Poverty Reduction Fund reports five years of success
Despite poverty reduction activities achieving real success over the past few years, the improvement of behaviour patterns in poor communities in remote areas should continue to be monitored.
The lessons learnt from the implementation of poverty reduction projects were discussed at a meeting held in Vientiane yesterday to review the activities of the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) in its second phase from 2012 to 2016.
More than 1,900 sub-projects in the fields of health, education, clean water, travel and agriculture have been implemented in the past five years, from which more than 1,300 poor villages (695,000 people) have directly benefited.
Half of the beneficiaries were women while 72 percent were people of various ethnic groups.
Introducing the report on project implementation, PRF Director Mr Bounkouang Souvannaphanh referred to the evaluation of the projects by donors which revealed that 80 percent of the people in the communities served were satisfied with the outcomes and the projects remained in working order after two years of utilisation.
But Mr Bounkouang noted the need for continuous improvement in traditional behaviour patterns to ensure the sustainability of the projects.
“The encouragement of poor communities in at-risk rural areas is a sensitive job that takes time and requires a concrete plan, continuous monitoring and knowledge transfer,” he said.
More than 405 billion kip (US$50.6 million) has been used in the implementation of the 1,900 sub-projects. Of that number around 1,800 projects were concerned with construction and repair while the rest were related to equipment supply.
More than 14,000 people have benefited from projects related to livelihood improvement and integrated nutrition, with only 10 percent of children now suffering from malnutrition and slow growth. The projects have also positively changed the behaviours of pregnant women, mothers with infants, and mothers under the age of 24.
About US$80.7 million has been spent in the implementation of PRF projects over the past five years, with funding having been provided by the World Bank, the government of Australia, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Lao government, and Japan.
The report referred to the technical assessments by donors, who certified that the sub-projects implemented by the PRF have incurred lower costs than similar projects run by other investors in similar areas.
The PRF projects aimed to build ownership and to ultimately hand over responsibility to local communities for the projects, which has helped to ensure their sustainability.
T he meeting also announced that the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Lien Thikeo had been appointed the new Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PRF.
In his address at the meeting, Dr Lien reminded participants that the ministry had taken over the implementation of priority tasks in rural development and poverty reduction from 2016 to 2020 from the Prime Minister's Office.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update February 1, 2017)