EIIP Involvement in Laos
The ILO has a long history of providing technical support to planning and implementation of rural infrastructure works in Laos. The ILO was among the first to support the development of a comprehensive strategy for the construction and maintenance of rural roads in Laos. With financial support from Germany and Sweden, the viability of these policies and implementation strategies were demonstrated through the launch in 1994 of the labour-based rural road project in Savannakhet and Oudomxai. The main recommendations were summarised in a strategy document prepared by this project. In addition, the project prepared a technical manual documenting how rural roads can be improved applying labour-based works technology.
At the time, ILO also established close cooperation with various training institutions in Laos. Through their involvement in project training activities, these institutions disseminated this experience to a wider audience in their regular training courses. Recognising this interest, the ILO developed appropriate training material on labour-based road works technology for the School of Transport and Communications and the Vientiane Polytechnic.
With funding from UNDP and the Swedish Government, the "Rural Access Planning and Infrastructure for Basic Needs Project" or "IRAP" started in 1995. The main components included:
- development, promotion and institutionalization of local level access planning;
- training of government staff and the establishment of local capacity;
- establishment of data bases and preparation of maps;
- development of a community participatory process of planning and implementing priority rural access interventions;
- development and establishment of a rural road planning framework.
The EIIP has also been involved at various stages of policy work relating to the effective provision of rural infrastructure in Laos. During the early years, the ILO was a key resource in developing the rural road network and how such works could be effectively planned and implemented. Through the EIIP, the ILO has also been involved in establishing appropriate and effective road maintenance practices in Laos.
In 2011, the Ministry of Planning and Investment requested the ILO to support the development of an integrated approach for rural employment, building on earlier EIIP work, to achieve for poverty reduction goals set out in the National Social Economic Development Plan.
The approach consisted of a combination of different interventions such as community infrastructure improvements, skills development, strengthening value chains, support to small and medium enterprises and OSH training. Building on earlier technical support, the approach focused on development activities at district and community level which could inform policies and strategies at the national level. Financial support from SDC allowed the ILO to demonstrate the feasibility and impact of the approach through rural development activities in Sekong Province. Infrastructure works included improvement and maintenance of local access roads, fish pond construction and irrigation works.