Canada, UNDP Start Initiative Supporting Businesses and Reducing Covid-19 Effects
|Canadian Ambassador Paul Deborah at the event. Photo: UNDP Vietnam|
The UN Development Program, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Embassy of Canada to Vietnam has just launched a project to enhance the resilience of social impact businesses and contribute to reducing the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable groups, especially women and girls.
The project “Leveraging Vietnam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to Covid-19”, ISEE-Covid project, will be implemented in three years with a total budget of CAD 3.1 million (USD 2.44 million) mainly funded by the Global Affairs Canada, and some correspondent fund from UNDP and the Government of Vietnam.
According to VNA, the project will apply an ecosystem approach to tackle the inter-connected and systemic challenges that social impact businesses (SIBs) face. It will improve the capacity of SIBs themselves; build the capacity of and coordination between SIB intermediaries; and strengthen government policy making capacities for enabling SIBs.
The project prioritises support to SIBs in four key industries heavily impacted by Covid-19, namely sustainable agriculture, sustainable tourism, education, and health. These are also areas with a large female workforce and many SIBs offering innovative solutions dedicated to reducing poverty rates among women and girls.
|Representatives of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), and the Embassy of Canada to Vietnam launch the project. Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Canada in Vietnam|
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong said the MPI has implemented many practical programmes and activities to support vulnerable groups and sponsored a number of vulnerable groups. Among them are the program ‘For the community development’, the initiative ‘White Cane for the Blind in Vietnam’, and sponsored a number of vulnerable groups, including social impact businesses like KymViet, Vun Art, Tam Ngoc Cooperative. The Ministry highly appreciates the partnership and support from the Government of Canada, UNDP in launching the ISEE-Covid project, he stressed.
The project is expected contribute to improving the capacity of SIBs, thus helping vulnerable groups including women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities; build capacity and strengthen coordination among intermediaries to support social impact businesses; strengthen the capacity of state agencies in policy formulation and implementation, thus creating favorable conditions for the development of social impact businesses, he remarked.
UNDP’s study in collaboration with the National Economic University and University of Northampton shows that 99% of SIBs employ female staff, while 74% have people from marginalized groups in their workforce. A typical SIB is micro-sized in personnel and revenue and 41% of SIBs’ leaders are female.
The project will apply an ecosystem approach to tackle the inter-connected and systemic challenges that SIBs face.
The new project is expected to support 300 SIBs with seed funding and market access, thus creating potentially 9,000 jobs for vulnerable people. 90 SIBs will benefit from revenue increases and develop plans to cope with Covid and future shocks, while 5 SIBs will have business plans that integrate gender and/or environment and climate change.
Meanwhile, at least four gender responsive policies are expected to be developed or revised. An impact business network of at least 100 members would be established. The network would support an impact measurement and management system pilot for 5-10 SIBs.
|UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen. Photo: UNDP Vietnam|
In her opening remarks, Canadian Ambassador Paul Deborah said SIBs provide incredible value to vulnerable communities in Vietnam in response to Covid-19, as well as contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic development. “Our shared ambition is to improve the effectiveness of SIBs, especially those led by women, as a means to address the social and gendered impacts of Covid-19 as well as strengthen the SIB regulatory environment in order to enhance their social and environmental contributions in the communities they serve,” she underlined.
UNDP Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen highlighted the timeliness of the project in supporting vulnerable groups and businesses in overcoming the prolonged and damaging impacts of the Covid pandemic. She strongly believes that the shared development vision, the commitment of innovation-enabling government, combined with the creativity and innovations of social impact business ecosystem stakeholders will strengthen the resilience and accelerate the development of SIBs in Vietnam.
"With the Covid-19 pandemic, Kymviet has suffered a lot of difficulties. I am very happy and honored to be at the launch of the ISEE-Covid project. I hope KymViet company, as well as other businesses and groups can benefit from the project to create much more social impact and develop sustainably, thus being able to help more people with disabilities," said Pham Viet Hoai, director of KymViet - a craft business for the disabled.
|Pham Viet Hoai, KymViet director speaks at the ceremony. Photo: UNDP Vietnam|
|Pham Viet Hoai, KymViet director presents their company's delicate handicrafts to delegates. Photo: UNDP Vietnam|
Earlier, Canada has donated CAD 50,000 to support female migrant workers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in Binh Duong province
Ambassador Deborah expressed her sympathy with the migrant workers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in Binh Duong, one of the hardest hit provinces in Vietnam. Canada stands in solidarity with Vietnam and is happy to support those in need, she said.
Through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, Canada will support 1,125 disadvantaged female migrant workers including pregnant women and young children affected by the pandemic in the province. Canada's support and help includes food relief packages, necessities and connection support, psychological counseling for female migrant workers affected by Covid.
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