Analysis of Lessons Learned, Results and Relevance of Technical Assistance to the Chia Se Programme, 2003-2008
Chia Se, which stands for ‘partnership’ in Vietnamese, is a Sida-funded poverty alleviation programme that started in November 2003 and ended in March 2009. With an overall budget of USD 43.5 million it was part of Vietnam’s Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) for 2006-2010 and supported 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, using poverty reduction tools such as Local Development Fund (LDF) and Local Planning for Management and Development (LPMD).On a national level, special support was given to the integration of the CPRGS into the current 5-year planning cycles. The Ministry of Planning and Investment was also supported on strategic communication, specific capacity building and the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation system.
Technical Assistance had three main duties:
1) facilitating the establishment and operation of the programme management structure, ensuring that the preferences of the villagers determined how programme funds were used at the local level
2) ensuring that the funds were properly used and accounted for, and
3) supporting the monitoring and reporting system at all levels.
ORGUT provided international and national long-term advisers and short-term consultants stationed at the commune, district, provincial, and central levels. A comprehensive ‘Programme Implementation and Management Manual’ was prepared during an inception period. During the implementation phase, the programme activities previously developed were rapidly scaled up, so that full coverage - some 500 villages - was reached by the end of 2005.
At the ministry level, the consultants provided advice on integration of the programme into the government structures and on incorporating ‘lessons learned’ from Chia Se into relevant national policy making. The consultant also provided specific support through long- and short-term advisors on communication, M&E, capacity building and procurement. Additionally, a junior expert in agricultural economics, carried out cost benefit analyses of different production schemes.
In the consultancy services to Chia Se, a special Quality Control Group (QCG) was appointed. As Chia Se Phase I was coming to an end, the programme was in the process of analysing the results and lessons learned from five years of implementation. This process included lessons and experiences from delivery of technical assistance to the programme, as well as from the development context Chia Se has worked in.