Laos PPP experience

Pro-Rural Poor Public and Private Partnership

The main objective is to analyse and learn from the best practices and successful strategies in the promotion of Pro Rural Poor Private and Public Partnership, in order to promote its scaling-up in Lao PDR and especially within IFAD supported projects. The Learning Route focuses on small-scale agriculture and non-agriculture rural businesses developed in Attapeu province as part of the activities promoted by RLIP

 Download the report here



Welcome to the Learning Route:

Pro-Rural Poor Public and Private Partnership in Lao PDR

Best practices and successful strategies in Attapeu Province seen through

women’s eyes

06-10 May 2013

Pro-Rural Poor Public and Private Partnership (PPP) targeting vulnerable and food insecure households have been identified by Rural Livelihood Improvement Programme (RLIP) as one of the main innovative strategies to tackle poverty challenges.

This Learning Route focuses on the scaling up of these innovations and is jointly organized by RLIP and the PROCASUR Corporation with the support of IFAD. A first implementation of the same Learning Route has been carried out between February the 25th and March the 1st, 2013; this Route will build upon the main outcomes of the previous implementation.

Read the report of the first Learning Route!

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Contact us and share your experience!!

  1. Vongdala Vongphachanh (PROCASUR)
  2. Cecilia Ruberto (Procasur):
  3. Giulia Pedone (PROCASUR):
  4. Jitendra Jadon (RLIP):


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The Learning RoutePro-Rural Poor Public and Private Partnership (PPP) targeting vulnerable and food insecure households have been identified by RLIP as one of the main innovative strategies to tackle poverty challenges. This Learning Route focuses on the scaling-up of these innovations and is jointly organized by RLIP and the PROCASUR Corporation with the support of IFAD.


Learning Route’s Objectives

The main objective is to analyse and learn from the best practices and successful strategies in the promotion of Pro Rural Poor Private and Public Partnership, in order to promote its scaling-up in Lao PDR and especially within IFAD supported projects.

The Learning Route will focus on small-scale agriculture and non-agriculture rural businesses developed in Attapeu province as part of the activities promoted by RLIP.


Downoload the Learning Rout call: call.RLIP



The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is the most rural country in Southeast Asia, withapproximately 80% of its population depending on agriculture and natural resources for theirlivelihoods. Over the course of the past 10 years, the country has experienced significant economicgrowth; however, almost 39% of the population is estimated to be below the national poverty line.Poverty is mostly concentrated in the uplands, with rates of 46-50%1.In order to eradicate poverty, Lao PDR Government is increasingly focusing in enhancing market-leddevelopment of productive sectors and raising the capacity of rural people and their communities toengage in income generating activities.Since 1978, the Government of Lao PDR partners with the InternationalFund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). As result of this partnership,the Rural Livelihoods Improvement Programme (RLIP) in Attapeu Provinceis working towards the improvement of livelihoods among rural poorcommunities. RLIP particularly targets women and vulnerable groups inpoor villages in the uplands and in resettled villages in the lowlands.



Host experiences

This Learning Route is hosted by three rural businesses and the RLIP Project in the Attapeu Province.

  1. Rural Livelihoods Improvement Programme (RLIP). MINAG Lao PDR-IFAD

The Programme area comprises 3 southern districts in Attapeu identified among the poor and poorest districts in the country, where the majority of the population belongs to ethnic groups. The Programme has four components: (i) social development; (ii) economic development and natural resources management; (iii) rural infrastructure; and (iv) institutional development and capacity building.

  1. Organic Asparagus Producers’ Group, Darkhied village, Sansai district

Successful story of resilience of a group of food-insecure households that were able to improve their livelihoods by capitalizing on new market opportunities. Today there are 21 families of the village of Darkhied, belonging to Alak ethnic group, involved in the production of Organic Asparagus selling directly their production to Swift Co., one of the most important organic traders in Southeast Asia.

  1. Taliang Natural Dyes Group, Vang Xai village, Sansai district, Attapeu Province

The Taliang Natural Dyes Group is composed by 10 Taling women from Vang Xai. Interesting example for promoting the combination of traditional knowledge with today markets trends. Moreover, the articulation of women with the public and private sectors is playing a catalyser role in this young story.



4.Organic Coffee Producers’ Group, Dakseum village, Sansai district, Attapeu Province

The Alak community of Dakseum is producing organic coffee since 1994. Since 2009 the villagers are producing and selling at larger scale through market contracts. Their strategy can be considered a learning model in Lao PDR when targeting the poorest of the poor.



Rich discussions have been the basis for the design of 11 “Innovation plans” where the participants identified specific and pragmatic actions that could improve the livelihood of their communities.  A group formed by technical experts will evaluate the plans and will follow up in order to identify the “final winners”. More information will be available soon.

Innovation plans submitted during the SECOND Learinig  Route (10th May 2013)

  1. Strengthening Taliang’s group structure and internal capacity building to access the market and engagement with private sector (Vangxay village, Sansei Attapeu)
  2. Enhancing community livelihood and income strengthening the knowledge on organic vegetables production and planning (Phonsin community, Savanakhet province)
  3. Enhancing group access to market though spicy souse quality improvement in Salavan province
  4. Improving productivity and quality of asparagus Asparagus plantation from the successful experience of Dakhiet and Mr Phimpsa
  5. Community based knowledge exchange to improve chilli plantation quality (Dongvai comunity, Champasak province)
  6. Development of community based network to enhance the knowledge and know-how on livestock vaccination (Sekong province)
  7. Strengthening Katua’s community knowledge on coffee marketing and promotion for a better access to the market (Paksong, Champasak province)
  8. Improving organic watermelon plantation in Sansai district, Attapeu province
  9. Community based knowledge exchange and training on natural dying in Xaysetha district, Attapeu province


Innovation plans submitted during the FIRST Learinig Route (1st March 2013)

  1. RLIP- Strengthening farmers groups organizations for improved banana plantation productivity.
  2. RLIP – Strengthening Asparagus Producers Group in Attapeu province.
  3. SNRMPEP – Building farmers know-how for pig rising.
  4. RLIP – Food security improvement though enhanced group organization and crops plantation.
  5. SNRMPEP – Enhancing farmers capabilities in coffee plantation and sales.
  6. SSSJ – Enhancing group organization and farmers knowledge in cardamom plantation in Sayaboury though farmers-to-farmers trainings.





Innovation Plan Contest

Downoload the Guidelines for the innovation Plan contest:

– 5 – 10 May 2013 (2nd Learning Route)

25 February – 1st March (1st Learning Route)


The preparation of the Innovation Plan allows Learning Route’s participants to strengthen the learning acquired during the LR activities as well as their on-going partnerships and networks, improving the impact of the innovations and activities proposed.

The Innovation Plan Contest offers the space to participants to put the knowledge gained into practice.


Objectives of the contest
1) Support the strengthening of innovative capacities within the project/ organization/ community, in order to facilitate the development of pro-rural poor Public and Private Partnership (PPP) strategies.

2) Complement efforts and resources of the institutions and organizations that have taken part in the Learning Route.


Contest Scope:
The Innovation Plan Contest will give priority to those plans focusing on the strengthening or the development of pro-rural poor PPP at local and regional level.

These strategies should clearly highlight the linkages among key components, such as: community organization’s strengthening, sustainable partnership between public and private sector, diversification of local production and strategies for the improvement or creation of market access for poor rural people.

The Innovation Plans supports training/educational components and the technical assistance that will be required to implement the Plan.

(… read the detailed guidelines Innovation Plan Contest Guidelines – Lao PPP )


  • Amount:

The Contest seeks to co-finance two to four Innovation Plans, with a maximum amount of USD 1500 for each one.


Procedures to postulate to the Contest

The Experience Fair is the first activity for the development of your Innovation Plan. The Experience Fair is developed during the Induction Workshop (day 1, Monday, 25 February). The purpose is that each team/organization identifies and shares with the other participants the areas of innovation and encourages them to take part into the Learning Route.

  •  Innovation Plan Fair by the end of the Learning Route. 

The last day of the Route each team/organization will present the main objectives, methodology and outcomes of the Innovation Plan to the others participating into the Learning Route. Participants will vote for the best Innovation Plans that will get extra points to start the Innovation Plan Contest.

  • Submit Innovation Plan final version. 

The teams interested in participating into the Innovation Plan Contest will need to send an adjusted version of their Innovation Plan by March 20.

Please follow the template guidelines and support your plan only with the necessary attachments.


  • Announcement of the results of the Innovation Plan Contest.

The Contest Committee will review the plan accordingly and PROCASUR will publish the results in the Community of Practice of the Learning Route.

Awarded Team Innovation Plans will be contact in order to sign a letter of agreement and other procedures. All Team Innovation Plans will receive the results of the assessment done by the Contest Committee.

  • More references

Reading about rural innovation: this 20 pages document explains in easy terms and with practical objectives how innovation in the rural can benefit our organization performance. In other words, how innovation makes us grow.


Evaluation criteria for innovation plan selection

Evaluation Criteria

Item to be evaluated

  1. 1.       Innovation

The evaluation will consider how the process of creative innovation inspired by the Learning Route’s experiences has been developed in the proposal and adapted to the local context.


Max: 13 points

(a)    Is the proposal referring to experiences that can be considered innovative in relation to its strategies, approaches, concepts, methods or other aspects?
(b)   Does the Innovation Plan have the potential to contribute with conclusions, recommendations and lessons learned useful for a large number of stakeholders involved in other experiences of pro-rural poor PPP?
(c)      Is it feasible to implement the plan with the economic resources considered in the budget (both the allocated by PROCASUR, as well as the contributed by the partnership)?
(d)     Is it feasible to execute the defined activities within the planned period of time?
(e)      Is it possible to achieve and observe the outcomes and results of the innovation plan by the end of its execution? Is it possible to measure  its outcomes/impacts?
  1. 2.       Project complementarities,  “value added” and collaborations

The evaluation will consider the level of complementarities and collaboration with on-going projects activities and the value added though the innovation to the project strategy.

Max: 5 points

(a)    Alignment with the organization’s strategy: Is the Innovation Plan in line with the proposing organization’s strategy? Does it contribute to strengthen this strategy on the medium-long term?
(b)   Sustainability: Can the proposal be implemented in the time-frame proposed? Can the proposal be embedded in the managerial capacities already in place?

3. Clearness and general quality of the innovation plan.

Max: 8 points


(a)     Problem/Topic: the problem and/or topic addressed by the Plan is clearly presented, with clear language and comprehensive information.
(b)     Direct and indirect users: the innovation plan clearly identifies direct users and indirect beneficiaries of the proposed activities.
(c)     Outputs and outcomes: specific objectives and products (outputs) as well as the results achieved (outcomes) by the Plan are clear, real and verifiable.
(d)     Methodology: the innovation plan methodology is

  1. 1.      Participative. It means it should involve actively diversified partners/stakeholders in the various phases: design, execution, use of the plan’s outcomes/benefits.
  2. 2.      Clear and results oriented providing clear statements on how the methodology will lead to the achievement of the specific objectives.
(e)        Internal coherence: The plan establish a direct and logical relation between the problem(s) to be addressed by the plan, the general objective, the specific objectives, the methodology, the outputs/products and results, the schedule and the budget.



Learning Route Schedule

06-10 May 2013, Attapeu province, Lao PDR






Sunday, 05 May


Whole day

Arrival of LR participants and check in at the Hotel

Monday, 06 May


07:00- 08:30

Breakfast and move to RLIP office

08:30- 08:50

Opening and welcome remarks by RLIP and Procasur, presentation of participants

08:50 – 9:40

Introduction to RLIP. Overview of Attapeu province and RLIP’s activities. Q&A

09:40 – 10:00

Introduction to Learning Route: objectives and schedule of the activities

10:00- 10:15

Tea break

10:15- 12:00

Preparation of the Experience Fair

12:00 – 13:30

Lunch break

13:30- 14:45

Presentation of the Experience Fair

14:45 – 15:00

Tea Break

15:00 – 16:00

Preparation to field-work: methodology and groups of work

16:00 – 16:15

Wrap up of the day and back to hotel

19:00- 21:00

Welcome dinner

Tuesday, 07 May

Attapeu, Sansai district

07:00- 09:00

Breakfast, introduction to the case study and move to the field


Organic Asparagus Producers Group


09:00 -09:45

Welcome to participantsand presentation of the Groups’ story and experience in asparagus production

09:45- 11:00

Field Visitat the organic asparagus production (2 groups)

11:00 – 12:00

Open floor for discussion with the community

12:00: 13:00

Lunch with the community

13:00- 13:30

Travel back to RLIP office

13:30- 16:30

Case Study Analysis

16:30 – 16:45

Wrap up of the day

16:45 – 19:00

Back to the hotel and time to rest

19:00 – 21:00


Wednesday, 08 May

Attapeu, Sansai district

07:00- 08:30

Breakfast and move to RLIP office

08:30 – 10:15

 Introduction and Working at the Innovation Plans

10:15- 10:30

Tea Break
        10:30- 11:00 Introduction to the case study and move to the field


Taliang Natural Dyes Group


11:00 – 12:00

Welcome to participants and introduction to the Taliang group

12:00 – 13:00

The Natural Dye Process: demonstration step by step

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch with the community

14:00 – 16:00

Case Study Analysis in the village

16:00 – 16:30

Feedback to community and back to hotel


19:00 – 20:00


Thursday, 09 May

Attapeu, Sansai

07:00- 08:30

Breakfast and move the field area

Organic Coffee Producers Group


08:30- 09:00

Welcome of participants by Coffee producers Group and presentation of the community

09:00- 09:30

Traditional dances

09:30 – 10:00

Visit to the coffee nursery and explanation about the nursery and seedling process

10:00- 12:30

Field visit to the coffee plantations(2 groups)

12:30- 13:30

Lunch with the community

13:30- 15:00

Case study Analysisin the village

15:00 – 15:30

Feedback to community and travel back to the city

19:00- 20:00


Friday, 10 May


07:00- 08:30

Breakfast and move to RLIP office
          08:30 – 10:00  Working at the Innovation Plan

10:00 – 10:15

Tea Break

10:15 – 12.00

 Working at the Innovation Plan

12:00 – 13:00

Lunch break

13:00 – 16:00

Presentation of the Innovation and Closing Ceremony

19:00 – 22:00

Closure dinner

Photos from the first Learning Route!


Photos from the first Learning Route!

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Watch the Procasur PicasA Photo Gallery!!


What did we learn? What will we bring home?

During the Learning Route, the host communities invited participants to explore and to learn about the past and present situation of their villages. Cozy and joyful community meetings offered villagers the moment to tell about their story, explaining the main changes occurred over time, the main occupation and livelihoods, and to share with participants their visions and expectations about the future.

Participants had the chance to experience the reality of the daily life of these champion communities, today engaged in partnership with the Public and Private sector. Communities showed how they are able to conduct small rural-business by selling to private enterprises their products, such as organic asparagus, natural dye textiles and organic coffee, counting on the support of governmental program.

…lessons learned…

How to create and strengthen long-term partnerships with the public and the private sector to promote rural

business, its internal dynamics as well as the risks and opportunities for the parties to engage in such relationship, have been among the main lessons learned participants said they will “bring back home” along with new knowledge and ideas.

Community level

At community level, the presence of some elements has been recognized as key to establish a sustainable path for livelihoods improvement. The group cohesion, a shared willingness to achieve common objectives and a clear vision of the future, as key factor to mobilize people and to strengthen alliances over time; the accountability and the financial transparency within the same members of the group but also with external stakeholders and finally the equilibrated division of roles/responsibilities and an internal gender equity and participation in the group management and activities, are all element that should coexist at the same time. The presence of these elements will create internal cohesion of the group and a great sense of trust not only for the members but also for the external stakeholders like public and private sector that will be engaged in activities and business with them.

Private Sector

The identification of a private sector who is willing to undertake a long-term investment. Indeed the return of the investment will arrive, but on longer time basis. The private sector will have to engage concretely with the community development, supporting the village in its process of learning and practicing new “business skills”. A trustful relation between communities and village must be established and with that a long term plan with shared objectives, where at the first place there is the community livelihood enhancement, through the market income generation activities development.

Coordinating its activities with the public sector, the private investor will be able to achieve results more quickly, as the public sector play a crucial role not only in terms of supporting communities’ mobilization and organization but also in terms of needed infrastructures for commerce.

Public Sector

The engagement of the public sector is fundamental in order to break the vicious circle of poverty in the rural communities. The public sector plays a fundamental role as interlink between the private sector, who otherwise would not be able to communicate and the communities. The public sector can protect the communities from unequal and unsustainable relations with the private sector, avoiding any type of exploitation (labor, land, rights etc). Moreover the public sector can address the knowledge needs and can create interlinks between villages. The public institutions can develop with the communities a larger scale plan for market sales development, giving more weight to the voice of united groups of farmers in their relation with the private sector.

Finally the public sector can support the group of farmers in learning how to establish contracts, negotiations and how to develop sustainable strategies to stand alone in front of the private sector once the production and the skills will be appropriately developed.

Sharing Risks and Benefits: inter-relations among PPP actors

Starting new income generation activities within a PPP system is an appropriate way to let rise the livelihood in rural community. Trustful relations among well organized entities is very important. To achieve this balance many changes must take place. Strengthened and fair organizations (farmers group, private and public institutions) must dialogue and plan together the objectives in the future, not only in economic terms (market), but also in terms of individual, social and environmental development.

At the very beginning of a public, private partnership each stakeholder risks something, on the other side, once the relation are well established and balanced, there is a big potential of social, and economic growth.

Many thanks to…

Once again we would like to thanks the communities of Darkhied, Taliang and Daxeum for having taking part enthusiastically to the Learning Route. Their knowledge and attitude inspired all of us, their professionalism and attention to the m

A last but not least thanks goes in primis to RLIP who hosted the Learning Route, facilitate in terms of logistics and proactively participated in the learning process and in the discussions, and thanks again to SSSJ, SNRMPEP, Xaysetha Agriculture Office, Phouvong Agri Office in taking part into the LR and made this event so special.


Women’s thoughts during the 2nd learning route…

During the 5 days event the 20 female participants experienced field visits, discussions and analysis sessions that resulted in the development of action plans to improve their communities’ livelihoods through better access to market, stronger and improved group management, and strengthened relations with the private sector.

Every day participants made the Learning Route River wider with their knowledge, expectations, challenges, lessons learned and recommendations. On the last day, new ideas and innovations plans contributed to reach the maximum river’s flow, with many streams getting communities in 5 different districts of Southern Laos.

As Ms. Bouasavanh Homdouangphachanh (representative for a community association, SNRMPE Project, Salavan province) pointed out “the most significant lesson experienced through the Learning Route is that the development of new business activities goes hand in hand with the improvement of education and the enhancement of gender inclusion at the community level. Sustainable business activities could take place only where there is a well organized community or group, a good management of the environment and the natural resources.”

Pro-rural poor public-private partnerships put “People” at the centre of a range of integrated activities for livelihood improvement”.

Integrated strategies and approaches to foster pro-poor rural PPP should be drawn on the base of key components. Participants highlighted some of them:

1. Clear organization structure and sharing of roles, responsibilities and rules, and participatory decision making processes complemented by transparent and accountable financial management are key to ensure effective group management. In this framework, the role of women at both production and decision-making process, should be strengthened.

2. The sharing of a common vision among group members and collective future plans are key for the sustainability of the experience over time

3. The establishment and regular management of a collective fund is indispensable for the development of the group’s activities.

4. The written agreement between farmers, public and private sector is an indispensible asset and it must reflect responsibilities of the various parties. The role of the public sector goes far beyond the community infrastructure development to access the market. Counting on the trust of the community, local public organizations have the responsibility to support the strengthening of the group developing sustainable dynamics that can ensure benefits for the whole community and guarantee the establishment of a fair relation with the private sector.

5. On the other side, the private sector plays an important role as trainer, introducing the farmers to new effective and efficient techniques that can improve the productivity and preserve natural resources.

6. In order to have fair deals it is important for the farmers to know the overall market context (price and quality standards) of the products they will sell to the private sector

7. Cultural identity should be preserved and valorised. The promotion of handicrafts with a strong cultural identity (such as in the case of the natural dyes fabrics manufactured by the Taliang women) in fact, can generate incomes for the producer. The identification of the source and origin of a product, and its cultural identity, can attract market demand and ensure new incomes.

Based on these learning, participants developed strategic innovation plans focusing on the creation or the improvement of pro-rural poor PPP at local and regional level.

Each innovation plan creates in its own specific way linkages among key components, such as: community organization’s strengthening, sustainable partnership between public and private sector, diversification of local production and strategies for the improvement or creation of market access for poor rural people.


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