HCM City has selected four districts – 6, 11, Tan Phu and Binh Chanh – to carry out a pilot programme on multi-dimensional poverty reduction for two years (2014- 2015).
The City Steering Committee for Poverty Reduction said several steps have been taken to improve the lives of residents in many areas including health, education, and housing.
To date, however, a multi-dimensional approach to poverty alleviation has not been taken, and the pilot programme will be the first to do so nationwide.
Traditionally, poverty alleviation efforts have focused on improving the income of poor households, but failed to address other factors that have a bearing on their wellbeing, including access to healthcare, education, clean water and a clean living environment.
In District 6, for instance, many families have already risen above the poverty line – calculated at annual earnings of VND12 million (US$570) by each member. However, these families still cannot afford to access even basic social services like quality healthcare and education, making them vulnerable to falling behind the poverty line again.
Experts say a multi-dimensional approach is key to sustaining poverty reduction.
The Viet Nam office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has funded the programme, helping draw up measurement criteria and setting poverty alleviation targets under the new approach.
The programme's results will be reviewed and adjusted in order to expand it to other districts in the city after 2015. They will also be used to make policy recommendations on multi-dimensional poverty reduction.
HCM City aims to reduce the number of poor families living in the city to less than one per cent by 2015.