France provides additional funding to boost nutrition in Southern Lao PDR
Under this funding, 1,818 families in Salavanh Province will receive small cash grants to support them meet their immediate food needs and invest in strengthening livelihood activities such as home gardens and livestock rearing.
Building on earlier nutrition activities, beneficiaries will be guided on agriculture and animal rearing, alongside education in nutrition and climate resilience. The project will focus primarily on vulnerable women and girls, and children under the age of five, in communities selected based on high poverty levels, low food consumption score, low literacy rates and the number of disasters.
“This support from France and WFP is aligned with our government’s objectives and contributes to the implementation of food security and nutrition objectives which are enshrined in the 9th Socio-Economic Development Plan. It builds on earlier interventions in collaboration with WFP in our own, the agriculture and forestry sector, and as such also works toward overarching rural development and poverty reduction targets,” said Thatsaka Saphanthong, Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Department of Planning and Cooperation.
“Since 2019, France has been deploying a food aid programme in response to the needs expressed by the Lao PDR authorities. Our new project in 2023 targets in particular rural communities in the south of the country, complementing the support announced earlier this year for Sekong province” said Siv-Leng Chhuor, Ambassador of France to Lao PDR.
“The current economic hardship threatens to reverse the impressive gains that Lao PDR has made in the past two decades regarding food security and nutrition. Therefore, investments such as this one from France are needed to safeguard families from the full impact of current challenges, and to build their long-term resilience,” said Marc-André Prost, WFP Representative and Country Director.
An estimated 43 percent of children under five in Salavanh Province in southern Lao PDR are stunted. This means that children are not able to achieve their full physical and cognitive potential, with life-long consequences on their productivity and health. The weight-for-height (wasting) rate for children in the same age group is also above the national average, at 12.5 percent. These challenges are compounded by the impacts of climate-related disasters, like floods and droughts, and the high cost of living due to macroeconomic difficulties in the country.
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 According to the Lao Social Indicator Study 2 (LSIS), national stunting rates for children under 5 years are at 33%, while wasting is at 9%.