Cablegate: Monitoring Report for G/Tip Fy06 Program: World Vision's


DE RUEHVN #0435/01 2190921
R 060921Z AUG 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REFS: A. 07 STATE 146066
B. 08 VIENTIANE 000145

1. SUMMARY: In response to G/TIP's request (ref A) post conducted a
review of the G/TIP-funded World Vision "Voices of Victims:
Youth-to-Youth Advisory System on Safe Migration" grant project.
The project period is currently September 2007 to September 2009,
though the project draws on FY06 funds. While the grantee conducted
an introductory workshop and hired project staff, lengthy memorandum
of understanding negotiations between World Vision and the
provincial authorities and central government of Laos (GOL) have
delayed full program implementation. World Vision expects the MOU to
be approved in late August and the project to begin in September.

2. Following are responses to Reftel inquiries.

A. An Embassy staff member met with John Whan Yoon, Mekong Delta
Regional Trafficking Strategy II (MDRTS II) Regional Manager, and
Leigh Vickery, Advocacy and Anti-Trafficking Support Consultant, in
Vientiane to discuss the status of World Vision's "Voices of
Victims" (VoV) project, a youth-to-youth advisory system on safe
migration, funded by G/TIP. The project period is September 2007 to
September 2009 and the project is based in Savannakhet Province in
southern Laos.

B. World Vision hired project staff and conducted trainings and
informal meetings to begin setting up the trafficking awareness
program, though further activities toward full implementation will
need to wait for the completed MOU (see para 4). World Vision held
a four-day introductory workshop for the Voices of Victims (VoV)
project in Savannakhet in February 2008 to build trust among the
stakeholders, orient the government to the project, and train World
Vision staff. VoV is now fully staffed with a Program Manager and
three project officers, all based in Savannakhet. World Vision held
informal meetings and set up Project Coordination Committees to
explain and build understanding of the project in the province. The
committees are comprised of World Vision staff and local government
contacts. World Vision identified five villages in three districts
in which to implement the VoV project. The villages were chosen
based on need, donor coordination, government permission, and Area
Development Plan (ADP) assessments. (Note: ADPs are long-term,
multi-sector, integrated development plans operating at the village
level -- essentially World Vision's keystone projects.) Two project
staff have attended a related anti-trafficking workshop in Bangkok
on the Mekong Delta Regional Trafficking Strategy II (MDRTS II)
program and also received gender training, which included gender
analysis and program design and implementation.

C. The grantee encountered lengthy delays in the MOU approval
process with the provincial government. The GOL does not permit
foreign organizations to begin project implementation until the
signing of an MOU is complete, and thus the grantee did not progress
towards specific objectives and indicators in the proposal. The
grantee submitted the MOU and project proposal in March and did not
receive feedback until July. The main issue under discussion was
the location and scope of the Migrant Advice Center. If the revised
MOU is approved in August, World Vision will begin the project in

D. The grantee is operating in the context of an authoritarian
system in which obtaining government permission is a cumbersome and
time-consuming process. However, World Vision, which has operated
in Laos longer than any other international NGO, is well-versed in
GOL project approval procedures. The organization is, in the
Embassy's view, well-positioned to effect long-term change and
development of local capacity. (Comment: While the timeframe is
uncertain, there is little doubt that the GOL will eventually
approve the MOU.)

E. World Vision's strong record in Laos indicates the organization
is qualified to implement the VoV program. Because the project has
not yet begun, reporting on the grantee's capacity will be
undertaken at a later date.

F. The grantee believes the project period of two years is too
short to implement sustainable programming, particularly given the
burdensome operating context. The grantee suggests G/TIP consider
longer-term RFAs. In the Embassy's estimation, the VoV project is
likely to require a time extension due to the delays in the MOU

G. This project is well-positioned to address key deficiencies set
forth in the Laos TIP country narrative, such as the lack of local
capacity and the problem of internal migration. VoV strives to
build local capacity through its community-based protection
mechanisms and integrated programming with ADPs, and the safe
migration educational initiatives are applicable to both internal
and cross-border trafficking. Comments on the effectiveness of
program operations will be undertaken at a later date.

H. Despite being hamstrung by the lengthy MOU process with the GOL,
the grantee was able to accomplish some useful preliminary grant
activities. Post recommends the continuation of funding and
monitoring six months after the grantee begins project
implementation, which is tentatively scheduled for September and is
contingent on the signing of the MOU. Given World Vision's strong
record in Laos, post expects a solid program once implementation


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