Policy credit: A direct support tool for women to get rich

Supporting women in economic development as a direct tool to address gender inequality is the point of view and the goal that the Bank for Social Policies and the Vietnam Women's Union are aiming for through the implementation of social policy credit programmes over the years.
Bay Len vegetarian food production facility in Dong Thap province borrows social policy credit for production and business development, creating stable and sustainable jobs for female workers. (Photo: Vietnam+)

Supporting women in economic development as a direct tool to address gender inequality is the point of view and the goal that the Bank for Social Policies and the Vietnam Women's Union are aiming for through the implementation of social policy credit programmes over the years.

When women "roll up their sleeves" to do business

Coming to Lai Chau, the stories of ethnic minority women "rolling up their sleeves" and work together with their husbands to develop the family economy is not uncommon. La Thi Nhung's family in Dong Phong village, Then Sin commune, Tam Duong district, is an example. In the past, although the couple worked hard, their annual income was still not enough to make end meet.

In 2018, Nhung made a bold decision. She followed the advice of the head of the savings group and the commune’s Women's Union to take a loan of 50 million VND from the Bank for Social Policies to invest in a grocery store to serve villagers.

Nhung then has expanded her store and sold more kinds of goods. Her family's income also increased accordingly, reaching an average of 100 million VND/year.

With support from social policy capital, many ethnic minority women in Lai Chau have boldly changed their ways of farming, applying new economic models towards clean products, safety and environmental protection, with high added value.

Making full use of policy capital

According to the Women's Union of Lai Chau province, currently, the association is managing nearly 400 savings and loan groups for 12,590 households with total outstanding loans at the branch of the Bank for Social Policies in Lai Chau province reaching nearly 700 billion VND. Policy capital has been promoted in the movement "Women help each other for economic development and sustainable poverty reduction," in the 2016-2020 period, which has helped more than 500 households get out of poverty, contributing to reducing the overall poverty rate in the province by nearly 4.78% a year. The members’ material and spiritual life has been improved, contributing to the general economic development of the province.

Women actively participate in saving money at the Bank for Social Policies. (Photo: Vietnam+)

Not only in Lai Chau, the flow of policy capital through the Women's Union at all levels is also "soaking" into the life from urban areas to remote areas, islands, etc., gradually enhancing women’s position in the family and society.

The quality of social policy credit is increasingly improved. Annually, 100% of Women's Unions at all levels build inspection and supervision plans according to regulations. In addition, the association also cooperated with the Bank for Social Policies to organize training courses in building capacity on client assessment process, capital management and banking procedures. In 2021 alone, 2,400 training classes were organized, with over 75,000 members and heads of savings and loan groups participating.

The results of this effort are clearly shown in the outcomes of the association's activities. As of December 31, 2021, the entrusted outstanding balance of loans provided through the Women's Union reached 93,991 billion VND, accounting for 38.41% of the total entrusted loan balance, an increase of 7,040 billion VND compared to the end of 2020. Overdue debt is also the lowest, accounting for only 0.19% of frozen debt accounts for 0.36% of total entrusted loans.

There are 62,852 savings and loan groups managed by the Women's Union, which has contributed to bringing policy capital to 2.4 million customers. In addition, 99.99% of savings and loan groups have members participating in savings deposits with a balance of 6,160 billion VND, up 768 billion VND compared to 2020.

The Women's Union will continue to focus on advising the competent authorities to promulgate, amend and supplement mechanisms and policies related to social policy credit in line with the requirements of socio-economic development and implement national target programmes for the period of 2021-2025. The association also continues to coordinate with authorities at all levels, relevant agencies and units to effectively integrate social policy credit into local socio-economic development models, programmes and projects.

In addition, the association also actively participates in science and technology transfer activities as well as programmes in agriculture, forestry, fishery, salt production, vocational training, product marketing, building and duplication of typical production and business models to help borrowers use capital effectively, create new jobs, increase incomes, contributing to the successful implementation of national target programmes, and ensure social security.