GREAT programme empowers ethnic women in economic development, gender equality hinh anh 1Women of the Dao ethnic minority group take part in GREAT programme to act towards economic development and gender equality (Photo: Australian Aid)

Hanoi (VNA) - More than 15,200 women in the northwestern provinces of Lao Cai and Son La will be provided with opportunities to engage in economic development via the Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) programme.

The initiative promotes gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, with a focus on the ethnically diverse provinces of Son La and Lao Cai. 
The 33.7 million AUD (equivalent to 23.29 million USD) initiative sponsored by the Australian Government has reaped positive results after five years of implementation, heard a workshop held on May 27 in Hanoi. The theme of the meeting was connecting women with the market and expanding successful provincial models at a national level. 
More than 15,200 ethnic minority women in Lao Cai and Son La provinces have been supported by the programme, which helps raise their income as well as bolster gender equality and economic participation. Women, especially those of ethnic groups in the northwestern region of Vietnam, receive timely assistance through the project. 
GREAT works with the private sector, government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to create opportunities for women within the agriculture and tourism sectors. These sectors have demonstrated strong economic growth and the potential to increase the economic participation of ethnic minority women. 
The initiative shows positive steps toward gender equality, tourism market development and inclusive agriculture in its first phase carried out between 2017 and 2021 in Lao Cai and Son La.
In addition, GREAT has developed in excess of 70 partnerships and more than 8.6 million AUD has been sourced from the private sector. Nearly 300 policy dialogues were arranged within the framework of the project. 

GREAT programme empowers ethnic women in economic development, gender equality hinh anh 2Local handicraft products are on display at the workshop on May 27. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

At the event, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie affirmed that GREAT is not a charity, but rather an organization that creates a favourable business climate and benefits as many people as it can.
Investing in women will bring in high investment interests together with economic benefits for the community and the nation as a whole, she underlined. She said she is proud as the programme helps improve the living conditions of more than 15,000 households in Son La and Lao Cai.
The diplomat confirmed that the close partnership contributes to the success of GREAT and at the same time emphasised that despite achievements, many important tasks remain so as to help women access economic opportunities and fully join in the market.
The programme will enter its second phase from this year until 2027. In the period, it will focus on improving socio-economic position and enhancing post-pandemic recovery of women in the northwestern region. 

GREAT programme empowers ethnic women in economic development, gender equality hinh anh 3The workshop offers chances for people and guests in Hanoi to enjoy quality products from other localities with clear origins. (Photo: Vietnamplus)

In the coming time, the project will identify specific fields in agriculture and tourism to create economic chances for women. It is worthy of note that the programme will share its experience and effective models in Lao Cai and Son La to other national and provincial programmes.
Vice Chairman of the Lao Cai People’s Committee and head of GREAT steering committee in the province Hoang Quoc Khanh expressed his hope that the second phase will get underway soon. The aim in this phase is to maintain performance and create a foundation in agricultural and tourism development in the hope of effectively carrying out the national target programme, empowering women and fostering gender equality and prosperity for citizens.
With the efforts in recent years, Vietnam has taken great strides toward gender equality, seeing it recognised by the world as one of the 10 best countries in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 on promoting gender equality and empowering all women and girls./.