Pro-poor Policy Monitoring
As Vietnam experiences rapid socio-economic change, so too are the development challenges that the country faces changing. New sources of vulnerability are emerging, inequality is on the rise, and poverty is becoming more concentrated in ethnic minority areas. In order to effectively address these new challenges, a number of polices aimed at helping poor women and men need to be amended.
National and provincial policy makers are therefore in need of evidence-based findings, which they can use to formulate and implement effective pro-poor policies. This requires up-to-date data and analysis of poverty and vulnerability, and research on the implications of pro-poor policies on local communities.
Annual research across Vietnam
In response, a three-year Oxfam project is conducting monitoring and analysis of pro-poor policies across Vietnam, looking at how these policies are implemented and what impact they have on people’s lives. The aim is to provide the government with qualitative research and policy recommendations, supporting the development and implementation of pro-poor and socially inclusive policies.
The research is conducted annually in nine provinces and cities across Vietnam and is focused on three groups of policies in particular: local planning and budget decentralisation, agricultural extension and vocational training. The project builds on previous Oxfam work on poverty monitoring during 2007-2012.
The evidence and stories of local communities and poor men and women that are collected are used to produce a series of recommendations, comprehensive reports and policy briefs, and as input for policy dialogues and other advocacy work to promote more sustainable and effective pro-poor policies.
The aim is to ensure that evidence-based findings and recommendations are translated into concrete actions and commitments by policy makers. Oxfam collaborates with many different stakeholders, such as elected bodies, research institutes, civil society organisations and the media, to disseminate findings and create public debate.
A unique approach
The project is unique in its use of a longitudinal approach, with research being conducted annually in the same communities in nine areas of Vietnam. This allows Oxfam to clearly describe how specific policies have led to change. The amount of qualitative information generated is also notable, and helps to put people’s voices at the heart of poverty reduction debates.
The cooperative research process also serves to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations, local partners and the media to monitor, analyse and influence pro-poor policies, carry out their own research, and propose new policies.
Contributing to policy-making
The findings and recommendations generated from policy monitoring have already been used to contribute to a number of policy-making processes. For example, the government is using research results as an input in the development of the National Target Programme for Sustainable Poverty Reduction (2016-2020). The Government Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) is also applying information and recommendations from the monitoring and analysis in a proposed new government programme for ethnic minority communities. Oxfam is helping to make sure the voices of ethnic minority communities are heard and taken into account in the final version of CEMA’s programme document.
Oxfam has presented and discussed research results in a number of policy dialogues. This includes a policy dialogue on the effectiveness of budget mobilisation, allocation and use in poverty reduction programmes, organised by the National Assembly, Oxfam, and the Poverty Reduction Policies and Programme (PRPP) project funded by UNDP and Irish Aid.
Project: Pro-poor policy monitoring and analysis in Vietnam
Location: Nine cities and provinces across Vietnam (Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Lao Cai, Hoa Binh, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Dak Nong, Ninh Thuan and Tra Vinh) and national-level advocacy
Time frame: 2013-2016
Funding: Irish Aid, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and Oxfam core funding
 Lao Cai, Hoa Binh, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Dak Nong, Ninh Thuan and Tra Vinh provinces; Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.