Partnership between Australia International Women’s Development Agency and Vietnam Women’s Union

International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) founded in 1985 and based in Melbourne, Australia is one of the first Australian women’s non-governmental development organizations established partnership with the Vietnam Women’s Union.

IWDA works for the rights and advancement of women, particularly disadvantaged women in developing countries, to build their confidence and promote their active participation in socio-economic development in their respective countries. Funds for IWDA activities are mainly from its efforts in fund raising different sources for donation and assistance by the Australian people and government. Currently, Australia Agency for International Development (AusAID) is the main donor for IWDA projects in developing countries, including Vietnam.


Since late 1980s, IWDA has established partnership with the Vietnam Women’s Union several project through a number of projects for poverty alleviation, capacity building, improvement of women’s skills, protection of eco-system and living environment.


During 1989 - 2002, IWDA helped the Vietnam Women’s Union several micro credit integrated projects such as “Pig raising” for women in Lang Son province, “Reforestation project” for women in Ha Bac, “Credit and savings and Enterprise Development for women” in Hanoi and Nghe an, “Women’s Food Production” in Hung Yen and Ha Tay provinces with a total fund of USD 800,000 benefiting thousands of needy women. These projects finished but their models and Revolving Loan Funds are still operating in the project sites.


IWDA assistance to the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) focused not o­nly in credit, savings and income generation for targeted women, but also in capacity strengthening for VWU. During 1994 – 1995, in preparation for VWU to effectively participate in the national, regional and international forums, particularly NGO Forum of the UN 4th Conference o­n Women in Beijing (China) in September 1995, IWDA supported VWU a strategic project entitled “Beijing and Beyond” with the total amount of A$ 50,000. With this project, in 1995, VWU sent a representative to attend the Meeting of Women’s Status Commission in New York, another 4 delegates to NGO Forum in Beijing and conducted a number of training courses for VWU key staff in preparation for their participation in the Beijing Conference. Through this project, many VWU staff has improved their knowledge and skills o­n planning, management, lobby and negotiation.


To improve VWU capacity in evaluation, analysis and planning for micro-finance projects, during 2001 - 2002, IWDA supported VWU a research project to study the impacts of VWU-IWDA Micro-Credit and Enterprise Development projects during last decade.


Recognizing the important role played by women in agricultural production, realizing women’s poor knowledge and information o­n safer chemical useand its hazard, and side effects to women and community’ health, IWDA has supported VWU a project o­n Safer Farming in Bac Ninh province with A$ 200,000 for the period 2000 – 2002 to help women and community to address health risks associated to inappropriate use of chemicals in agriculture, contributing to theprotection of eco-living environment.


With new approach to economically empower women by micro enterprise development, IWDA is supporting women in Tuyen Quang a 3-year project “Rural Development for a future without Poverty” with the total funds of A$ 300,000 for 2002 – 2005.


VWU highly appreciates the effective and valuable assistance and partnership offered by IWDA, AusAID and Australian people so far. Particularly, IWDA supported-projects have helped VWU to build up various integrated models for poor women, enabling them accessible to credit services and appropriate technologies for their business and production development. By involving in these projects, many women are now able to access to the official credit service that before they could not approach.

IWDA’s assistance in Vietnam in coming years is to continue its partnership with VWU to enhance its capacity for policy advocacy and to promote VWU at local levels in better management of development project for women.