The Future is Equal

Oxfam Aotearoa and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade announce $2 million partnership extension

Oxfam Aotearoa is thrilled to announce a $2 million extension of its partnership with New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on a livelihoods and business support programme in Lao PDR.

What started out as a Covid-19 relief project has transformed into a multi-year programme demonstrating New Zealand’s and Oxfam’s strong commitment to building communities’ resilience, by supporting climate resilient livelihoods, and strengthening women’s participation in local business.

Oxfam and MFAT have worked together in Lao PDR from June 2022 on a programme focussed on vulnerable communities, especially women, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Vientiane, Oudomxay, Xayaburi and Bokeo Provinces; ensuring they were able to cope with the worst economic impacts of the pandemic and enhance their livelihoods resilience.

The project included food and hygiene packages being distributed to vulnerable groups in 14 districts, impacting the lives of nearly 10,000 people with the likes of water buckets, washing powder, toothpaste, soap, blankets, and non-perishable food items being circulated.

The newly extended and expanded programme, supported with $2 million from MFAT, will include small-scale business capacity building, delivering cash transfers for inclusive and participatory community projects, and strengthening livelihoods support – especially to vulnerable communities.

Oxfam Aotearoa’s Humanitarian Advocacy and Partnerships Lead Carlos Calderon said he was grateful to MFAT for their continued commitment to improve the livelihoods of those most vulnerable in Lao PDR:

“To date COVID-19 seems already far away from us, but it had such an impact for developing communities in Laos. When communities lack appropriate response mechanisms, recovery from emergencies like cyclones, earthquakes or pandemics take much longer.

“Transforming our initial response into a programme that aims to find long-lasting solutions to allow villages and districts in Laos to thrive by themselves is a good example of responsibility with the people that we are working with, and a great example set by New Zealand’s Government.”