Australian Embassy

Australia acknowledged for supporting microfinance program for the poor

Leaders of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour presented a Medal to Ms Claire Ireland,  Development Cooperation Counsellor and a Certificate of Acknowledgement to Ms Nguyen Lan Phuong, Senior Safeguards Manager from  the Australian Embassy in Hanoi.

Capital Aid Fund for Employment of the Poor (CEP) is the largest Microfinance Institution operating in under the management of the Labour Confederation of HCMC. It operates in Ho Chi Minh city, Ben Tre, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Long An, Tay Ninh, Vinh Long and Tien Giang.

CEP’s core microfinance services are provision of savings and loan products for livelihood and housing construction and improvement activities for the poor. CEP supplements its microfinance program with a community development which consists of: a financial education program to increase financial literacy among clients; raising awareness of health and sanitation issues; education scholarships to the children of clients; livelihood development support; the provision of housing; financial assistance to clients experiencing difficulties; and the provision of basic foods and goods. CEP has established a strong reputation as a poverty-focused microfinance institution and has developed long-standing relationships with local NGOs, local Government agencies, and key international microfinance stakeholders including the Grameen Bank.

The Government of Australia worked closely with CEP from 2001-2008 (AUD6 million) to assist them to expand their microfinance activities in HCMC. This support was considered as a fundamental milestone and it significantly contributed to the development of CEP. From this initial supports, CEP was able to mobilize additional funds from other donors, organizations and the private sector and expanded its operation not only in Ho Chi Minh city but across the Mekong delta. Since 1991, approximately 3 million poor people have benefited from loans. With nearly 300,000 currently active loan clients, CEP is the largest formal microfinance institution in Vietnam. 

In 2014 CEP continued to work with the Australian Government to provide support to assist poor households affected by construction of the Cao Lanh Bridge. To date, 1,196 affected households of Cao Lanh bridge and poor people living around the bridge have benefited from this assistance in which 70% of beneficiaries are women.

To acknowledge the contribution and on-going support from the Government of Australia, on the occasion of 25 years anniversary on 30 October 2016, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour and Ho Chi Minh City People Committee presented a Medal and Certificate of Acknowledgement to DFAT’s representatives.