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The project at a glance.


Sustainable Livelihoods for women in Northern Vietnam

CCA has been working in Vietnam on this project since 2011.  

The current project partners CCA with local microfinance institutions to empower socio-economically disadvantaged women and their families in some of the poorest provinces in Northern Vietnam.  


By providing loans, insurance, training and business development support to these women they are exposed to markets, technology and

financing they otherwise would not have access to.  


More than 100,000 women and their families are having their lives impacted and futures strengthened through this project.


CCA's partners in this project include:

CFRC-Community Finance Resource Centre

TYM Fund - Tao Yeu May or "people loving people"

MACDI - The Microfinance and Community Development Institute 

Nominations for CCA Board
Are you passionate about international development? A dedicated co-operator? 
CCA is seeking nominations for new board members.  Deadline Feb 28, 2014. 
Global Co-operator Award

Do you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the international development work of the Canadian
Co-operative Association or the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada?  
If so, why not nominate them for CCA's Global
Co-operator Award!


Connect Co-ops and Build the Movement
This March, the Ontario Co-operative Association is hosting 3 full-day regional conferences to connect co-ops:


Ottawa - March 18th in partnership with the Ottawa Co-op Network
- March 20th
London - March 27thin
partnership with
Libro Credit Union
 CDF Auction Items Needed
The next CDF online auction will be taking place in March to celebrate Women's Day (March 8th).
Donations of items are being accepted so take advantage of this wonderful positioning opportunity! 
Build a Better World
CDF website


Help the Co-operative Development Foundation continue the legacy of the UN 2012 International Year of 
Co-operatives. Together we
build a better world.  


Volume 8 Number 02, February 10, 2014


International Development Week 2014 #IDW14 



Last week was all about celebrating and learning how Canada and Canadians are making a difference in the world.  


An annual event, International Development Week (or IDW) was sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and encourages Canadians to learn about Canada's role in international development.  During the week CCA highlighted the work we are doing around the world, and thanking all the people that help us do it.


International Development Week is over but the work continues. Below is a story from one of our projects in Vietnam. It is great example of how when women are given access to training and resources it releases their potential to succeed.


Ms tien grows hibiscus


Luong Thi Tien is a young woman who lives in the Dien Bien province in Northern Vietnam.  She has a young daughter and earns income by growing hibiscus flowers.   Tien can be seen smiling serenely as she poses, picking the beautiful hibiscus flowers on the cover of a brochure for hibiscus tea.  This happy, beautiful picture with her colourful pink and green shirt contrasting with the plants she is surrounded by, belies the suffering she has endured in her 24 years.


Tien was 16 years old when she was forced into marrying a man she did not know.  Several months after the marriage, Tien's new husband became very ill and she discovered he was infected with HIV.  Tien's  husband passed away not long after their daughter was born. As if this was not enough hardship for a young woman, Tien's life hit rock bottom when she discovered she too had contracted the HIV virus.  Desperate to escape, Tien admits she considered suicide but her family and young daughter encouraged her to not give up, so she began antiretroviral treatment.  Owning no assets herself, she continued to live with her parents and help them to raise pigs, grow rice and other vegetables on their small lot of land.


In October 2012 Tien was offered a lifeline, she was approached by CFRC (Community Finance Resource Center, one of CCA's partner in Vietnam) who had extended their services to people living with HIV.   Through the CFRC program, Tien was able to borrow money to buy a herd of pigs.  Her own pigs.  After four months she sold the pigs for a profit of over $500 CAD.  Yet this was only the beginning of her changed fortunes.


In 2013 CFRC began a partnership with a hibiscus tea company based in Hanoi, the Thao Moc Company. This pilot project benefited the CFRC members, through training and income,  while at the same time the Thao Moc Company gained much needed hibiscus growers and markets. Tien heard about the project and volunteered to be part of this pilot along with seven other local women, ranging in age from 24 - 52.  The women were all members of CFRC's microfinance program and had access to land.  Tien planted one hectare of her family's land in hibiscus and, along with the rest of the women, was trained in growing and processing techniques by Madam Mai Thi Tan, a pioneer in developing hibiscus in Vietnam.  Business management and marketing training was also provided by CFRC. 


The group harvested their first crop and with support from families and CFRC were able to package, market and sell the entire five ton crop.  By the end of 2013 the group had made more than $7000 (CAD) in revenue. Tien has grand plans to reinvest her share in more hibiscus crops and maybe even a coffee shop where her family can sell hibiscus tea products.  Tien may have been through a lot of heartache in her 24 years but her serene smile is genuine; she is a mother, a survivor and now a successful business owner with no limits to her future.


This extraordinary pilot has now expanded and not surprisingly has a waiting list of women wanting to join. The hibiscus growers are now being trained in forming a co-operative so once the project is phased out they will be able to support each other and sustain this success.



Want to know more about the hibiscus tea growers and their success? Check out their fabulous website. 


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This publication is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through
Foreign Affairs, Trade and  Development Canada.