On 21 September 2016 we officially launched the “Enhancing Opportunities for Women’s Enterprises” (EOWE) project devoted to narrowing the gender gap and increasing women empowerment in Vietnam.
The project was launched in Binh Thuan province in the attendance of high-level officials from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the People’s Committee of Binh Thuan province, the Vietnam Women’s Union and the Dutch Embassy. SNV country director in Vietnam, Miguel Mendez, compliments Vietnam for increasingly developing policies and laws that promote gender equality. However, as Miguel Mendez explains “the majority of women still face a burden of inequality in social affairs and business, including unequal access to resources, limited business opportunities, overload of work in business and the household and lack of/poor opportunities for decision making, development and leadership.
The EOWE project is being implemented between 2016 and 2020 in Vietnam and Kenya and is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the ‘Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women” (FLOW) programme. Ms. Kenza Tarqaat, representative of the Dutch Government, explains that the Netherlands established the FLOW fund to improve the position of women in the world. “For sustainable improvement of women’s rights, there should be a fair division of power and a structural transformation of norms, values and codes of conduct for men and women. That is why we are happy that SNV’s Enhancing Opportunities for Women’s Enterprises is among the programmes we support from our FLOW fund.”
In Vietnam the project will target four provinces: Quang Binh, Binh Dinh, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan. In these provinces SNV will work with local partners, including the Women's Union, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, cooperatives and the People's Committee. Mr. Pham Van Nam, Vice Chair of Binh Thuan People's Committee opened the kick-off workshop by saying "We are committed to creacting the most enabling environment to make this project a good success”.
EOWE aims to narrow the gender gap by focusing on three key pillars. Under the first pillar, the project aims to transform gender norms inhibiting women’s access to economic opportunties by increasing awareness on and acceptance of gender equitable norms. The second pillar focuses on policy influencing and advocacy to increase the enabling environment for women to participate in economic activities. On this institutional level, the project increases the capacity of goverment agencies to improve and implement gender-sensitive policies and to advocate for women economic empowerment.
The last pillar focuses on supporting and empowering women to start, lead and promote their own business through increased access to inputs, technology and business assets. In addition, the project strengthens the capacity of and mechanisms within cooperatives enabling women to lead and benefit from these business associations. Through the interventions on the local, provincial and institutional level in Vietnam, the EOWE project aims to increase awareness about gender equality for 100,000 people, increase the income of 20,000 women, enable 18 women to lead successful and profitable cooperatives and establish operational business hubs on the provincial level and a women’s economic empowerment hub on the national level.
Check out more photos from the EOWE launch event.