Vietnam, U.S. Partnership Provides Loans to Women Living with HIV/AIDS
HANOI, May 10, 2011 -Women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in Vietnam will gain easier access to small loans to start a business and generate income under a new pilot program sponsored by Tinh Thuong One Member Limited Liability Microfinance Institution (TYM) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
USAID's HIV Workplace Project, development partner Family Health International (FHI), and TYM, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining the partnership that will enable this microfinance institution to mainstream lending to women living with HIV and those affected by HIV. TYM, a leading microfinance service provider in Vietnam affiliated with the Women's Union, will pioneer this lending model.
"The fight against HIV/AIDS requires a combined effort and contributions from Government, communities, donors, and private and social enterprises," said USAID Director Francis Donovan. "This important activity will create easier access to small loans for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS."
Having access to microcredit and savings is an emerging need for people living with HIV and their caregivers who seek self-employment, economic independence, and a smooth re-integration into their communities.
The pilot project will provide technical and financial support for training and referral programs for potential clients of TYM's services. The referral programs will advise existing clients of HIV care and treatment services available in the project areas. Relevant staff members of TYM and HIV-focused service agencies will be trained in the skills and knowledge needed to effectively implement the project. Lending will be co-funded by TYM and USAID through FHI in the first year. Afterwards, TYM will use its own funds to provide continuous services to this target group. This approach will allow the specific target groups to have sustainable access to financial services and increase their access to a reliable source of micro lending.
The pilot project will be implemented in three overlapping regions which currently receive support from USAID and TYM: Nghe An, Ha Noi and Thai Nguyen City. It is expected that after six months of implementation, up to 100 women will receive loans. Under the microfinance scheme, they will repay the loans to TYM according to mutually agreed terms. On average, each loan amount will be about $350 to help beneficiaries start businesses in such areas as small trade, food preparation and sales, tailoring, agriculture and animal husbandry.
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