Aus4Equality|GREAT program

About The Gender-Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) Program is an AUD 33.7 million (equivalent to VND 600 billion) investment from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Vietnam to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, with a specific focus on ethnic minority women. The Program aims to improve the socio-economic status of women living in north-west Vietnam through increased participation in, and incomes derived from, growing agriculture and tourism markets. It is implemented from 2017 to 2021 with the aim of:
  • Empowering local women;
  • Promoting Inclusive business partnerships;
  • Improving sector governance and policy.
The Program is implemented in Lao Cai and Son La provinces of the Northwest Vietnam. Find more about our Provincial Engagement Strategy in Lao Cai here, and in Son La here.

Who we are

The Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) is a flagship initiative funded  the Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and managed by DFAT-appointed Managing CowaterSogema Int., Inc. The Provincial People’s Committees (PPCs) of Son La and Lao Cai provinces are the program’s key counterparts. A Vice-chairperson of each PPC is member of a joint GREAT Steering Committee that approves the annual work plan and budget and meets formally every six months to discuss the program progress. Within each province a Project Management Unit (PMU) works collaboratively with CowaterSogema. The PMUs provide an essential coordination and liaison role. Various departments and agencies in each province also participate in the program as members of the PMU. They include:
  • Department of Planning and Investment (DPI);
  • The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD);
  • The Department of Culture and Tourism (DCST);
  • The Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA);
  • The Women’s Union.

Where we work

The GREAT Program is implemented in two provinces of Son La and Lao Cai in the mountainous Northwest Vietnam, a home to diverse ethnic minority populations. Son La and Lao Cai currently derive most of their provincial income from the agriculture, tourism, services, industry and mining sectors. Of these, tourism and agriculture offer the greatest potential for women to enter and progress economically, given the unique opportunities in these sectors across Northwest Vietnam. However women in this region are experiencing challenges such as market isolation, lack of access to quality services and support, lower levels of education and cultural and social norms, which prevent them from accessing economic opportunities. They have a predominant role in tourism and agriculture, yet their economic returns are typically low. The GREAT Program will focus on amplifying the following strengths and opportunities for women in this region:
  • Women’s already significant productive role in agriculture, and nascent involvement in production groups;
  • The engagement of ethnic minorities in niche smallholder production and community-based services, such as catering;
  • The burgeoning tourism market and infrastructure, particularly in Lao Cai, which provides women with opportunities to transition to village-based or off-farm employment and income.
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