Lao rural households’ nutrition is enhanced by a sustainable holistic project funded by the European Union and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, focusing on Women of Reproductive Age and Children under 5 to stop undernutrition and its consequences.
Project name: Accelerating Health Agriculture and Nutrition (AHAN)
Funded by: European Union (EU), with additional fund from Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Implementing partners: Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF), Green Community Development Association (GCDA) and Burnet Institute (BI)
Time frame: 5 years (2017-2022)
Lao Government partner: Ministry of Health
Purpose and Objectives
Undernutrition is both a key driver and outcome of poverty. Its impact can be far reaching and multi-generational, causing huge socioeconomic burdens for countries by perpetuating the cycle of poverty and undernutrition within families and communities. Malnutrition has an impact on women of reproductive age (15-49), and those who are pregnant and lactating, which has consequences on infant and child nutrition.
Implemented in Attapeu, Saravan and Savannakhet provinces, AHAN project is locally and nationally working closely with the Lao Government representatives to improve nutrition in rural areas, through a holistic approach focusing on 5 specific objectives:
- Strengthen multi-sector coordination and support for nutrition;
- Improve dietary and care practices among women of reproductive age (15-49 years) and children under 5 years;
- Reduce the incidence of selected Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related diseases/illnesses linked to undernutrition;
- Improve gender-equitable relations at the household level, particularly in decision-making and distribution of workload;
- Improved access to and availability of sufficient and/or diverse foods year-round.
AHAN project is implemented in 149 villages across 12 districts in 3 provinces of Lao PDR. This represents 133,938 total direct beneficiaries (21,697 households) from all the AHAN activities.
The AHAN consortium partners implement using various approaches: Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture, Value Chain Development, Farmer to Famer (F2F) Extension, Savings 4 Transformation (S4T), Nutrition Groups, and Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), and Community Change for Social Action (C-Change). The project supports health system strengthening and works closely with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Lao Women’s Union. Gender equality is also addressed through cross-cutting and targeted approaches.