With a participatory and inclusive process, the pilot increased the acceptance and ownership of the DSEDP among community members and also created an opportunity for ongoing coordination and collaboration. Another important outcome is the creation of the DSEDP plans as platforms directly linked to the village and Kumban-level plans. The DSEDP will become the source by which district authorities and development agencies select priorities and plan their own investments.
“The pilot aims to support our objective to have one single planning process that links the targets of the sectors and the needs of villagers. Therefore, we would like development partners to use and support this integrated planning process,” said Chanfong Keobounyong, Deputy Director of Provincial Rural Development Office, Luang Prabang.
Developing the DSEDP in a participatory and transparent manner was also useful for government officials. The training provided to local officials at the initial stage was critical to the success of the pilot. Going forward, it will be important to also continue to build capacity among local officials.
“We are the owners of the planning process and implementation of activities. We would like the Poverty Reduction Fund and other development partners to support our capacity building, especially in facilitation skills,” said Khamsone Boundouangchanh, Head of Xamneua District Planning Office, Houaphan.
Following this successful exercise, the creation of a formal procedure for a single and integrated local planning process will be piloted soon. Once the pilot for this new process is rolled out, with support of the Poverty Reduction Fund, the goal is for it to eventually be adopted by the government.
“The planning system of Lao PDR is a combination of top-down and bottom-up processes. This pilot represents a good experiment of how to link the top-down targets and the bottom-up proposals from villages in an interactive and participatory manner. Therefore, we will document the process and take it forward,” said Mr. Lienthong Souphany, Deputy Director General of the Department of Planning, Ministry of Planning and Investment.