Undernutrition and food insecurity in Laos remain stubbornly high, with stunted children under five up to 61% in some provinces. Communities most prone to undernutrition live in upland areas, where the dominant household economic activities of agriculture and non-timber forest product extraction are increasingly constrained by unsustainable farming practices. Improving women’s nutrition is critical to breaking the inter-generational cycle of undernutrition and, given the negative impact that chronic undernutrition has on health, productivity, educational attainment, and income-earning ability, to sustained national economic growth.
AFN reduces extreme poverty and malnutrition in the poorest communities in northern Laos by strengthening public services, establishing agriculture-based and community-driven nutrition interventions, promoting climate-resilient irrigation and water management based on the community approach, and forming sustainable and inclusive market-driven partnerships. Activities include establishing nutrition-sensitive agricultural production infrastructure, particularly micro-irrigation systems; creating Farmer Nutrition Schools, and establishing home gardens and financing activities that promote the availability of nutritious food for female-led households. Further, the project supports diversification from rice, the main staple food, which accounts for 72% of the total cultivated area, and promotes climate-smart, sustainable farming by introducing conservation farming techniques and agroforestry.
- Lao PDR
The project has reached 204,256 people, 74% of them women. Among these, 29,791 people, more than 23,000 of them women, have benefitted from training on nutrition-sensitive agriculture; about 30,000 households are benefiting from village infrastructure projects, with 442 households growing forage seeds and planting material on 632 hectares; and 2,297 households are growing 1,163 hectares of forage for feeding purposes. The project also has developed, disseminated, and facilitated trainings on nine guidelines and tools, including farmer-to-farmer guidelines. To strengthen public services, the project has continued its technical support to 14 Technical Service Centers to establish demonstration sites through green- and net-houses, poultry- and frog-raising, and forage production. The project has trained 5,119 civil servants dedicated to sectoral planning and strategy on better practices, selected lead farmers, and village veterinary workers, including women, in 400 villages, linking them with farmer groups and project beneficiaries. Finally, since 2020, Farmer Nutrition Schools have expanded to include all 400 villages under the project, carrying out learning sessions through 1,217 village facilitators for 21,593 participants, of which 95% are women. Cooking sessions are organized as part of the project to show participants and interested villagers recipes using nutrient-dense foods grown and produced in the villages, with 19,949 people having joined since the last reporting period, 94% of them women.
Khanh Bao Nguyen
Edwin de Korte
Additional Financing Documents:
Official Project Documents: