Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Assessing the poverty impact of internal resettlement programs on the ethnic minorities in Lao PDR

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posted on 2021-11-15, 13:26 authored by Bounpadith, Souphalack

This research assesses how poverty-based resettlement programs make a contribution to poverty reduction and controlling migration of ethnic people in rural Laos. In 2009, the government of Laos launched new resettlement programs in six northern provinces. The programs aimed to improve the accessibility to land of people who were remaining poor in some rural areas. Primarily, poor people were required to resettle in a village where land could be available for them.  I investigated two resettlement sites in Thathome district, Xiangkhoang province. I applied a qualitative approach to examine the poverty experiences of settlers. In particular, I focused on identifying the causes and impacts of poverty-based resettlement programs on ethnic migrants. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather responses from migrants, government officers and host villagers. Two focus group interviews were organized with migrant participants who came from different locations.  The findings revealed that poverty-based resettlement programs did not directly address the core causes of poverty and migration of poor people in rural Laos. Conversely, the improper planning and implementation of programs were responsible for poverty that happened in the resettlement sites. The programs were carried out while the local government was hampered by insufficient funds. There was little support and assistance provided to settlers during the transitional periods. As a result, settlers faced worse hardship than they had in their original villages. Poverty-based resettlement programs instead of reducing poverty had created a situation whereby there was a greater potential for poor people to become trapped in continued poverty.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Gamlen, Alan