International Development Week

TAP-EDM in Vietnam

Our Canadian Expert Robby Tulus – helping to implement one of our TAP-EDM initiatives, came back from visiting a small weaving co-op in South Vietnam last month, and shared some of his thoughts and impressions.

Field Study during TAP EDM’s Co-operative Project in Vietnam

By Robby Tulus

A weaving co-operative in a remote village of Dong Thap province in South Vietnam, close to the Cambodian border, depicts hardworking women to produce scarfs and a variety of fabrics. A field survey was carried out recently as part of Alinea’s Technical Assistance Program, funded by Global Affairs Canada, in Vietnam. The remoteness of the village, and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, have reduced the co-op revenues quite considerably. Active cooperation is thus needed from well-established consumer co-operatives in cities to market their product. In addition to empowering these industrious women members of the Long Khanh weaving co-operative, these members also  need more attention by co-op agencies and local government to reduce the harmful effects of the loud clattering noise coming from these weaving machines. Earplugs (if not headphones) may well be one of the appropriate solutions to avoid potential phonophobia.

The Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP) initiative with two Canadian cooperative experts, Michael Casey and Robby Tulus is working with the Government of Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment to evaluate its existing cooperative law and provide evidence-based, contextualized input into its new legislation.

Of particular focus is research on the participation of women and marginalized groups in cooperatives, the role cooperatives play in climate change and climate action, and the importance, value, and social and economic benefits of applying international cooperative principles in the establishment of cooperatives. A combined workshop and training exercise with the Ministry of Planning will review the recommendations from this research. The goal is that most, if not all, of these recommendations, make their way into the coop law amendments.

For more information, see the project profile – Revision of Vietnam’s Cooperative Law.

A weaving co-operative in a remote village of Dong Thap province in South Vietnam.

2nd Entry - TAP Blog

Viet Cuong Co-Operative – Vermicelli production contributing to Food Security in Vietnam

By Robby Tulus

Vietnam restaurants could be found in almost all big cities in Canada and presumably all over the world. In addition to the most popular Vietnamese “Pho Noodle Soup” that is so ubiquitous, the “Vermicelli Noodle Dish” is another yummy one. However, very few consumers in Western countries are possibly aware how complex and meticulous organic vermicelli is actually produced in Vietnam.

A team from Alinea TAP EDM Project, funded by Global Affairs, visited a successful co-operative in Thai Nguyen Province producing vermicelli in a manual and labor-intensive fashion using simple machineries. This “Viet Cuong Co-operative” produces high quality vermicelli with ready markets in cities all over the country. A fine example how this co-operative is not just contributing to job creation locally in Hoa Thuong district of Thai Nguyen, but also promoting food sufficiency and security in Vietnam.

The pictures below bear witness to the laborious production process of this staple food. Underneath the vermicelli drying platforms lie a giant fishpond surrounded by herbage that adds nutrition to local people when they are being harvested, not to mention the environment-friendly way of maximizing the existing land area. Interestingly, the sound of barking dogs in cages could be heard all over the production site. They are not pets but an army of vicious dogs to guard the premises against potential thieves when premises are closed after business hours.

Drying platform at a Viet Cuong Co-Operative – Vermicelli production.
Drying Platform - “Viet Cuong Co-operative.”
Mesh-drying platform - “Viet Cuong Co-operative.”