A new road linking rural communities to a vital district centre has been completed thanks to a WFP food-for-work project in rural Laos. The project is part of WFP's Livelihood Initiatives for Nutrition (LIN) programme, designed to support remote communities in northern Laos with high rates of stunting (children too short for their age).
In return for their work on the project, rice and oil rations were given to participating villagers in Bong and Laynoi villages, in Beng district of Oudomxay province. The food is provided as part of efforts to maintain a healthy household diet over the annual April to September 'lean season', when food supplies are at their lowest.
Tui (left), aged 32, is married with three children, was one of the participants.“I receive enough rice and cooking oil from WFP to feed my family during the lean season which is the tough time to find food for my family," he said with a smile. Normally, he grows rice, vegetables, and catches fish in the nearby river, but he often faces difficulties to provide enough food, especially at this time of year.
WFP coordinated with the District Public Work Office and Community-based Food Security and Economic Opportunity Programme, known locally as “Soum Son Seun Jai”(funded by IFAD), to construct the six-kilometre road connecting the two villages.
WFP provided the incentive of rice and fortified oil, funded by the Japanese government, to the villagers who participated in food-for-work activities. The Public Work Office helped ensure that the road was built to high specifications, based on their technical road construction requirements. The Soum Son Seun Jai programme provided construction materials and tools.
The road was completed in April 2013, and will make it easier for the villagers to travel to the health centre, school, market, rice fields and vegetable gardens. In the past, villagers had travel over 20 km to reach the district centre - a journey made longer by the poor road conditions. Now, they can travel safely by motorbike and other vehicles, cutting the time required dramatically.
Through this programme, each participating family would receive rice and oil to consume to meet their nutritional needs and to bridge the food gap during the lean season. The LIN programme promotes activities which create assets and help improve the nutritional status of villagers. It also addresses short-term food deficits and long-term nutritional problems. WFP would like to thank the Japanese government for their generous support for this important work