Burdened by the demands of raising their children without the means to earn an income, young mothers in poor regions of Vietnam can end up trapped in a cycle of poverty with little hope of a better life. However, with even basic financial literacy, young women can truly take control of their lives and plan for their futures. Additionally, with financial security comes a tremendous sense of empowerment. Over time, the community starts to see these young women and girls as valuable contributors to their households rather than as financial burdens.
We partnered with the Vietnam Women’s Union to set up Village Savings and Loan (VSL) associations in two of the poorest provinces in central Vietnam: Quang Tri and Quang Binh. The project targeted 22 communities and improved the economic security of 11,000 households.
We created 625 sustainable VSL groups that now operate independently without continued support from Plan. We have also connected with partners in Vietnam and overseas to share best practices of VSL methodology.
And we didn’t stop there—we used VSL groups as platforms to address other pervasive societal issues, such as gender-based violence and health and sanitation.
While traditional microcredit focuses solely on lending, VSL associations give women and girls the opportunity to save money for the first time in their lives. Using simple, straightforward VSL methods that are accessible to multiple individuals regardless of educational background, we continue to work with communities to create dynamic, relevant groups to help young women develop financial literacy and plan for their futures.