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Laos: Lessons Learned - Year 2004

Here are the main lessons learned from RHIYA Laos in 2004:

  • Different tactics in negotiation with clients over condom use can provide a solution where classic methods don’t work. A peer commercial sex worker from the CARE project in Vientiane reported that where clients proved especially resistant, reversing the argument and encouraging them NOT to use condoms can actually persuade them to use them. By emphasizing that she is a sex worker who has many customers including foreigners, and that she knows that HIV is very dangerous, but that she is not infected, the client will often insist on using the condom himself.

  •  Changes to project intervention areas at a late stage of project preparation, even for laudable reasons, can have an adverse effect on implementation if they are not properly planned for . The Laos authorities requested that the Health Unlimited project change its area of operation to 3 especially disadvantaged and inaccessible rural areas once methodologies had already been designed. A Participatory Rapid Assessment found that these approaches, developed within a different context were found to be unsuited to the largely illiterate marginal and ethnically diverse rural target population of the new intervention areas (this was particularly the case with the peer education methods chosen). This meant that more effective and culturally acceptable new approaches had to be rapidly developed and adapted to suit the new target population once the project was already underway. This underscores the need for solid needs assessment exercises to be carried out before intervention methodologies are finalized. A key finding was that needs were so extensive that any visiting group could not simply ignore curative as well as preventative medical services. To be more accepted by the target community, the project has to provide complementary medical services, including MCH care.

Please find below all lessons learned from Laos partners (as described in Annual report 2004) :

UNFPA Laos Country Office: Lao PDR UPSU

CARE: Peer Education amongst Vulnerable Youth

Health Unlimited: Adolescent Reproductive Health Outreach in Selected Villages of Southern Provinces

UNFPA/LWU: Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development


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