Aus4EqualityUpdatesGREAT Reflect and Refocus Workshop in Son La and Lao Cai Provinces

GREAT Reflect and Refocus Workshop in Son La and Lao Cai Provinces

In December 2019, the GREAT Program organised Reflect and Refocus workshops in Son La and Lao Cai.  At the two workshops, the latest findings from GREAT’s beneficiary study were shared and GREAT partners proactively discussed the challenges faced in project implementation as well as the root causes and potential solutions.

Particularly for women in some ethnic groups, a lack of literacy in Vietnamese is a barrier to access information.  An estimated 78% of Mong women beneficiaries cannot read and write Vietnamese compared to 35% of Mong males. The GREAT level beneficiary survey also found that 46% of Mong women were not able to speak Vietnamese compared to 5% of Mong males. Vietnamese literacy rates amongst Dao women (47%) and Nung women (60%) beneficiaries were also relatively low.

“From the experiences of working with the Red Dao people and being a Red Dao woman myself, I realise that in order to transfer knowledge and skills effectively, it is necessary to use ethnic minority language to communicate with ethnic minority people, for example in training materials. In addition, using easy-to-understand visual instructions to vividly describe the production process is also recommended”, shared Ms. Ly Lo May, Sapanapro Company. The use of technology including smart phone apps was also discussed as a way to address communication and training challenges.

Several private sector partners also faced challenges in establishing effective farmer groups when expanding to new areas. The opportunity to engage more effectively with mass organisations and district or commune level government was discussed as a solution as they can play an important role in ensuring that groups function well.

The workshop was also a chance to share project successes with the combined effort of partners providing training to 19,981 women across Son La and Lao Cai on technical and business topics through to December 2019. Other highlights include:

  • A total of 5,885 men and women participated in training on gender and women’s economic empowerment
  • 1,286 women were trained on group leadership skills
  • 12,242 women became part of business networks such as production groups, collective groups, tourism service groups or cooperatives.
  • A total of 372 business groups have already been formed
  • 6,787 women were provided with better access to productive resources and inputs, such as seedlings and fertiliser
  • 3,129 hectares of production area has been expanded or upgraded to new agricultural standards

The next GREAT Reflect and Refocus workshop is scheduled for June 2020.