About one third of the Vietnamese population lives below the poverty line, and 85% of the poor live in rural areas. The primary expenditure instrument used by the Government of Vietnam to improve rural incomes has been subsidized irrigation investments. Irrigation accounts for about half of all public expenditures in the agricultural sector, and three-quarters of all capital investments. The primary question posed by this study is: how effective are public irrigation expenditures in increasing rural incomes, particularly for the poor?

In order to better inform its Southeast Asia grantmaking, the McKnight Foundation required research and preparation of a paper on the changing microfinance environment in Cambodia and Vietnam. One of the Foundation’s themes in the region has been support for projects addressing poverty and the lack of economic and/or employment opportunities. McKnight has supported and continues to support several microfinance projects in Cambodia and Vietnam to address this issue but wanted to learn more about the changes taking place to determine how effective microfinance schemes have been in addressing poverty and the lack of economic opportunities, which approaches are most effective in the current environment, and what resources are necessary to support the field. In particular, McKnight wanted to know whether continued Foundation investments make sense, and if so, what was the best way to target the program’s modest resources for greatest impact.

The Quang Nam Marine Protected Area (MPA) Project supports the establishment of Cu Lao Cham Pilot MPA and the GoV’s initiative to develop an MPA network. It provides experiences on sustainable management of marine resources in one of the most biologically diverse marine areas in Quang Nam Province and in Vietnam. The objectives of the project were to: develop MPA management tools for improved enforcement, community-based MPA management and environmental awareness; and build support among local resource users, women’s groups and other relevant stakeholders.

To support the further development of specifically small enterprises the ILO in collaboration with the VCCI introduced Poverty Reduction through Integrated Small Enterprise Development (PRISED) in Vietnam. The objective of the project is to contribute to local economic growth and poverty reduction by creating more and better jobs through the promotion of private sector development. The project aims foster private sector development by encouraging partnerships between the SME sector and provincial government.

The ADB Vietnam Resident Mission implemented a regional project entitled Making Markets Work Better for the Poor (MMW4P). The purpose of the project is to (a) conduct analytical work on the functioning of markets and the extent to which the poor are able to benefit from them, and (b) to build capacity to support pro-poor market development through research activities, networking and the promotion of policy dialogue.