More than 350 female domestic workers in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Haiphong, and Danang received cash and training assistance with a total value of NZD$50,000 ($35,740) to overcome COVID-19 impacts.
|New Zealand Embassy and CARE provide financial support to female workers in the informal economy to bounce back better from COVID-19 |
The female workers, currently working with JupViec.vn, a technology company providing on-demand house cleaning services via a mobile phone app. The partnership between the New Zealand Embassy and CARE International in Vietnam supports workers in the informal economy to ease their financial stress and strengthen their resilience during the pandemic.
“This project demonstrates the strong partnership between New Zealand and Vietnam,” said New Zealand Chargé d’Affaires Joseph Mayhew. “This is a practical initiative to help ease the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Haiphong, and Danang migrant workers and their families, who are among the most economically vulnerable groups during the pandemic.”
Over the last year, the pandemic and the uncertain recovery prospects have aggravated the already precarious livelihoods of informal workers and put their coping mechanisms to the test. The cash assistance will help cover overdue rents, settle debt, attend to medical needs, and pay for children’s tuition, among other immediate financial stresses. In addition, the initiative provides workers with knowledge and skills in financial management to support their financial decision-making in uncertain times, and financial well-being in the longer term.
According to the United Nations Assessment of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 in Vietnam has been uneven. Female-headed households of informal sector workers, together with ethnic minority households, showed the slowest rates of economic recovery. The General Statistics Office of Vietnam’s latest statistics have also revealed that although the labour market is starting to recover, it has not reached the pre-pandemic levels and the number of those in informal employment increased in 2020 after years of continuous decline, reaching 20.9 million workers in the last quarter of 2020.
“We believe that supporting female informal workers is supporting those among the hardest hit by the pandemic but also those at the forefront of economic recovery. Their resilience and micro-entrepreneurship are vital to a robust recovery that is inclusive and equitable,” said Le Kim Dung, country director, CARE International in Vietnam.
“2020 was an unprecedented year with COVID-19’s economic fallout permeating all layers of society, especially those with little to cushion the persistent shocks and disruptions. I thank the New Zealand Embassy and CARE for your timely and meaningful direct support to our workers, not only during the peak period but also during recovery. We believe that a healthy, skilled, and resilient workforce is vital to businesses such as ourselves and the local economy as we bolster efforts to pull through risks from COVID-19 resurgence and ensure a quick and strong recovery,” said Phan Hong Minh, CEO of JupViec.vn.
In 2020, Vietnam saw a 10-year record high unemployment rate of 2.48 per cent, up 0.31 per centage points against the previous year. Among the unemployed, 51.6 per cent were women.