Mekong Delta Women Change Their Lives through Group Savings
Nearly 8,000 women who are in disadvantageous situations in the Mekong Delta have improved their living standard through group savings and improved personal financial management knowledge.
4 years and the milestones
Launched in Vinh Long province in 2013, the Mekong Vitality Project (MV) which aims to improve knowledge and quality of life for Mekong Delta women through savings and loan schemes, has brought various positive results.
For the first time, these women were introduced to an innovative financial model (WORTH), helping them to gather together to save, lend and develop small businesses to generate income for themselves.
According to Kurt MacLeod, Vice President for Country Programs and Operations, PACT, “WORTH is a savings-led microfinance model that provides no seed money or capital, but rather, enables groups of women to make small savings deposits at weekly meetings, until funds grow large enough to allow members to begin taking loans, which they use to start or grow their small businesses. “
After more than a year of implementation by PACT and Coca-Cola international NGOs, the project attracted more than 3,500 women to join, grouped, practiced savings, received interest, loaned to members to start a business or expand business. The result is well recognized that about 1300 small businesses, shops and farms were established and developed, which is creating many stable jobs for women.
Following the initial success, the Coca-Cola project with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launches the next phase, from July 2014 to the end of 2017, “Mekong Vitality Expanded Alliance” (MVE).
2016 is the milestone of the project with the sponsorship and co-operation of Experian Global Information Services (Ireland). The project “Mekong Vitality 2” (MV2) has been further promoted in three communes of Long Phu, Binh Ninh, My Loc, Vinh Long province, to train women in finance, applying technology in business, approaching more capital through group savings.
From June 2016 to May 2017, the project supported the improvement of financial education, principles and credit management training, helped 1,000 women (50 WORTH groups) significantly improve their lives.
Experian, along with PACT, has assisted with training materials development and curricular for financial education and filing skills for female individuals. Through the meetings from basic level to advance in three communes, women were introduced to the basic concepts of finance, how to manage finance effectively and practical application in loans, credit, set the savings goals.
Ben Elliott, Chief Executive Office, Experian Asia Pacific said that Experian has provided both financial and technical support to promote access and financial education for women in Vietnam through programs such as “Mekong Vitality 2” (MV2). Through an online management system, the MV2 project has created credit profiles for women in the project, connecting them with formal financial institutions so that they can access business loans, joint ventures or official credits, which they had not previously been able to do. These women were now able to sign up for postpaid telephone service or borrow money to start or expand their businesses, improving their finances for the whole family and the community.
Almost 8000 women have improved their lives and social status
After nearly 4 years of implementation, nearly 8,000 women in Vinh Long province have been able to raise their social and economic status through the project. More than 400 women participated in the “Mekong Vitality Expanded Alliance” project to be trained in business skills. 60% of them have started new businesses or expanded their current business model.
On average, women increased their income from VND 20,000 to nearly VND 200,000 per day. By the end of May 2017, the cummulative savings of WORTH group participating women reached VND 1,126,190,000 and a total of VND 3,488,400,000 worth of loans were issued through 1,741 loans.
These loans generate VND 125,865,000 contributing to the total fund of the project. Loans are mainly used to set up or develop small businesses that focus on areas such as animal husbandry, poultry and horticulture, food production, grocery and crafts.
Especially, the MV2 project funded by Experian, after the implementation period, has far exceeded the target, helping to train 1095 women with financial knowledge. In particular, 59 WORTH groups have emerged from poverty in Tam Binh district, Vinh Long province. Five women have been accepted by local financial institutions for a loan of VND 320 million to start a new business or expand existing businesses. So far, 103 women have received loans of nearly VND 2.6 billion from local financial institutions.
Not only creating a stable economy, projects such as MV2 also help the women to come together, support each other to develop business skills. Hopefully, with these results, Mekong Delta women will continue to replicate the group saving model and share financial management experience, leverage the strength of the market to seize business opportunities, develop their capacity and raise status in the community.