The Strategic Review of Food and Nutrition Security in Lao PDR, chaired by the Minister of Planning and Investment, was launched in October, following a yearlong process of consultations. The review complements national plans and corresponding sector strategies, helping reinforce efforts to address food insecurity and undernutrition in a comprehensive and integrated way.
The Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network was pre-launched by the Ministry of Health, the European Union and WFP to support the Government’s efforts in addressing malnutrition and implementing the National Nutrition Strategy through the development of sustainable and innovative business models to address malnutrition.
WFP’s long-term goal in Lao PDR is to enhance food security and nutrition in the most vulnerable communities by implementing sustainable programmes.
The Country Programme is in line with the Government’s 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, and various sectorial strategies and plans, as well as with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, 2012-2016.
In addition to building national capacity, WFP-supported activities address the three elements of food security by: i) increasing food availability, ii) improving households’ access to food, and iii) advocating for adequate food utilisation. To achieve this, WFP uses a lifecycle approach.
The Mother and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) programme provides pregnant women and nursing mothers and children between 6-23 months of age with nutritional support through supplementary foods and food rations. The programme ensures nutritional balance to prevent chronic malnutrition.
For pre-primary and primary school children, the school meals programme provides a nutritious snack or lunch to 140,000 children in 1,500 schools across seven provinces. In line with the Government’s School Lunch Policy (2014), WFP supports the transition from snack to lunch.
The school meals programme includes setting up school gardens as part of the Government’s priority for home grown school feeding. WFP is working on a hand-over strategy of the programme to the Government.
Through Food Assistance for Assets (FFA), WFP supports communities to build assets for the community, such as roads or irrigation systems.
These activities aim at encouraging self-sufficiency and improving long-term food security in vulnerable communities.
Located in a geographical area prone to natural disasters, Lao PDR is affected by recurring floods, excessive rain or persistent droughts leading to food insecurity. The Emergency Preparedness and Response programme aims at improving resilience to natural disasters in the Government and the communities through capacity development activities.
In the event of an emergency, WFP maintains an emergency stock of canned fish to feed 35,000.