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Socio-economic inputs to the Chia se Poverty Alleviation Program Phase II

Chia se can be described as a pre-reform program aiming at showing a way to implement the decentralization policies of the Government of Vietnam Nation-wide, analyze the results obtained and communicate lessons learned to the public administration nation-wide. The Chia sẻ approach to poverty alleviation can be briefly described as a way of empowering villagers to jointly manage a Local Development Fund (LDF), large enough to support investments that can improve the living conditions of the poor in a sustainable manner. Identification of poor households as well as setting development priorities were tasks decided by the village meeting convened by officials elected by the village. To maintain a democratic and transparent process for managing the LDF, investment decisions were taken by the village meeting.

The second phase:

  1. Consolidated the results achieved in the local areas
  2. Developed and analyzed less expensive ways of successfully applying the same approach, making it replicable nation-wide
  3. Made the results and the procedures behind these results well-known and communicated, for obtaining impact on Socio Economic Development planning, policy-making and application of already existing policies within the fields of poverty reduction, rural development, decentralization and grassroots democracy

ORGUT provided technical assistance and advice to the Ministry of Planning and Investments and the Provincial Peoples Committees in Ha Giang and Quang Tri in particular in developing and promoting the decentralized, rights-based approach to local governance. A long number of studies relating to poverty, gender, empowerment and general socio-economic issues were conducted at the end of Chia Se Phase 1. In the second phase, there are some significant changes introduced that may influence the Chia Se levels of achievement: The aim to replicate Chia Se methodologies in other parts of the country means that the process will mainly be applied in areas where the poor are in minority.

These changes raised issues whether the positive results from Phase 1 could still be maintained when Chia Se methodology moves several step closer to the mainstream development planning system of Vietnam. The Ministry of Planning and Investment is therefore requested a study to analyze these changes and to point a way forward that enables the approach to be generally applied in Vietnam without losing its focus on empowerment, poverty reduction and vulnerable groups.

The purpose of the assignment was to conclude what effect that a slightly different Chia Se approach will have on empowerment, democratic procedures, poverty focus and vulnerable groups, and recommend adjustments accordingly.

The Socio-economic and gender advisors provided technical assistance to

  1. A consultant team contracted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) that should do the actual Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment
  2. Analyzed the socio-economic implications of replicating the decentralized and rights-based approach to planning in the entire country
  3. Provided technical and methodological support to the Institute of Sociology in Vietnam to carry out an Empowerment Study
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