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UNDP, the Women's Union of Bac Lieu and Ca Mau Provinces support workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

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28 January 2021 – The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Bac Lieu Provincial People's Committee, and the Bac Lieu provincial Women's Union held a ceremony to inaugurate a new road in Kim Chau hamlet, Vinh Trach commune, Bac Lieu city. This is a model of co-financing by the Government of Viet Nam and UNDP under the project "Promoting human security - leaving no one behind through an integrated response with COVID-19 in Viet Nam" funded by the Government of Japan to assist poor and near-poor people facing socio-economic impacts due to COVID-19. The 325 workers directly participating in the project's activities in Bac Lieu province each received an average income of 4.6 million VND. This assistance benefitted an estimated 1,700 local people by enabling the workers and their households to meet their essential needs.

On the same day, UNDP, the People's Committee of Ca Mau province, and the Women's Union also inaugurated the An Giang Kenh Xang Bridge, Sao Luoi hamlet in Nguyen Viet Khai commune, Phu Tan district. This is one of 16 public construction activities in Ca Mau province that support poor and near poor people in Ca Mau as part of UNDP's response to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Viet Nam. More than 1,400 people in difficult circumstances have been participating in the project's activities in Ca Mau province. Each of these employees receives an average income of 1.4 million VND. In addition, around 25,000 people in these communities will benefit when the construction works are put into use.

Due to COVID-19, Viet Nam’s agricultural sector has suffered severely such as market impacts, labor shortages, and fluctuations of inputs and output prices. Domestic and global markets have been disrupted, resulting in a significant reduction of agricultural and aquacultural product export turnover, including fish and shrimp which are the famous products of the Mekong Delta. Many people, particularly those from poor households, ethnic minorities, migrant workers, and those working in the informal sector, have seen their employment, incomes, and livelihoods impacted.

Attending these two events, Ms. Sitara Syed, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Viet Nam said “Earning cash is important for poor and near-poor households to buy essential items, to fund schooling and cover medical care. At the same time, the Government has been able to reduce the investment cost for critical infrastructure while also successfully engaging private sectors in co-funding for public welfare works. Communities have better bridges and roads that facilitate access to education, healthcare, trade, tourism, and everyday life.” “These rural roads and bridges are a tangible outcome of the hard work, dedication, and coordination of all stakeholders. While it may take some time for communities to fully recover from the pandemic’s impacts, we believe in and are committed to supporting a bright, green, and sustainable future for the people of Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces, in which no one is left behind.”

“The City People's Committee has spent a lot of investment resources, combined with the mobilization to build rural roads, and expand roads to improve transportation. However, due to limited resources, the current road system has mainly deteriorated, affecting the needs of people to transport and deliver goods. Therefore, having flat and durable roads is a need and a concern of the local authority and people for many years” Ms. Cao Xuan Thu Van, Vice chairwoman of Bac Lieu Provincial People’s Committee stated.

“The project supports to pay cash for work for people participating in the construction of three rural roads in two communes of Vinh Trach, Vinh Trach Dong in Bac Lieu city with a length of 4,361 meters (of which, the road of Kim Chau hamlet has a length of 2,167 meters). Other workers in communes and wards of Bac Lieu city who participated in making masks for free distribution to the community to protect against COVID-19 also received the cash for work,” Ms. Truong Hong Trang, Bac Lieu Provincial Women’s Union President said.

A representative of the beneficiaries, Ms. Lam Thi Hai, a Khmer lady shared “this was a dirt road. When it rained, it was very difficult for us to go. Now there is this new road, I am very happy.” She also added, “In the past, my husband worked as a laborer taking care of cows for others, and I was cooking for a kindergarten. Our normal daily income was 70,000 - 80,000 VND. However, due to the COVID-19, we had no income. When participating in this construction activity, we have income for our daily life.”

Mr. Le Van Su, Vice Chairman of Ca Mau province expressed his sincere thanks to UNDP's supportive projects in Ca Mau. “We look forward to continuing to receive practical support such as recovery support after COVID-19, mangrove rehabilitation support, and livelihood improvement in the coming time to help better people's lives."

“Thanks to the support of UNDP and the Government of Japan, we have been able to build rural constructions such as bridges, roads. The district's budget is very limited, so without such support, it is difficult for us to build a bridge for people to travel,” Ms. Tran Thi Kieu Yen, Ca Mau Provincial Women's Union President said.

“We have no income affected by COVID-19. Every day I work as a hired laborer, but due to translation, I stay at home. Thanks to the support of this project, I have income from iron making and other construction assistance. And I received 5 million Dong from the post office for my 20 working days,” said Pham Van Lac and Pham Thi Anh, from Sao Luoi Hamlet. She thanked her for the bridge for children to go to school more convenient and for people to travel more easily. Because the old bamboo bridge is difficult and dangerous to travel.

With the generous funding of the Government of Japan, the activities of supporting cash for work to the poor, the people with difficulties, and ethnic minorities have been implemented by UNDP in Ha Giang, Bac Lieu, and Ca Mau provinces. Particularly in Ha Giang, UNDP has supported cash for work to build 26.5 km of new rural roads connecting 17 villages of the communes of Na Khe, Lao And Chai, Dong Minh, Huu Vinh, Ngam La, and Du Gia with Yen Minh district and Lung Tao and Sinh Lung communes and Dong Van district. More than 1,200 poor ethnic minorities whose livelihoods severely affected by the COVID-19 have gained additional income and more than 8,000 people have benefited from this support in Ha Giang province.

For more information, please contact:

Phan Huong Giang

UNDP Media and Communication Analyst, Climate Change and Environment

Email: phan.huong.giang@undp.org; Mob: 0948466688