The Chị Em Project (“chị em” in Vietnamese means “sisters”) is administered through Entrepreneurs du Monde (www.entrepreneursdumonde.org), a French-based NGO. Chị Em manages microfinance and business development. The goals of Chị Em are sustainable poverty alleviation and community development.
Chị Em began operations in year 2007 with a microfinance pilot project offering access to loans, savings and business training to women in four communes in Dien Bien Province, near the Laotian border of Vietnam. By September 2008, the number of target clients is aimed at 500, by September 2009 Chị Em had 1,000 clients and by September 2010 Chị Em had 2,000 clients. As at 30 September 2011, Chiem was operating in 9 communes and having more than 3,200 clients. The target communes are inhabited mostly by the Black Thai and Kho Mu people, two of the fifty-four ethnic minorities of Vietnam.
Chị Em’s preliminary village assessments found that the markets, consisting mainly of sustenance farmers, would benefit from diversification. In tandem with the loans and savings, Chị Em therefore offers hands-on training and business consulting to the clients.
Since September 2011, in order to broaden the client base to include male clients, Chiem has decided to change our name to Anh-Chi-Em Program, in short “ACE Program” (“Anh-Chi-Em” in Vietnamese means “Brothers & Sisters”).