The Mekong Vitality Expanded (MVE) Alliance is a two-year savings-led microfinance project aimed at assisting economically disadvantaged women in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. USAID’s participation builds on an existing partnership of The Coca-Cola Foundation and Pact that alleviates poverty through WORTH, Pact’s award-winning women’s empowerment and livelihoods model. This project contributes to USAID/Vietnam Country Development Cooperative Strategy’s goal of promoting inclusive growth through expanded opportunities for vulnerable populations. The expanded partnership will include the addition of mobile technology solutions and deeper business skills training for many of the women participating in WORTH.
The Alliance focuses on transforming women from microenterprise operators to entrepreneurs and business leaders by equipping them with an understanding of sound business practices and market forces, including trade-related opportunities.
Since women entrepreneurs are less likely to have access to physical networks and connective technologies such as the internet or cellular data networks, the project pairs business training with smart phone technology to provide access to training reinforcements and basic business information, while supporting social networks with additional communication tools.
Women’s empowerment groups are an important opportunity for socialization and networking, as women are less likely than men to effectively access social networks vital for business growth. The Alliance builds critical networks for participants by linking likeminded women in settings designed to foster sharing, innovation and support through in-person meetings, mentoring, and training, including the use of mobile technology for communications.
The Alliance aims to see an increase in financial literacy of the women engaged; more access to capital through savings-led microfinance and community banking; growth in microenterprise through deeper business skills training and improved linkages to trade and markets; and a better understanding how access to and application of technology can support women’s microenterprise development and strengthen community-based access to capital.