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Hanoi, 2nd August - SNV Vietnam signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vietnam Women’s Union today. The event marks an important milestone in the long-standing collaboration between the two organisations that jointly contribute to Vietnam's socio-economic development, poverty reduction, gender equality and responding to various challenges such as climate change.

The Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) is an organisation that represents the legal and legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese women across all levels of the society. “Tackling such large problems faced by women requires partnership and cooperation”, says Miguel Mendez, Country Director of SNV in Vietnam. “The 5-year alliance established today will significantly boost our efforts in improving livelihoods for women, while responding to the increasing challenges faced by Vietnam due to a rapidly changing climate.

Areas of collaboration between VWU and SNV include women’s economic empowerment, agriculture, renewable energy and the cross-cutting themes of gender and climate change. In the areas of agriculture and women’s economic empowerment, the partnership will support various activities implemented under the Enhancing opportunities for women enterprises’ (EOWE) project, which is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is implemented in Kenya and Vietnam. In Vietnam, the VWU and SNV will work together to boost agricultural development and reduce gender inequality in economic activities by supporting small and medium sized enterprises and cooperatives that are led by women or employ female labour to access advanced technologies, markets and technical services. In addition, the project targets local actors that play a key role in making positive changes to gender inequality by supporting them to implement gender policies and address socio-economic barriers for female business leaders.

Another programme supported by the partnership agreement in the area of agriculture and women’s economic empowerment is the ‘Women’s economic empowerment through agriculture value chains’ (WEAVE) project, funded by the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and implemented by a consortium of Oxfam, Care and SNV. With support from VWU, SNV and the WEAVE consortium will support women’s economic development and participation in agriculture value chains by focusing on gender transformation and addressing barriers to women’s full participation in economic development.

Under the MoU the parties will also cooperate in the area of renewable energy. An example of their joint efforts is increasing the availability of advanced clean cookstoves in Vietnam, which require considerably less fuel and strongly reduce the amount of hazardous emissions and smoke related to burning solid biomass. The joint activities will be carried out under the ‘Market acceleration of advanced clean cookstoves in the Greater Mekong Sub-regions’ (ACCS) project, which is funded by Energising Development (EnDev), managed by GIZ and implemented by SNV. The aim of the project is to stimulate the Vietnamese market for advanced clean cookstoves and increase access to clean cooking solutions for households in rural areas, thereby improving public’s health and women’s development. The project uses an innovative results-based-financing approach enabling producers to enter the market with low risks and consumers in rural areas to buy high quality advanced clean cookstoves for an affordable price.

As Vietnam is considered one of the countries most affected by climate change and the effects are more severe on women, strengthening the linkage between gender vulnerabilities and climate change is of growing importance. Under the MoU both SNV and VWU committed themselves to collaborate on the joint objective to effectively mainstream gender equality and women’s empowerment into national programmes responding to climate change, in particular in the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and in the National Adaptation Plan (NAP).