Hanoi, October 17, 2022 ‐ With the support of P&G Group, a pioneer in promoting Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in Vietnam over the years, through CARE International in Vietnam and the Central Committee of the Vietnam Women’s Union, after four years of implementation in 18 provinces in the country, the project “Reach to Excel: Promoting Financial Inclusion for Ethnic Minority Women” has supported the development of more than 500 self‐managed village credit savings groups (VSLA) with more than 11,000 women participating in savings mobilisation and small‐scale lending. The VSLA model effectively supports women and families in livelihood development activities, contributing to ensuring households’ financial security.

From January 2018 to December 2019, CARE cooperated with Procter & Gamble (P&G) to implement the project “Reach to Excel: Promoting financial inclusion for ethnic minority women” in four mountainous provinces in Northern Vietnam (Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien and Bac Kan). Through cooperation with P&G, CARE has established 260 self‐managed VSLA groups, directly helping 5,196
ethnic minority women access loans and become more economically independent. Many members of the VSLA group said they could save more money and invest better in their children’s education,
household livelihoods and income‐generating activities.

In the project’s second phase, from December 2020 to the end of December 2021, 287 VSLA groups were established with 4,185 female participants. In the first year, the groups mobilised 9.35 billion VND in savings and gave 2,427 members loans to develop their livelihoods. In the first half of 2022, there were 269 groups with 4,058 members, which mobilised 5.62 billion VND in savings, and 1,416 members received loans to finance their livelihood development.

Ms. Le Thi Tuyet Mai, Corporate Communications Director of P&G Vietnam, shared: The “Reach to Excel” project is an important community program in the company’s long‐term development plan in Vietnam. With a commitment to always accompany the advancement of Vietnamese women, over the years, P&G has not only strived to create high‐quality consumption products to improve the quality of consumer lives but also persistently implemented many programs to promote the advancement of women, remove gender barriers and promote the development of Vietnamese women.”

Data from the World Bank in 2017 (Findex) shows that only 30% of adult men and 31% of adult women in Vietnam have access to formal financial services, one of the lowest rates in East Asia. Based on gender analyses conducted by CARE, women face more difficulties in accessing finance and are negatively impacted by gender inequality and traditional cultural norms. Studies have also shown that with financial decision‐making and agricultural production in the family, the husband often has a decisive say in livelihood and significant expenditures. It also dramatically affects decision‐making and women’s participation at the community level.

Started by CARE in 1991 in Niger and implemented in Vietnam in 2010, up to now, the Village Credit Savings Model (VSLA) has been introduced in more than 20 provinces/cities. The operating model is
based on the three principles of Voluntary Participation, Self‐Management and Self‐Responsibility, promoting the principles of openness, transparency, and equality for all members.

Evaluating the project’s activities in recent years, the representative of the Vietnam Women’s Union, Ms. Pham Thi Huong Giang, Member of the Women Union Presidium ‐ Head of the Committee
to support women in economic development, said: “This model is very suitable for ethnic minority women, helping them to form the habit of saving, self‐management and the community to support and help each other in difficult times. Through the model, the women union has also communicated on the state’s legal policies related to ethnic minority areas and other necessary knowledge for women such as organising their lives, growing their family income and promoting gender equality”.

Ms. Le Kim Dung, Country Director, CARE International in Vietnam, affirmed the organisation’s commitment to cooperation with the Vietnam Women’s Union, “The VSLA model is considered the starting point to help group members connect and access other forms of financial services and be part of an inclusive financial ecosystem in which everyone has the right to participate. The approach and characteristics of the VSLA model are very consistent with the goals of the Women’s Union in the project 8 implementation process. CARE commits to accompany and provide technical support with the Central Committee of the Women Union in the next five years to carry out activities to achieve the set goals effectively.”


Please read the full media release here.