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LAO/026
Technical Assistance to the IFAD Soum Son Seun Jai Programme

Information

Country
Laos
LuxDev's Regional office
Vientiane Regional Office

Sector
Agriculture & Food Security
Partner execution agency
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)
PIC 3
2011 - 2015

Implementation period
September 2012 - December 2017
Total duration
63 months

Total budget
17,391,956 EUR
Contribution breakdown
  • Luxembourg Government
    1,850,000 EUR
  • IFAD
    11,241,746 EUR
  • WFP
    3,015,784 EUR
  • Lao Government
    668,385 EUR
  • GIZ
    350,298 EUR
  • Beneficiaries
    265,743 EUR

Mid-term evaluation

The LAO/026 project is delivering technical assistance to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded Community Based Food Security and Economic Opportunities Programme. The Community-based Food Security and Economic Opportunities Programme was launched in 2011 and operates in the provinces of Sayabouli and Oudomxay in the Northern part of Laos. The programme is carried out jointly by the Government of Lao PDR, the IFAD, the World Food Programme and LuxDev.

The SSSJ Programme will contribute to the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger in Xayabouly and Oudomxay Provinces by ensuring sustainable food security and income generation for 17,000 poor households living in 225 target villages.

LuxDev contributes to the programme by delivering technical assistance through two International and five national programme advisers. Besides building the capacity of the implementing agencies to efficiently manage and implement the programme, the advisers are also instrumental in introducing innovative approaches and technologies to the programme.

The programme's main activities are:

  • The development of integrated farming systems, including upland conservation and production systems, livestock development and water management;
  • Improved market linkage through village access roads.

Latest news

  • Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry visits Luxembourg and the Netherlands

    Published on 6 April 2016    By Rik Delnoije   EN

    On 25 March, a delegation from the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, including Vice Minister Dr. Phouangparisack Pravongviengkham, visited the Luxembourg Ministry of Agriculture and Consumer Protection as well as the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. The Lao delegates met, among others, with Mr Fernand Etgen, Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Consumer Protection and Mr Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs.

    The visit to Luxembourg complemented a study tour to the Netherlands during which the Lao delegation learned about the Dutch agriculture sector and particularly about the essential role that organized farmers and producers play in Dutch agribusiness. The visit took place from 20-29 March and was organized and financed by the LAO/026 project “Technical Assistance to the IFAD-financed SSSJ Rural Development Programme”. 

    The purpose of the study tour was to learn from the success of the Dutch agricultural sector and comparatively assess which success factors could become driving forces for the further development of the Lao agricultural sector. Such success factors include:

    1. strong and well-organized farmer organisations that function independent of the government,
    2. due investment in agricultural education (from vocational to academic levels) and agricultural research, and
    3. clear and complementary roles of concerned stakeholders, producers, the private sector and government that includes multi-stakeholder bodies, like Commodity Boards, ensuring consistency and inclusion of farmer’s interests in policy formulation and coordination during implementation.

    In the Netherlands, the delegation visited farmer organisations and agro-cooperatives as well as the Flora Holland Auction, the largest and leading trading entity for flowers worldwide, owned and governed by 45 000 flower growers. In addition, educational and research organisations like the Wageningen Agriculture and Research Centre offered participants an insight into leading research about food security and sustainable agriculture.

    During the visit to Luxembourg, the delegates visited Beckerich to learn about community development in Luxembourg and the importance of citizens’ participation to promote ownership and sustainability of investments.

    The Lao delegates enthusiastically took in the new experiences and adapted the lessons learned into action points for application to their specific context and situation at home.

  • Laos - “Happy family” video series combines entertainment with learning about nutrition

    Published on 19 January 2016    By Sandrine Thinnes   EN

    The IFAD funded Soum Son Seun Jai (SSSJ) Programme, which is co-funded by the Luxembourg Government through LAO/026 project, aims at contributing to the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger in two provinces in Laos targeting 17.000 poor rural households living in 225 target villages.

    The programme has recently launched an innovative video series linking agriculture and nutrition. These series allow the programme to scale up the support to its nutrition sensitive interventions by reaching out to a large number of poor households in a consistent and efficient manner using broadcasting technology.

    Currently, every second child in the rural areas in Laos is severely malnourished or stunted. Malnutrition rates are particularly high among the SSSJ target group living in remote rural areas and ethnic minority communities. Nutrition education is crucial in fighting the current epidemic malnutrition. However, in the past the effectiveness of nutrition education in Laos was limited because of a lack of appealing educational materials that are available in local languages. The SSSJ-LAO/026 project has responded to this need by developing an innovative video tool kit that emphasizes on key messages customized to remote and rural areas. The video tool kit is made available in local languages like Lao, Hmong and Khamu. LAO/026 project has co-financed the production, particularly in making the videos available in local languages. Moreover, LAO/026 advisers have been instrumental in providing technical advice and in facilitating the shooting and production of the video series.

    The series contain 12 short videos that all address specific themes regarding nutrition, from food production to consumption. Various agricultural production topics such as chicken raising, fish raising, vegetable production are covered. A particular note is also made regarding the availability of healthy and nutritious food from the wild. Production oriented messages are merged with messages that encourage consumption of healthy food instead of instant food readily available on the market. The videos also provide dietary recommendations and nutritious recipes for homemade dishes. As only showing/viewing the videos will not be sufficient to create behavioral change among the targeted groups, additional materials like discussion guidelines and posters are developed to facilitate focused discussions and dialogue with villagers to better understand the problem and raise their awareness to hopefully change to a more healthy diet. The complete package is broadly distributed and enthusiastically received by other organizations and already used by UNICEF, the World Food Programme, the Food and Agricultural Organization and non-governmental organization like Care and Plan International.

    In order for the messages to appeal to rural villagers and not be another “boring extension message”, the videos are packaged into a rural soap opera that plays in one of the project target villages.

    There are Phone and Xay who secretly fall in love; a grumpy grandmother who wants everything the way it was, because she is fond of the saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”; a clever husband who learns from his daughter to pick nutritious wild foods and build up his physical strength by eating healthy food. There is Noy, a health volunteer and wonderful cook, who is advising pregnant and breast feeding friends. Absolute star of the series is the little Sonephet who, after a delicious homemade bean snack, scored a goal against the Lao national soccer team.  

    All actors are villagers from SSSJ target villages, increasing the real life appearance and making it easier for rural people to identify with the messages the series want to share.

    The videos (Lao version with English sub-titles) are uploaded on YouTube and can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeO0-UIO6Q-76Z58Pv9XGTKct-fC-oOS8

    We encourage you to have a look.

  • Laos - Turning capital into pro-poor results: building a convincing case for direct financing of village level entities

    Published on 19 October 2015    By Rik Delnoije, CTA   EN

    Luxembourg Development Cooperation project LAO/026 Technical Assistance to the Soum Son Seun Jai (SSSJ) Programme in Sayabouly province commenced in early January 2013. This three-year Luxembourg co-financing project of 1.7 million EUR supports the provision of technical assistance (TA) to the 15 M USD SSSJ programme funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project has entered its final year of implementation. During this last year some deliberate changes have been realized with regards to the project’s operational mode.

    The major change has been the reallocation of the project budget to support the introduction of innovative financing and implementation modalities into the Programme. This is achieved through the signing of Delegation Agreements for Funds and Implementation with community level entities. In this regard, a total of 25 Delegation Agreements were signed, financing nearly100 prioritized activities worth 300 000 EUR in total, wherein 200 000 EUR are being earmarked to support 15 Community Development Funds and another 100 000 EUR support activity plans of ten selected Agricultural Producer Groups. While the budget contracted to Community Development Funds merely finance village level infrastructure such as sanitation or school facilities, the Agricultural Producer Groups have allocated their investment partly towards productive activities like the purchase of agro-processing equipment.

    The signing of Delegation Agreements for Funds and Implementation with community level entities within project LAO/026 has triggered a tremendous burst of activities. Partnering communities enthusiastically started implementing community plans and collective investments ranging from building schools and sanitation facilities to processing of wild tea or collective pig-raising. The usually rather quiet villages are buzzing with activities; village meetings are held to discuss designs and budgets, labour is mobilized and local materials collected while construction of village infrastructure is on-going at a pace unknown and unseen before.

    Most agreements became effective in June 2015, and per end of October, four months on the road, half of the planned activities are under implementation and/or being finalized already. Consequently, of the 300 000 EUR worth of planned investments, the depletion rate accounts for 50%.

    Four months into implementation, the bare physical sight of villages has changed dramatically. with the appearance of sanitation facilities, running water, storage houses, flood protection works, which were all very much needed but never realized due to the lack of funds. Even more important, the spirit of villagers have taken a turn; villagers express confidence and satisfaction about their activities and the positive changes happening in their village; everybody is extremely proud to be the leading force behind all this action. In fact communities grabbed the offered opportunity with both hands and changed from passive receivers of development support to active shapers and owners of their village’s development. So far this has been a successful example of putting funds into action directly at village level whilst benefitting the most disadvantaged.

     

    Being in charge means that villagers are fully responsible for planning, calculating and administrating collective investments. Enabling this required substantial training input and on-the-job coaching by the project advisors.

    The Village Development Committee of the ethnic Khamu village Hoyka in Pak Beng District received 13 350 EUR for the construction of sanitation, erosion control works and a village meeting hall. 8 weeks after having received the money the village has for the first time in its history complete coverage of sanitation facilities, while the erosion control works have last month prevented the otherwise yearly flooding of the village. The community-meeting hall is under construction. While the project has made available the financing for the external materials for the construction like cement, ceramic sanitation and roofing, villagers have contributed through their labour input and provision of local materials.

    The Pig Producer Group in the ethnic Lanten village Paknamthong received 8 989 EUR for the purchase of a fodder mill and construction of housing for the mill and the construction of collective pigpens. The high labour input has been the main obstacle for scaling their pig fattening business. Through collective fattening, meaning the physical construction of collective pigpens and more importantly the development of a collective system of rotating labour input, group members are now able to expand their business substantially. While the project financed the materials for the construction of the pigpens and the purchase of the fodder mill, villagers have contributed equally through their labour input, provision of local materials and stocking the pens with piglets.  

    Investment by the project: 3 000 EUR, additional investment by the village (material and labour) 2 600 EUR. Household level sanitation facilities were costed at 70 EUR per household.

    “For the first time in the history of our village we now have access to running water and the best thing: we did it ourselves”: statement by the Head of Village Poutouy, Saysathan District – Sayabouly Province.