Ms. Truong Thi Phuong (born in 1972) and her husband, residents of Phu Thanh Hamlet, Phu Vang Commune, Binh Dai District, Ben Tre province used to made a living out of a small vegetables garden and some seasonal jobs, which generated a modest amount of income.

Despite being diligent, they still struggled to make ends meet. When their children got into college, the couple were over the moon but also extremely worried. The kids would have a brighter future than their parents but how could they manage to pay for their four-year tuition fees and other expenses in the city.

Ms.Truong Thi Phuong and her grocery store.

Phuong’s family life came to a turning point in 2015, when she became member of the Women Union of Phu Vang Commune and began to get accesss to the Micro Credit and Saving project, implemented by the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV) and sponsors.

With the loan provided by the project, Phuong and her husband shortly sleeved up to find their ways out of poverty. Part of the cash was spent on poultry rearing, while the rest was invested in launching a small grocery store.

“At the beginning, due to my lack of experiences, we faced a lot of challenges”, Phuong recalled.

Fortunately, thanks to active participation in science and technology transfer workshops held by local Women Union, Phuong and her husband soon acquired fundamental knowledges in farming as well as doing business. Step by step, their ‘startup’ started to yield profits, providing a stable source of income, and at the same time, could be used as capital to feed new investment.

After several microcredit cycles, following the advices of project staff and the senior members of local Women Union, Phuong bought a cow which later gave birth to two calves. After deducting all costs of rearing, they earned around VND tens million annually.

Since the rearing was not time-consuming, Phuong’s husband spent the rest of his day on some part-time jobs such as bricklaying, fishing, which earned him VND few hundred thousand per day.

After 5 years of participating in the Micro Credit and Saving project of Binh Dai district, Ms. Truong Thi Phuong and her husband have filed for crossing their name in the poor households list.

From the bottom where the couple could not make ends meet, now they have secured stable and sufficient income. As the two children have graduated from colleges and have found jobs, the family is free from worries about livelihoods. Their old wobbly house has been renovated into a fully furnished one.

Phuong also has more time for community activities. She is very enthusiastic about sharing her experience in doing business with her neighbors, fellows, and lending supports to those in need.

“‘A stitch in time saves nine’, more than anyone, I understand what it is like to live in poverty. At the moment, I am willing to help anyone in need”, she said.

Striving from the bottom, she is always grateful for what the Micro Credit and Saving project and her fellows have done to support her.

Freshwater security against salinity

Ben Tre is severely affected by saline intrusion. Illustration photo: VNA

Located in the Mekong delta region, Ben Tre is severely affected by saline intrusion. Even local water plants are affected with salinity of 2 grammes.

Located on an islet, Binh Dai district’s four sides were surrounded by rivers and seas, making the area more vulnerable to saline intrusion (high salinity, deep intrusion level). Local residents are facing huge challenges as saline intrusion negatively affected agricultural production and daily life.

In the fierce battle against salinity, Binh Dai district was lucky enough to receive aid from the Micro Credit and Saving project. Along with providing loans to support livelihoods, the project has also assisted poor, nearly poor, and disadvantaged households to build water containers and purchase rainwater and freshwater storing tanks for daily life and production.

Ms.Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh and her water container.

“In 2016, I registered for a loan of VND five million to build two 4m3 water containers; the costs for materials and workers was around VND six million …” , said Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh (Tan Long hamlet, Thanh Phuoc commune).

According to Oanh, thanks to the project, her family could store enough freshwater to use for the whole year. In the dry season, the family consume more well water therefore they always have extra stock of rainwater.

Being aware of the benefit in the long run, in 2018, Oanh continued to take a new loan of VND five million to build two 6m3 water containers, the two cost around VND seven million.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao (born in 1985) lives in Vinh Tan hamlet, Vang Quoi Dong commune is another beneficiary of the project. Thank to the 6m3 rainwater, freshwater container, her three-member family now can feel secured during drought season.

 “Because saline intrusion occurs every year, I decided to build container to store rainwater or freshwater for daily use. In 2016, I filed for a VND five million in 24 months to build two containers. I was thrilled as they were so helpful. Without them, we would have had to use saltwater like the previous years, which negatively affects sanitation. I am going to borrow some more to build another two containers. If salinization persists, I am afraid that there will not be enough freshwater…” 

  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • 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.
  • The project has so far provided 954 households with loan to construct their own water containers. From the beginning of the year, 149 households have received the supports, leading to more registration for loan. 
  • 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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Skill training benefits members of credit groups in Binh Dai (Ben Tre province)

15 credit group leaders and prospective clients of the Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province have recently completed a 3-day workshop on microfinance skills.

The three-day workshop equips trainees with relevant knowledge and skills.

The training aims to provide trainees with relevant knowledge in micro credit, including the access to loan, financial services and the effective use of capital, contributing to poverty alleviation and economic development in the locality.

During the three-day workshop (February 17-19th), local-based project coordinators helped 15 trainees gain fundamental understanding of ‘credit’, ‘credit group’ concept ; provided guidance on how to develop, manage and coordinate credit groups as well as introduction to Microfinance (purpose, target clients, loan policy, etc).

The workshop also included a Q&A session, in which the trainers provided answer for trainees’ enquiries on how to solve the problems they encountered while leading/participating in a credit group.

In addition, the trainees were also instructed on bookkeeping, as well as other skills in a field-trip to learn about credit management in real life.

Better financial knowledge and skills can help change the lives of many women and their families.

“We expect that all of the trainees will become helpful assistants of Binh Dai district project management board in the time to come”, said Ms.Vo Thi Be Hai, Deputy Head of the Project management board.

  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • 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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