“I am most passionate about our work supporting the most vulnerable local women in coastal areas thriving to be recognized in their own community, advancing their economic empowerment.”

Thue Hue Nguyen, Founder and CEO of MCD

Thue Hue Nguyen, Founder and CEO of MCD, Vietnam

2021 WE Empower Finalist, Asia-Pacific

Despite having faced various leadership development challenges, Thue Hue Nguyen led the Centre for Marine Life Conservation and Community Development (MCD) through the stages of development to become what it is today. MCD is an active Vietnamese non-governmental organization devoted to marine conservation and sustainable development in Vietnam’s coastal areas. Nguyen aspires to help other women leaders to address today’s challenges while inspiring them to thrive after being left vulnerable to climate risks.

To showcase her inspirational hard work, Nguyen was chosen among twenty other outstanding leaders to be a 2019-2020 Obama Fellow as a woman who is “building leadership and economic empowerment for women and girls in coastal Vietnam.” Nguyen used her time as an Obama Fellow to envision herself to be the best version of herself that she can be and take MCD to the next level of development. 

MCD pioneered initiatives for coastal and marine ecosystem restoration while working to improve the lives of coastal communities. Nguyen and MCD have a firm belief that the management of coastal ecosystems can be managed more effectively in the context of climate change. In this context, coastal ecosystems can provide “practical and lasting benefits to vulnerable communities in coastal areas in Vietnam.” Along with committed cooperation between MCD and its stakeholders, they are able to implement initiatives that promote Vietnam’s indigenous knowledge and international experience that can better manage marine ecosystems and contribute to sustainable development

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Nguyen and MCD work with women-led adaptive livelihood initiatives along the coastal areas of Vietnam, including the Red River Delta, Mekong Delta, and the central coast. Through these initiatives, women are empowered by MCD to take part in various livelihood initiatives such as: aquaculture, improvement of personal gardens, livestock practices, use of bio-fertilizers, and addressing marine plastic waste management and co-management of marine resources. In alignment with UN SDG 5: Gender Equality, MCD takes an integrated approach to directly support local women champions and empower them to lead grassroots initiatives. 

Similarly, MCD integrates climate action into conservation and community empowerment efforts in support of UN SDG 13: Climate Action. In the process, MCD contributes to the development of action plans for climate adaptation in the Red River Delta while working with youth interns through MCD programs. When working with the youth, MCD aims to empower them with proper knowledge and skills in climate-related issues. As youth interns, they provide support to local grassroots community members in their adaptive livelihoods, while taking part in the development of climate adaptation action plans. 


“We work to balance the needs of the marine environment to ensure a sustainable future for all.”

Thue Hue Nguyen, Founder and CEO of MCD

At its core, MCD values community, enhancing autonomy, creativity and innovation, accountability, and unity. MCD has displayed its committed efforts through the management of marine resources and coastal environments, and integrative developments to fisheries, sustainable livelihoods, and communities. They continuously take action to reduce marine waste and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems, while implementing projects that promote sustainable development and strengthen community responsibility in agribusiness. 

Learn more about Thue Hue Nguyen and MCD here.

The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a first-of-its-kind global competition for women entrepreneurs who are pushing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and leading innovation in sustainability and climate change through their businesses. This Contributing Series highlights finalists of the Challenge whose work demonstrates how business models and social entrepreneurship can drive global impact.