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Families freed from poverty can slip back

Update: December, 22/2012 - 10:40

 

Women weave brocade products in Khuon Ha Commune in northern Tuyen Quang Province. This is one of the crafts that helps households escape from poverty. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Tuan
HA NOI (VNS) — Although the poverty rate among several ethnic groups has been drastically reduced, nearly half the residents in 42 provinces nationwide are still considered poor, according to a report.

The report, which surveyed 6,000 households and launched yesterday by the Committee for Ethnic Minorities Affairs, shows that 49.2 per cent live below the poverty line in 2012, compared to 57.5 per cent in 2007.

To be defined as poor, a household's combined income must be less than VND200,000-260,000 per month, according to the national poverty line applied in 2006-10.

The report examines the impact of the second phase of Programme 135, a five-year national poverty reduction programme implemented between 2006-10 that targets about 1,640 poor and mountainous communes in 45 provinces that are home to the majority of Viet Nam's ethnic minorities.

Carried out with assistance from Indochina Research&Consulting (IRC), an independent, private consulting firm, the report included comparisons to the living conditions of these households in 2007, when the committee also conducted a baseline survey for the same purpose.

Government statistics presented at the event suggested that the poverty rate among the ethnic groups went down to 28.8 per cent in 2010.

But the report indicates that 14.3 per cent of households that previously succeeded in making it above the poverty line have returned to their former condition.

"The rate of falling back into poverty is still high. We need to continue working to prevent this trend," said Vo Van Bay, deputy director of the committee's policy department.

While housing conditions across the country have improved, the lack of clean water continues to impede progress. Only 13 per cent of ethnic minority households have tap water, while 27 per cent of households nationwide had tap water in 2010.

Phung Duc Tung, a representative from IRC, which helped carry out the survey, said the report suggested that while the programme has improved living standards, there is still work to be done to ensure that ethnic minority groups have the same advantages as the rest of the population.

Additional research, he said, would answer the question of why some poor households remain poor in spite of the programme's support and determine how future support programmes could be improved to take into account the specific needs and culture of each group. — VNS

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