Over 2 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War. It’s one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia and the communist authorities suppress free media, ethnic minorities and religious groups.
We’re building peace and stability by helping grassroots organisations to become stronger and to develop trust and understanding with authorities.
The ‘Paek Organic Cooperative in Agriculture’ produces and sells organic vegetables. We’ve worked with them since 2020 during which time they’ve grown from 52 families to 277. Their earnings have almost doubled from $98 to $160 per person.
The Cooperative’s work is transforming a region that was previously trapped in poverty. There was a lack of education, high unemployment and danger from unexploded bombs left from the Vietnam War. Migration was seen as the only hope, but those who left were often exploited and lived in very poor conditions.
Now the region is thriving with employment for young people and financial security for their families. There is a commitment to sustainability, biodiversity and soil health.
Excellent relationships have developed with local district authorities who are supportive of organic farming, seeing the products as good for the health of people, animals, and the environment. They also recognise the commercial opportunities and have advised on production techniques, management, marketing and sales.
This shows how investing in a grassroots organisation goes far beyond helping them become sustainable and profitable. It inspires the next generation, reduces migration and helps communities to create their own opportunities for the future.