Many of ACCI's programs provide vocational training, micro-enterprise opportunities and support to generate sustainable incomes. These avenues develop personal and community resilience, and provide people with viable alternatives to exploitative and unstable labour hire through:
- Direct income generation opportunities that are dependent on local, rather than global markets, and
- Access to skills that increase ability to secure fair and safe employment.
AOGWR Vietnam Pay-It-Forward Program: Local Income Generation Through Animal Husbandy
In rural parts of Danang, Vietnam, where ACCI Field Workers Paul and Deb Hilton and Kelvin and Rebekah Windsor are based, many Vietnamese face uncertain employment prospects. Although urban poverty is visible in Vietnam, rural poverty is generally much more extensive. Rural populations rely on agriculture and farm income for their livelihood, yet they control very little farmland. This lack of control translates into uncertainty, food insecurity and an unwillingness to take risks (1), as there is little room for failure when income is so scarce.
Inability to source reliable income in rural areas means many people - men, women and youth - seek jobs elsewhere, migrating to cities in Vietnam or to other countries. Poverty and limited skills suited to urban labour markets can make rural economic migrants subject to exploitation in various forms. Employment options available to them typically have poor working conditions and pay, such as the garment, footwear and textile industries in Vietnam - an employer of over one million people.
Aware of these issues, AOGWR Vietnam - led by Paul and Deb Hilton - is seeking to provide alternative pathways. They have developed a Pay-It-Forward Livestock Program, which promotes local income generation through animal husbandry. This initiative aims to catalyse sustainable, profitable and lasting change in rural communities.
The program helps families to start small businesses breeding livestock, which can provide them with a much-needed and ongoing income source. Each beneficiary family receives 'seed' livestock to begin their small business. In addition, a representative of each family attends a series of training sessions on the specific care required for their livestock. This income generation program is a 'Pay-It-Forward' system where the initial recipient of livestock, such as a piglet, will give 2 healthy piglets to other villagers once their stock numbers increase. These families will then do the same over time.
As a result, the wider village benefits and the local economic situation develops and strengthens. This allows communities to by-pass some of the vulnerabilities created by globalised trade; avoiding exploitative labour conditions, and engaging in markets on their own terms rather than out of necessity. Building local economies and skills for local employment avoids dependence on fluctuating global prices and markets. Farmers and local labourers receive a fair portion of profit from their labour, as they sell or trade directly with consumers in the same currency without losing profit to middle-men or retailers.
Through this program, AOGWR Vietnam aims to increase the level of income, employment opportunities, food security and nutrition for many rural Vietnamese families.
1. Employment for Rural Youth in Asia and the Pacific. Accessed online at http://www.yesweb.org/docs/rdbook.pdf