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Participatory Poverty Monitoring in Rural Communities in Vietnam : Synthesis report

Participatory Poverty Monitoring in Rural Communities in Vietnam : Synthesis report

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Published by Oxfam
Viet Nam has been rapidly changing over the last 25 years. Once one of the world's poorest nations, Viet Nam has seen tremendous achievements in economic growth and poverty reduction in recent years. The percentage of the population living in poverty in 1993 was nearly 60 percent; that had been reduced to 16 percent in 2006, according to the Viet Nam Development Report 2008. Vietnam recently acceded officially to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which presents both opportunities and challenges to the country. The impacts of this accession on Vietnam's poverty track record over the next few years is of crucial importance and this joint study between Oxfam GB, Oxfam Hong Kong and ActionAid Vietnam, intends to capture that through periodic assessments of the changes happening in the country, particularly as it applies to vulnerable groups. The goals of the monitoring exercise are to provide significant qualitative information on poverty and development to be used in conjunction with statistical and survey data collected from other sources, establish an 'early warning' network to identify any negative impacts, especially on poor and vulnerable people, in the wake of accession to the WTO and to improve local capacity and enhance people's participation in monitoring, with an eye to making poverty alleviation more effective and equitable. In accessing important trends in poverty reduction, this report focuses on four major aspects of the problem: the growing gap between rich and poor, the vulnerability of poor households to shocks and risks; the challenge of gender equality and the barriers to participation and empowerment of poor people to take larger roles in deciding their own lives. The study relies on primary data gathered from nine provinces that joined the monitoring network and one typical commune in each province was selected for the fieldwork, with the exception of Ninh Thuan province where two communes were selected. In each commune two villages were chosen. The survey found striking differences in poverty rates and incomes between different groups living in the same commune. Although different ethnic groups experience features common to the area such as climate, topography or availability of water, incomes and poverty rates turned out to be markedly different.
Viet Nam has been rapidly changing over the last 25 years. Once one of the world's poorest nations, Viet Nam has seen tremendous achievements in economic growth and poverty reduction in recent years. The percentage of the population living in poverty in 1993 was nearly 60 percent; that had been reduced to 16 percent in 2006, according to the Viet Nam Development Report 2008. Vietnam recently acceded officially to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which presents both opportunities and challenges to the country. The impacts of this accession on Vietnam's poverty track record over the next few years is of crucial importance and this joint study between Oxfam GB, Oxfam Hong Kong and ActionAid Vietnam, intends to capture that through periodic assessments of the changes happening in the country, particularly as it applies to vulnerable groups. The goals of the monitoring exercise are to provide significant qualitative information on poverty and development to be used in conjunction with statistical and survey data collected from other sources, establish an 'early warning' network to identify any negative impacts, especially on poor and vulnerable people, in the wake of accession to the WTO and to improve local capacity and enhance people's participation in monitoring, with an eye to making poverty alleviation more effective and equitable. In accessing important trends in poverty reduction, this report focuses on four major aspects of the problem: the growing gap between rich and poor, the vulnerability of poor households to shocks and risks; the challenge of gender equality and the barriers to participation and empowerment of poor people to take larger roles in deciding their own lives. The study relies on primary data gathered from nine provinces that joined the monitoring network and one typical commune in each province was selected for the fieldwork, with the exception of Ninh Thuan province where two communes were selected. In each commune two villages were chosen. The survey found striking differences in poverty rates and incomes between different groups living in the same commune. Although different ethnic groups experience features common to the area such as climate, topography or availability of water, incomes and poverty rates turned out to be markedly different.

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Published by: Oxfam on Apr 12, 2011
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Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
PREFACE
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
ABBREVIATIONS AND TERMS
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
INTRODUCTION
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15OBJECTIVE OF THE REPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15METHODOLOGY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15The framework: themes and hypotheses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17Field work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
PART 1: AN OVERVIEW OF POVERTY TRENDS AND POVERTY REDUCTION EFFORTS
. . . . .21
1. OVERVIEW OF POVERTY TRENDS
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211.1 DECLINING NATIONAL AND LOCAL POVERTY RATES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211.2 DRIVERS OF POVERTY REDUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22Increasing productivity from farms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23Infrastructure improvements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27Improving access to markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28Increased opportunities for wage labour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29Better access to education and health services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30Increased access to credit and financial services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .331.3 REMAINING POVERTY PROBLEMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34Food poverty and poor nutrition remains serious for some . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34Difficulties in identification of the poor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34The national poverty line is inaccurate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36Strong pessimism for the near future among the poor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
PART 2. KEY THEMES IN ADDRESSING POVERTY
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
2. THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND THE POOR
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .392.1 REASONS FOR INEQUALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39Poor People have Fewer Income Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40Poor People Have Less Land and Lesser Quality Land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40Poor People Have Fewer Assets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42Poor People Participate Less . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44Poor People Have Fewer Social Assets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44Poor People are Susceptible to Drug Abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46Poor People are Less Successful in Applying Science and Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46Poor People Have Less Access to Capital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47Poor People Have Less Access to the Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49Poor People Tend to Be Ethnic Minorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .502.2 THE NEAR-POOR REMAIN AT RISK TOO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .532.3 CONCLUSIONS: THE DETERMINANTS OF THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR . . . . . . . . .55
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