In the island district of Cu Lao Dung of Soc Trang Province Finnish Ambassador Hyvönen rode a motorbike on snaking paths to visit poor and returned women who have benefited from the Embassy funded project Anti-trafficking of Women and Children in Soc Trang Province.
The €170 000 project in 2004-2009 has brought about positive results of implementation in 3 districts of Ke Sach, Vinh Chau and Cu Lao Dung. Among various activities, a network of 240 volunteers in the project districts has been very active in providing communication and consultancy services to the target groups. 127 women at risk and returned victims have accessed a micro credit loan to find a new job.
It became evident that through the project local people are currently aware of human trafficking and the number of trafficked cases has been reduced. Having signed the hand-over minutes for the new credit fund for future micro credits with the Provincial Women’s Union, the Ambassador strongly believed that the loan will be effectively managed and the positive results will be continued in the coming years.
The Ambassador also paid a courtesy visit to the People’s Committee of Soc Trang Province with whom he expressed the willingness to work as a bridge between two countries in the areas of development cooperation and trade promotion.
In the neighbouring city, a working visit to Can Tho University was conducted. The Ambassador was pleased to know that the University has closely collaborated with a Finnish partner, Kemi-Tornio University, in student exchange and short training in electronics. The first students from the Finnish University have just completed a useful tropical exchange under the Mekong 1000 Project. This partnership is also further strengthened through a new proposal on e-learning that will be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ new university twinning instrument this autumn.
“I am very proud of the Finland’s involvement in the Mekong Delta.” said Ambassador Hyvönen. “We are glad to work with local people for the prosperous development of the region. They are very hard-working, friendly and dynamic. You can see their sunny smiles everywhere: at work, on fields or at floating markets. ”