About the ESP-Mekong Empowerment & Security Project

The title of the project is: ‘What is Essential is Invisible’: Empowerment and Security in Economic Projects for Low-Income Women in Four Mekong Countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam).

Donor: Australian Aid

Date awarded: 01 April 2013

Project end date: 31 December 2016 (original end date 01 April 2016, but a no-cost extension request has been granted by Australian DFAT) 

This research project, using both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, will focus on women’s economic empowerment and social protection projects in four Mekong countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. It will involve an exploration of the gaps between the level of policy makers and intended beneficiaries in terms of their conceptions of the ideas of empowerment and security and their perceptions of what is happening on the ‘ground’. In addition, the proposed research will try to specify under what conditions empowerment (as locally defined) and an increase in a sense of security (again, as locally defined) come as a result of economic empowerment and social protection projects, and under what conditions there seems to be no such apparent benefit – or even negative effects – in spite of the well-meaning intentions of the projects.