District Development Fund and Strengthening Local Services Delivery in Lao People Democratic Republic

Chantha Onxayvieng, Shukui Tan


The District Development Fund program  or  model was introduced in Lao People Democratic Republic in 2005, with the technical and financial support of United Nations Capital Development Fund, as a core part of the Governance and Public Administration Reform Programme, which was jointly supported by United Nations Capital Development Fund and United Nations Development Programme. The District Development Fund program was designed to be an effective approach and support methodology suitable for a low capacity environment in order to help deliver better public services to rural and remote communities in Lao PDR. The DDF has since been expanded to fifty two (52) Districts (of a total of 148 Districts) across the country. DDF aims to sustainably improve local public services delivery through the strengthening of capacity of local district administration and demonstrating improved financial management systems and procedures that can contribute positively in this objective. It does this by providing both discretionary development grants together with capacity development and support to improvements systems and procedures for local development.

However, there has been little external research undertaken to date on “assessment of the District Development Fund program as an effective approach to strengthen public service improvement for decentralized and better service delivery in Lao PDR, and whether the District Development Fund program has positively affected the capacity of local authorities to delivery prioritized local public services”.  This article addresses this by looking at the empirical results from the DDF program and draws on experiences on how DDF program has been operating and contributing on the ground in building local capacities, in financial management, planning and budgeting, to enhance the local authorities’ ability to finance local priority services.

The DDF for government has become the viability and positive results of empowering local authorities and communities as part of public administration reform, that is not only a government fund transfer mechanism a form of fiscal decentralization but also has proven to be very well suited to the low capacity environment in Lao PDR A better people-focused service delivery has mostly been achieved by empowering sub-national administrations to take a more effective role in leading local socio-economic development, which is to bring about tangible improvements in public services to people and a real reduction in local poverty.

The most significant lesson of the DDF experience in Laos has been its ability to achieve results that have led to improvements in pro poor service delivery combined with improvements in the capacity of local administration in planning, budgeting and monitoring services. A critical lesson in achieving these results has been ensuring that new systems and procedures fully align with existing government processes. This not only helps to improve capacity development but also ensures innovations, which is more cost effective and scalable in future by working through existing governance systems. Greater district and community oversight and accountability result in funds being well spent with minimum leakages.

This article, to a large extent, is entering new ground where there is little other independent research or documentation available. Thus the approach relies on conducting structured evaluation dialogue with the direct stakeholders, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, Governance of Public Administration Reform /District Development Fund  project team, national and local practitioners and representatives of the communities involved, combined with a review of the available documents and data. The methodological tools used were interviews, workshops, focus group discussions, data analysis and document review.

Keywords: Service delivery, Building capacity, Financial management, Planning and budgeting management, Local authority, District development fund approach.

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email: PPAR@iiste.org

ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

Please add our address "contact@iiste.org" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright © www.iiste.org