A women’s empowerment project in Moc Chau district, Son La province
At the beginning of this year, the project “Strengthening the role and position of the Thai and Hmong ethnic minority women through improved business skills and effective access to and use of information in Moc Chau district, Son La province”, funded by the US Embassy in Hanoi, aiming to strengthen the role and position of Thai and Hmong ethnic minority women in Moc Chau district, Son La province, was launched. This beautiful mountainous region is close to the Laos border and has good conditions for agricultural development. It has a high diversity of ethnic groups and a great potential for tourism. However, almost no women are heads of enterprises and run usually small businesses with small transactions due to a lack of confidence and knowledge on trading and marketing. Therefore, the project consisted in raising awareness of their agency in society, improving their skills and their access to information. As a result, the Moc Chau women can be actively participate in decision-making process and socio-economic life of the district.
Through 2019, a Women’s Start-up Club was created and trainings were organized to increase their voice as a group of interest. In addition, a web was established to provide information for the club’s members about market prices, consumption places and organic food products sold by women in the district. Finally, a seminar took place on the 6th of December to introduce the portal to local authorities and agricultural enterprises and to link the Women’s Startup Club to local enterprises. This event was the opportunity for CECAD to stay for 3 days in Moc Chau and meet local women enterprises in order to evaluate the success of the project.
The evaluation took the form of a series of surveys, personal interviews and site visits. The planning and financial knowledge and skills of the women were examined to make sure they are able to function independently after the project ends. The first results show that most of women involved have gained confidence in themselves and are more aware of the value of their products on the market. Moreover, they are very satisfied with the new website and will use it as an effective information tool to sell their organic products in Moc Chau region and beyond.