Mr. Vieng, 30 years old is with his wife and two children feeding ducks and chickens in the newly constructed poultry house. Vieng and his family are happily and without any fear holding the chickens in front of the coop.

Raising poultry, rising hopes for Vieng and his family

“I love to raise chickens and ducks very much. I feed them every day and like to spend time taking care of them” says Vieng.

Vieng, lives with his family in a rural village of Southern Laos, around 65 km away from Soukhouma town in Champasack province, where people mostly live farming and raising animal. A 30-years-old father, Vieng is supporting his family of two daughters, 6-year-old Poiysai and Namsay, one and a half years old. The young family used to be constantly struggling: “Many families still don’t have sufficient food to eat all year long. Our people lack of knowledge and resources”. For instance, Vieng’s community rely on resources found in the nature for consumption, agriculture, and household chores. This directly impacts children who suffer from malnutrition and can’t grow and develop their full potential.

Soukhouma district in Champasack Province, consists in 56 villages with 92.1% of the population living in rural areas. According to the latest population census, Soukhouma displays high level of vulnerability, with 28% of the population living under the poverty threshold. In other words, more than one in four families does not have the means to make hands meet for their children. The incidence of poverty grows among the villages where ethnic groups live, which generally lacks of road access, which prevent communities from completing basic education, accessing vital health facilities. Vieng’s family and community is one of them.

In the past, our family was facing difficulty to find food, we relied on the nature but some days we couldn’t find anything, meaning that this day we could not eat,” shares Vieng.

World Vision’s recent data showed the existence of unmet needs in Soukhouma targeted villages: wasting, stunting, and underweight levels are alarming as per the WHO recommended thresholds: more than 20 percent of the households experience one or more “hungry months”, 49% still lack access to sufficient diet diversity during the year.  Based on the analysis above, World Vision has identified five remote communities from Soukhouma to receive support with the Nutritious-Food Secure (NFS) project, with the support of Singapore’s private funds. This project is aiming at addressing diversified and nutritious food access year-round and improve the nurturing care practices in the households of vulnerable children.

Vieng is one of 50 families in five villages from Soukhouma district targeted by the project. Since the start of the implementation in 2022, Vieng joined the chickens and ducks raising training.  While Vieng previously bought chickens and duck eggs from the market, the training he attended taught him how to raise the poultry. The project also provided the necessary equipment to build the house where the chickens and ducks will grow and produce eggs. Vieng received five chickens and five ducks (a total of 10). “It’s easy to take care of them, and it takes two-three months for them to lay eggs,” explained the 30-years-old father. We could eat chickens and ducks’ eggs and meat, we usually fry or boiled eggs in the morning for my children breakfast before going to school. They really like to eat eggs,” he added.

The NFS project aligns directly with the Lao 9th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2021-2025) to prioritise improved food security and reduced incidence of undernutrition, sustained and inclusive rural development, and promotion of equality. World Vision’s intervention is also supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s National Social Economic Development Plan for Improving Nutrition, by increasing the production animal-based protein for household consumption.

Most importantly, Vieng’s children are now able to enjoy more available and diversified nutritious food, helping their growth and development,says Lattana Xaypanya, NFS project Manager for World Vision.

In the coming months, the project will roll out complementary social behavior change activities like nurturing groups, where mothers and caregivers will learn new knowledge on nutrition and hopefully change and how to cook and care for their children so that they can enjoy fullness of life from the very beginning.