Chia Se, which stands for ‘partnership’ in Vietnamese, is a Sida-funded poverty alleviation programme that started in November 2003 and is planned to run until the end of 2008. With an overall budget of USD 43.5 million it is part of Vietnam’s Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) for 2006-2010 and supports the thrust towards decentralisation by making poverty alleviation a bottom-up and demand-driven process in three Provinces of Ha Giang, Yen Bai and Quang Tri. A core programme concept is the discretional management of local development funds that empowers local communities to pursue their own development priorities and make articulate demands on needs and expectations for general public service delivery. Some 460 villages can access on average a $10,000 fund each year over four years, for purposes decided by people in those villages. Not only do they have the authority to decide over the use of the funds, they are also responsible for managing them. ORGUT provides the technical assistance to the Programme since its inception. International and national advisors are stationed at the Programme Secretariat in Hanoi, the Provincial Secretariats in the provincial capitals, and until the end of 2006, also at the six district centres.
The Chia Se programme supports The General Statistics Office (GSO) in various ways and this assignment aimed at building up capacity within GSO on training key field M&E staff of the Programme. GSO developed an M&E database and was to set up a copy in each of the six Chia Se districts. The setting up of these databases had to be accompanied by capacity building tailored to the needs of the different users of the M&E database. GSO hence prepared a training course to enable key field M&E staff of the Programme to operate these databases and handle data entry and retrieval. In addition, capacity building was required for the ultimate users of information generated by the M&E databases, that is, Chia Se managers at grass roots and higher levels.