Program Background

The forest of Laos is full of natural resources such as fruits, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, wild plants, crabs, fish, and medical plants. It also offers building materials, firewood, and dyer’s weed. These resources serve as daily food for villagers as well as an important cash income. On the other hand, rapid economic growth often causes deforestation due to the construction of plantations or development of mineral resources. Also, the land of villagers is sometimes forcibly expropriated, harming their livelihood.

Supporting villagers to manage and utilize natural resources by themselves (Savannakhet province)

Training by using a calendar to raise awareness of laws.

their environment by learning how to protect their forests. They also will be able to increase their income by improving their agricultural techniques. Through such activities, we aim at making the villager’s lives stable under rapidly changing circumstances. In 2017, we did a follow-up on the project finished in 2016 in the Assaphone district and the northern part of the Phine district of the Savannakhet province. At the same time, we did a survey of candidate villages for our new project in these districts and the southern part of the Phine district.

[Outcome]

Activities in the Assaphone district and the northern part of the Phine district

Survey to select villages for the new project.

After working for preserving forests and offering agricultural training for villagers to secure food, we finished the project in this area in 2016. As a follow-up on the project in 2017, we made a booklet that summarizes our experiences on the improvement of rice farming (SRI: System of Rice Intensification) and rattan growing. We distributed the booklets to officials and villagers in the local areas. We also built wells in three areas of two villages in the Assaphone district, where villagers have difficulty getting clean water. We conducted training for protecting natural resources in the district government office and the agricultural training center by using a calendar to raise awareness of laws.

Activities in the Atsaphangthong district and the southern part of the Phine district

Training for the survey methods with the use of satellite pictures.

We discussed new project areas with administrative officials. JVC and the Lao government agreed on selecting five villages in both the Atsaphangthong district and the southern part of the Phine district. After investigating satellite pictures, topographic maps, and details of land use, we conducted a field survey to select the villages in 2017. We collected data by interviewing the village heads in a total of 27 villages in August and December. We coordinated the aims of JVC and requests from the government and finally selected villages in February 2018.

Throughout the survey, we used topographic maps and water charts to obtain various pieces of information. We discussed our forthcoming activities based on the information collected through the interviews of the village heads: population, number of households, ethnic groups, religions, GPS data, agricultural production, land use, and animal husbandry. After discussing with officials, we selected the areas to build the agricultural training centers in each district and started construction. In addition, we collaborated in making a guideline for the protection of aquatic life in rivers. We also collaborated in making a calendar to raise awareness of laws, which we use in training for officials at the district offices.

A signing ceremony of MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for the new project will be held in April 2018, which gives practical permission to the project.

[Source: JVC Annual Report 2017]

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