The EOWE Project, part of the “Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW)” programme, is being implemented in the provinces of Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Quang Binh, and Binh Dinh by the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation between 2016 and 2020, with funding from the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The FLOW-EOWE project aims to advance women’s economic participation and self-reliance by creating a conducive environment for female entrepreneurship as a vehicle for change. It focuses its support on women working in agribusinesses by increasing their access to agribusiness models, assets, technology, markets, and information.
In order to increase incomes and improve the livelihoods of women in agriculture value chains, the project supports and promotes climate-smart agricultural business models and female leadership in farmer groups and cooperatives.
In addition, it works to transform traditional gender roles within households and communities that inhibit women from starting or advancing businesses; increase the gender-sensitivity of key policies and laws; and establish a women’s economic platform and network.
In Binh Thuan, the project has brought positive changes to local awareness of gender equality. Activities to promote gender equality have been held in various forms, for example, family group meetings and dialogues among households to help women alter the way they see themselves and consequently live their lives; and community festival events to promote the notion of housework being shared equally, despite gender stereotypes.
Under the project, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has partnered with the local Women’s Union in a range of activities to raise women’s income from agribusiness, with the main focus on rice, cashew nuts, and dragon fruit farming.
The project has helped develop rice farming models using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) on a total of 115ha in Tuy Phong, Bac Binh, and Tanh Linh districts. It has also built sustainable value chains in cashew farming in Duc Linh district and supported women to grow dragon fruit that meets VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards.
Furthermore, the project has assisted local agricultural cooperatives in developing collective trademarks, trademarking their branded logo and package design, and marketing their products.
According to the provincial Women’s Union, over the three years since it started, the project has inspired new business ideas for many women and translated them into reality. This has not only enabled women to improve their income, but also enhanced their economic empowerment and obtained greater equality in family dynamics.
In the coming time, the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Women’s Union will continue campaigning and persuading more women to take part in the project’s activities. Binh Thuan expects to raise awareness of gender equality among about 100,000 locals, increase income for 20,000 women, and support at least 18 women to start their own businesses.