Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls launches new aid project to support women in Vietnam
Today in Hanoi, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, launched a new aid project for Vietnam – the Women’s Economic Empowerment through Agriculture Value Chain Enhancement (‘WEAVE’) project.
“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are top priorities in Australia, as well as in our foreign policy, economic diplomacy and overseas aid program”, said Ambassador Stott Despoja during her first visit to Vietnam as Ambassador for Women and Girls.
“The WEAVE program that I launched today is the latest initiative in Australia’s ongoing efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment in Vietnam.”
The Australian Government will provide A$2.5 million for a consortium of three international NGOs –SNV, Oxfam and CARE International – to implement the WEAVE project in Vietnam’s north-western provinces of Lao Cai and Bac Kan. The project is scheduled to run for three years, until 2019.
The WEAVE project will support more than 1,800 women and men in Lao Cai and Bac Kan to improve their livelihoods. It will place particular emphasis on supporting women smallholder farmers and cooperatives to strengthen their skills in marketing, financial literacy, business planning, negotiation, and legal matters.
“This project will pave the way for a substantial new program of Australian support for women’s economic empowerment in Vietnam’s north-west over the coming years,” said Ambassador Stott Despoja.
As Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms. Stott Despoja’s role is to promote Australia’s strong global commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Her advocacy focuses on women’s equal participation in political leadership, business and the workplace; women and girls’ access to education and health care; and an end to violence against women and girls both at home and in the community.
During her three-day visit to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Ambassador Stott Despoja is meeting a range of different organisations and individuals who are working to tackle gender inequality and promote women’s empowerment, including the Centre for Women in Politics and Public Administration (WiPPA), the Vietnam Women’s Union Centre for Women and Development (CWD), newly elected female National Assembly deputies (or MPs), and the Ho Chi Minh City Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs (HAWEE). Their work corresponds with the three priorities in Australia’s Strategy for Gender Equality, which are to enhance women’s voices in decision making and leadership, promote women’s economic empowerment, and end violence against women and girls.
“No country in the world has fully solved gender inequality yet,” said Ambassador Stott Despoja. “I am here to share Australia’s challenges and lessons in tackling the issues that face women and girls, as well as to learn about Vietnam’s progress in striving for greater gender equality. I look forward to identifying more opportunities to continue our cooperation to advance women’s empowerment.”
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