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VIETNAM PROGRAMME COMPLETION REPORT IN BRIEF Decentralised Programme for Rural Poverty Reduction (DPPR) 20052012 Ha Giang Province

Programme Goal
The overall goal of DPPR Ha Giang has been to improve the socio-economic situation of households in special difficulties with an emphasis on utilization of community-driven and comprehensive development measures. Decentralized Programme for Poverty Reduction in Ha Giang was launched in April 2005 and finished in March 2012. The programme received $20.485 million in which $13.077 million is loan from IFAD (accounting for 63.8%); $0.233 million is financial aid from IFAD (1%); $2.537 million is debt conversion fund from Norwegian Government (12.4%); matching fund from the Government of Vietnam is $3.254 million (15.9%) and contribution from the beneficiaries is equivalent to $1.384 million (6.5%).

Achievements
The programme was carried out at the expected progress and achieved its planned outputs, all the components carried out did meet requirements for workload, progress, effectiveness and sustainability Women account for 45% of the total number of beneficiaries; almost all of the beneficiaries are ethnic minorities; the proportion of poor and very poor households is around 30%. The disbursement rate as of 31 December 2011 is 93%. The programme has drastically decentralized to the communal bodies so as to enhance their ownership and pro-activeness in human resource management and organization of projects activities. Active participation of the beneficiaries was ensured in the process of setting investment priorities, making annual work-plans, and implementing such plans. Production models introduced and supported by the project have been adopted and replicated by local people, leading to improvements in productivity and yield capacity of crops and livestock Communal infrastructures have been built and upgraded, contributing to boost production and facilitate peoples living. Activities of the project have a high sustainability, especially in terms of politics, society and ownership.

Dzao women clear a hillside for the construction of a new road in Hoang Su Phi. IFAD/Alexandra Boulat

Useful Links
DPPR Ha Giang project summary http://www.scribd.com/doc/72520651/IFAD -Vietnam-Ha-Giang DPPR Ha Giang Videos (parts 1 and 2) http://youtu.be/gMO14Hj41Xg http://youtu.be/gupU_GQI5Pg Asia IFAD Vietnam portal http://asia.ifad.org/web/vietnam IFAD Vietnam E-Library http://www.scribd.com/IFADVietnam/shelf

Lessons Learned
Regarding the project design, ensuring flexibility and allowing for adjustments as needed are normal requirements for any project design. This has become even more essential due to decentralization and the participatory planning process. However, almost all major adjustments were made after Mid Term Review (MTR). Therefore, there should be another mechanism allowing more flexible adjustments when needed.

Lessons Learned (cont.)


Despite a wide range of advantages of decentralization, it could not succeed without capacity building efforts for commune level officials. Decentralization while commune level officials were incapable might have lead to obstacles during the very early stages. After MTR, when capacity building activities paid off, the situation has been improved significantly. Ensuring active participation of the beneficiaries was a real challenge in the context of low education levels among a wide range of local people. Their desires seemed very narrowed to a family level. That difficulty required commune and village level officials to be equipped with knowledge and information on socioeconomic development as well as organization and facilitating skills to encourage the marginalized groups to raise their voices. Regarding project implementation, to cover a huge workload in a broad project area, a flexible and simple management system from village level was necessary. Because of thorough and comprehensive decentralization, almost all workload was burdened on shoulders at commune level. Therefore, this project placed strong focus on capacity building for commune level officials Regarding production development, the pressing question was how to ensure the application of innovative models being introduced while local people had low education levels and obsolete production practices. In this aspect, the selection of models was participatory and the project only focused on some of the key difficulties facing the majority of local people. This helped to save resources in model replication. In addition, difficulty in accessing finance was resolved via SCGs, PSFs which really helped trigger adoption of the models.

Whats Next
The biggest environmental challenge to Ha Giang is its vulnerability to extreme weather phenomena. In coming years, adaptation to these conditions should be a concern for socio-economic development in Ha Giang. Poverty reduction efforts in Ha Giang in coming years may follow some strategic directions immersed with the New Rural and Agriculture Development Programme: Promote goods production associated with market opportunities on the basis of boosting advantaged crops and animals of the province to help cater to the local demand and oriented towards some high valued products for export. Further intensify links between enterprises and local people; support Public Private Partnership in poverty reduction through attracting private investments from enterprises within and beyond the province; Further intensify links between growth clusters (i.e. districts with good potential for economic growth) with poor areas in the province. Regarding this aspect, SME support in these growth clusters to create the links is a possible strategy. Developing upland production systems which adapt to extreme weather is an urgent requirement to ensure life stabilization and sustainable poverty reduction.

Impacts
DPPR Ha Giang has created significant impacts towards improving the socioeconomic conditions of the poor in target areas. This is shown by improved incomes, households assets and food security and reduced childhood malnutrition. The rate of poorest households declined from 35% to 5%, the poverty rate also dropped from 21% to 19%. Food security in the project area was improved substantially. The rate of hungry households in the first hunger season decreased sharply from 49% to nearly 18% during 2006-2011 Children malnutrition had been improved thoroughly. The rate of chronic malnutrition (height for age) in children aged under 5 dropped from 77% to 64%; while the rate of under-weighted children (weight for age) decreased sharply from 48% to nearly 25%. With respect to increased income, the project has supported livelihood diversification resulting in beneficiary households firmly increasing their incomes. According to annual household surveys, per capita income in the project area was 117,830 VND/ person in 2009. In 2011, this number increased to 385,100 VND, an increase of 70% from 2009 to 2011 (or 23% per year on average)
400 300 200 100 0 2009 2010 2011 Table I. Increased average income per capita, 2009-2011 198 118 385

Contact
Atsuko Toda Country Programme Manager Asia and Pacific Division International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Unit 304, UN Apartment Building 2E Van Phuc, Kim Ma Str, Ha Noi, Vietnam Tel: 0084 (4) 3823 7231 Fax: + 84 (4) 3823 3819 Email: at.toda@ifad.org Skype: atsuko.toda Website: asia.ifad.org/web/vietnam

Conclusion
After 6 years, DPPR Ha Giang has rigorously and successfully implemented its strategies with strong commitments from PPCs, PPMU, provincial line agencies, administrative bodies at all the levels and special support from 352 beneficiary households in 45 target communes. With the total disbursement rate of 93% (in USD) and more than 100% (in VND), outputs have been delivered as planned, except for some activities that could not be completed due to local difficulties.