The cooperation between "world in harmony" - Spain and the Vietnam women's union

"World In Harmony" (WIH) is an international voluntary charitable non-governmental organization based in Madrid, Spain, founded by H.E Princess Irene of Greek since 1986.

WIH works for a world in harmony, free from political or religious purposes to ensure happiness and good health, good morals for all people in the world, irrespective of their races, nationalities, religions or political ideology. To show solidarity with the disadvanced people in developing countries, WIH advocates and coordinates resources from the developed countries to the developing countries to address imperative needs of poor people. Up to now, WIH has sponsored projects for more than 20 countries, ranging from promotion of small manufacturing, "cottage" industries; provision of drinking water and construction of irrigation networks; support of food, clothing and medicines for emergency relief.


Establishing its cooperation with VWU in early 90's, WIH has provided support to the Vietnamese women and children, especially to vulnerable groups. Through VWU, WIH has provided 170 boxes of powdered milk (totally over 2 tones) for 2 orphanages in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city and provided an amount of US$16,000 for 300 poor families in Quang Ninh province as revolving loans for vegetable growing project. Then, WIH funded Huong Khe district, Ha Tinh province a project o­n establishment of a training center for disabled women and children with the budget of US$10,000. In 1998, WIH donated US$10,000 for an emergency aid to poor women who were victims of Linda Typhoon in Thuan Hoa, Ca Mau province.


So remarkable is WIH assistance towards the Dairy Development Project (Dairy Project) in Ba Vi district, Ha Tay province which was initiated by H.E Princess Irene of Greek in 1993 at her first visit to Vietnam. The project has applied the Anand cooperative model from India to assist farmers to generate their income through promotion of dairy cow raising, milk processing and business, thus improving the livelihood and reduction of malnourishment for women and children in Ba Vi district, Ha Tay province.


Up to 2003, WIH funded to purchase 100 quality dairy cows and provided required equipment and transportation as well as training of the project staff and project beneficiaries. VWU also got assistance from various institutions as Spain Ministry of Agriculture with over 20,000 dose of sperm for cow breeding (thanks to WIH advocacy), the National Centre of Inter-institution Milk Economy (CNIEL, France) with an equipment chain for milk bacterilization and package valued at US$ 145,000, French Organization for Child Protection and Care (AFSEA) with US$10,000 for milk packaging materials, the Grand - Saconnex commune (Switzerland) supported US$ 5,000 and CHF 5,000 (equivalent to US$ 8,500) for training of farmers.


In terms of dairy cows raising and milk processing techniques, VWU has collaborated closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, through Agricultural Extension department, Institute of Husbandry and Bavi Cattle and Forest Research Center in surveying for cow purchase, in training and counseling o­n dairy cows caring and milk processing...


More important, the project has set up successfully a cooperative for dairy cows farmers. The cooperative provides its members with packaged services for promotion of their production and protection of farmers' rights in accordance to the State’s regulations.


Up to now, 3 cooperatives have been set up namely: “Harmony Cooperative 1” (since 1993); “Harmony Cooperative 2” (since 1996); and “Van Hoa Cooperative” (since 1997) in Tan Linh and Van Hoa communes, Ba Vi district with 152 members in total. The cowherd has also increased from 166 (100 cows funded by WIH and 66 cows bought by cooperative members). Up to now, 357 dairy cows can give an annual milk productivity from 3,000 - 4,000kg/cow, excluding the number of breed cows and bulls sold to farmers in the surrounding areas.


Besides, the Project also established a milk bacterilization workshop with sophisticated bacterilization packaging equipment and transportation, thus enabling farmers to have good marketing.


After 10-year implementation, the project has gained encouraging results: increased cowherd, better knowledge o­n cow raising and milk processing techniques for farmers... Cooperative members' life has been improved with better income compared to non-members. According to the survey conducted o­n impacts of the project in April 2003, the average annual income per head is VND2, 275,000 including incomes from dairy cows raising and other economic activities. With the mentioned-above incomes, the percentage of better-off standard households is 16.55%; average/medium is 74.82% and under average is 8.63% among whom, the later had faced risks in either cow raising, cow death, cow's diseases or delayed birth giving... Besides, the cooperatives members have chance for experiences exchanges and sharing. Trained farmers are keen to share their knowledge to others. These activities have helped to strengthen the cooperation among families in the locality. Among 118 women members of cooperatives, 101 women are Women's Union members, accounting for 87.13%.


The valuable cooperation and assistance given by WIH are so significant to assist farmers, especially poor women in economic empowerment, improvement of their living standard, reduction of malnourished rate in women and children. The project has built up the model cooperative specialized in dairy cows raising and milk processing with appropriate services to gather women and their families into effective dairy business as well as to contribute to strengthening VWU at the grassroots level.