Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF)

Projet terminé
Villager voted to represent the community's small scale infastructure planning commitee.
Woman being selected to represent her village at the district development meeting, Lao PDR. © Adrian Gnaegi. © Adrian Gnägi

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been supporting the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) in Lao PDR since 2008. The main goal of the PRF is to foster development in rural villages through financing small-scale investments.

Pays/région Thème Période Budget

Politique du secteur publique
01.10.2011 - 31.12.2016
CHF  18’393’000

While Lao PDR remains one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, its government is committed to leave the UN-classified group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The poverty alleviation measures, which have been designed to achieve this goal, primarily focus on the 47 poorest districts in the country. These high-priority districts are scattered along the Vietnamese border, the Southern plateau and in the uplands of Northern Laos. These regions are less urbanized, have less road access than other districts, and are inhabited mainly by vulnerable ethnic groups.

Development at the provincial, district and village level presents a complex matrix of challenges. Financial and human resources must be transferred to these rural villages, in order for the communities to become empowered to create change.

To respond to this challenge, the Government of Laos established the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) in 2002, with the support of the World Bank. The Fund was designed to effectively and efficiently deliver resources to poor villages. The PRF has made significant progress, since the start of its operations in 2003. During the first eight years of the Poverty Reduction Fund’s operations (2003-2011), 3,335 sub-projects at the village level were completed in 47 target districts, benefitting 700,000 Lao citizens in 2,185 villages.

Since 2008, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has contributed to the budget of the PRF, in support of the Lao government’s efforts to alleviate poverty. SDC’s contribution has allowed the PRF to expand its activities to new districts, to enhance the targeting towards the poorest, and to be better anchored in the government and donor landscapes.


The vision of the Poverty Reduction Fund is to improve the utilization of economic and social services through increase participation and representation of disadvantaged groups during the local level participatory planning and implementation of local public investments and to increase the capacity of local government to carry out and deliver these services.


Principaux résultats attendus:  

The second phase of PRF will improve poor communities’ access to and utilization of infrastructure and public services, through an inclusive and community-based development process. By empowering Lao citizens to take part in community development projects, the PRF creates a link to government officials, thus allowing the poor communities a voice in the planning process. The aim is to show that the process structure is beneficial to all parties, so that the Government of Laos and funding donors adopt the overall design and approach into the government structure at the institutional level.

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

Since 2003, the PRF has provided approximately US$42 million for community projects in poor villages. As a result, significant steps have been made towards alleviating poverty. Through the support of the PRF 813 primary and secondary schools were built; 818 health and dispensary houses were founded; 826 water supply points; 643 road and bridges were built.

The PRF has also provided trainings designed to strengthen the villagers’ skills in areas that can lead to livelihood improvements. Subjects have included rice planting, raising of cattle, sanitation and hygiene, tailoring, and trainings of village health volunteers.

Beyond its contribution to infrastructure and other socio-economic development, the PRF has, through its work with more than 2,185 villages and 700,000 people, also initiated local democratic planning processes. The Fund has introduced the notions of participation, accountability, transparency, and democratic representation from the grassroots to the district level.

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Crédit Coopération au développement
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
Institution étatique étrangère
  • Central State of South East
  • SDC Field Office

Autres partenaires

The World Bank (WB), Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF), National Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication, Government Office

Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    18’393’000 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    16’720’011
Phases du projet Phase 4 01.10.2016 - 30.06.2022   (Phase en cours)

Phase 3 01.10.2011 - 31.12.2016   (Completed)