(KPL) The Lao PDR has received over EUR 11 million boost, aiming to improve the nutrition outcome of almost 24,000 women of reproductive age (15-49) and over 11,000 children in the Lao PDR.
A Memorandum of Understanding for the Partnership of Improved Nutrition, Accelerating Healthy Agriculture and Nutrition Project was signed by Mr Vibol Chap, Country Programme Director of World Visions International Laos and Representatives from Provincial Health Departments of Savannakhet, Saravan and Attapeu in Vientiane on May 14, 2019.
The European Union (EU) has provided funding of over EUR 10 million supporting the implementation of the Accelerating Healthy Agriculture and Nutrition Project (AHAN) which aligns with the multi-sectoral convergence approach of the National Nutrition Strategy, to create supportive conditions for enhanced household nutrition.
By 2021, AHAN aims to improve the nutrition outcome of almost 24,000 women of reproductive age and over 11,000 children under five years across 12 districts in Savannakhet, Saravan and Attapeu.
For implementation of the project activities, the WVI will partner with the government, the EU, Agronomes et Veterinaires Sans Frontieres, Green Community Development Association and Burnet Institute.
Nutrition is essential for health and well-being. Yet, the Lao PDR has one of the highest undernutrition rates in Southeast Asia. According to the Lao Social Indicator Survey (LSISII) 2017, 21 per cent of children under five were underweight, 9 % wasted and 33% stunted. Undernutrition cause huge socio-economic burdens for the country that perpetuate the cycle of poverty and undernutrition within families and communities.
Malnutrition has an impact on women of reproductive age and those who are pregnant and lactating, which, in turn, affect infant and child nutrition and have lifelong consequences. The AHAN Project will have a strong focus on the first 1,000days of life which is critical in addressing childhood malnutrition and tackles the underlying cause of undernutrition rooted to the inter-linkage between agriculture, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene including gender.
In the words of the EU Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Mr Leo Faber, “this action constitutes one of the three main pillars of the partnership for improved nutrition, supporting the implementation of a multisectoral approach in addressing the malnutrition challenges across the southern provinces. I’m confident this action will contribute to effectively tackle this silent national emergency, as it is designed to provided a holistic response in partnership with the relevant set of government and civil society stakeholders,”
“The well-being of children is an investment in the national of the Lao PDR. A well-nourished and well-informed mother will be able to better ensure her children’s nutrition and well-being. WVI Laos will collaborate with the government and partners across sectors to help change behaviors within communities and reinforce better nutrition within household for the long-term,” said Mr Vibol Chap Country Programme Director of WVI Laos.