Foreign Aid in Vietnam
Vietnam’s economy has grown remarkably over the last two decades. However, this growth would not have been possible without foreign aid to Vietnam. USAID’s work in supporting Vietnam’s economic growth and development is an excellent example of foreign aid at work. Here are five exceptional foreign aid projects in Vietnam that foster hope for positive results around the world.

5 Foreign Aid Projects in Vietnam

  1. Economy Foreign Aid Projects: USAID collaborates with Vietnam’s legal and regulatory affairs to expand foreign investment and economic growth. It works with the nation’s government and private sectors to move Vietnam into an internationally regulated and globalized market economy. For instance, USAID works to promote transparency in the governance of trade. The USAID Trade Facilitation Program intends to facilitate trade and communication between national and local customs officials. Lastly, USAID Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises (LinkSME) facilitates relationships and streamline trading processes between buyers (SMEs) and suppliers. LinkSME ensures the presence of key policies and regulations in place to carry out business transactions and trade.
  2. Education Foreign Aid Projects: Through USAID, the Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) Alliance and the Improving Access, Curriculum and Teaching In Medical Education and Emerging Diseases (IMPACT-MED) Alliance gather up efforts and resources from Vietnam and partner governments as well as leaders and educators in the field to enhance education on medicine, technology and engineering. The ongoing reform efforts aim for better instructional and educational experiences with modern technology and maintaining accreditation standards. Additionally, they strive for more intense faculty training, contemporary curriculum designs and positive relationships with academic partners. The outcomes from such reform efforts produce graduates with the preparation to join the workforce and maintain the high standards of the fields.
  3. Environment Foreign Aid Projects: There are many foreign aid programs and activities that USAID coordinated that help address climate change in Vietnam such as the Vietnam Low Emission Energy Program (V-LEEP), the Vietnam Forests and Deltas Program (VFD), the USAID Green Annamites Project and the Climate Resilient and Sustainable Urban Development Program. V-LEEP works to promote and sustain efficiency in renewable energy generation and usage as well as monetary investment into the work. The VFD helps to minimize deforestation in a joint effort with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The USAID Green Annamites Project supports land use in an eco-friendly fashion, conserves biodiversity and helps struggling communities bounce back from hardships in the Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces. The Climate Resilient and Sustainable Urban Development Program work with the Asian Development Bank to support Vietnam’s urban development by participating in policy making and setting operation guidelines.
  4. Global Health Foreign Aid Projects: Public health concerns such as HIV, tuberculosis and influenza can have negative impacts on Vietnam’s economy. Through USAID, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) organizes events and treatment for patients. USAID also funds the Vietnamese government and provides technical support to health organizations across the country to address avian and other influenzas, as well as overlooked tropical diseases and pandemics. Vietnam has made accomplishments with a nationwide methadone distribution program that reached 50,000 patients, resulting in a reduction of avian-influenza cases from 2000 to less than 50 cases in just six years (2005-2011) while containing the potential pandemic.
  5. Disabled People Foreign Aid Projects: USAID has supported more than 30,000 persons with disabilities for more than 30 years with more than $125 million in U.S. government aid. USAID works to establish disability laws and regulations at the national level as well as the local level. The International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one example of USAID’s contributing efforts. USAID also supports eight disability projects that focus on rehabilitation and disability awareness as well as policies and regulations. Lastly, USAID also supports local disability awareness organizations.

USAID development projects foster hope around the globe. Like in Vietnam, these projects convey the message that foreign aids are constantly working toward positive change for many.

– Hung M Le
Photo: USAID

STEM education for women in Vietnam
At the beginning of 2016 in Vietnam, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Arizona State University created and implemented the Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) project.


BUILD-IT exercises the goal of connecting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction in Vietnamese higher education institutions to students, who then can advance inclusive, technology-based growth. The project works mainly to promote STEM Education for women in Vietnam.

To increase educational innovation in STEM, BUILD-IT hosts semi-annual solutions councils and meetings to discuss problems and potential solutions. Additionally, the project funds innovation labs to develop ideas through technology. To assist in tracking educational innovation, the Higher Education Learning and Innovation Exchange acts as a database for all innovations.

One main priority of the initiative is to facilitate collaboration between universities and the private sector by providing students experiential opportunities in preparation for STEM careers. The project hosts leadership forums to develop academic initiatives, scholarships and networking opportunities for women in STEM.

Women in STEM Leadership Forum

The first leadership forum for the Women in STEM Leadership Program was held at the University of Danang in Vietnam in August 2016 and attracted over several hundred participants. The forum featured female role models, inspired the transfer of knowledge and established paths to entrepreneurship through STEM Education for women in Vietnam.

Katy Wigal, BUILD-IT project director and associate director for Curricular Innovation at Arizona State University, stated “the Forum enabled open discussions on the roles of women in the high demand professions of math, engineering, technology and science. The insights they (female speakers) offered about their personal journeys were inspiring to a new generation of women.”

The USAID Vietnam Mission Director Michael Green also said that “increasing opportunities for women in these fields are critically important in realizing greater economic success and equality for women across the board.”

Report on Women-Owned Enterprises in Vietnam

In a recent report of a market study on women-owned enterprises in Vietnam, the IFC Asia Manager for Financial Institutions Group Advisory Services, Rachel Freeman, concluded that social and traditional expectations can sustain prejudices against female business owners and, in particular, young women.

Businesses traditionally can involve women, but these prejudices can have negative impacts against women and their businesses. From STEM to the business field, social and traditional expectations can infiltrate all aspects of society in Vietnam.

Women in STEM: Sustainable Development

For sustainable development and participatory citizenship, STEM education is innovative and essential for every citizen, especially in regard to women. Women’s involvement in the STEM field benefits social engagement and domestic work in addition to sustaining technological innovation.

Vietnam has successfully increased enrollment rate of female students at the university level from 30 to 52 percent between the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years. The STEM Education for Women in Vietnam initiative is one main priority of the BUILD-IT project because of the importance of inspiring women to modify the status quo and facilitate a global revolution.

– Andrea Quade

Photo: Wikimedia Commons