||Our work in Lao PDR
Using Video to Capture ' Stories of Change'
The MWBP-PPO in collaboration with Health Unlimited, recently pilot the Most Significant
Change (MSC) approach to participatory M&E in Attapeu province, Lao PDR
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National Wetlands Network Follow Up Meeting
20 July 2006, Attapeu Province
As a follow up to the establishment and maintenance of National Wetlands Specialist Network in Lao PDR, the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP), conducted a half day consultation meeting with network members in Attapeu province on 20 July 2006.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Viengsavay Sengsoulivong, Deputy Director of the Attapeu Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office, with participation of 22 network members from various provincial and district offices, as well as key staff of the MWBP. During the meeting participants actively shared and exchanged their views and opinions on how to make the network run effectively in the current context of the province and district so that it can provide maximum benefits to its members at provincial and central level.
Agreement to key recommendations was reached, including that the network should be expanded, key communication tools and mechanisms identified, and that the MWBP Provicial Project Office (PPO) will act as the central point for exchange of information. It is expected that the network will be officially endorsed at the National Steering meeting in August 2006.
Aquatic Animals & Wildlife Conservation Day Celebrated
13 July 2006, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Aquatic Animals & Wildlife Conservation National Day is officially celebrated on 13 July each year at national, provincial and local level across the country. To mark this significantly important day, the Laos National Programme Office of the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP), in collaboration with the Living Aquatic Resources Research Center (LARReC) participated in an official ceremony hosted by the Ilay village authority of Nasaithong district, Vientiane Capital. The ceremony chaired by Mr. Khamphanh Bounchingmisay, the governor of Nasaithong district, Vientiane Capital took place in the morning of 13 July 2006 at Namhoum Reservoir. Over a hundred senior persons participating in the ceremony included Buddhist monks, senior district staff of different offices, head of LARReC and its staff, National Programme Coordinator, National Training and Communication Coordinator of MWBP and other mass media people from district and Vientiane Capital. During this event, more than 800,000 fingerlings were released into Namhoum reservoir, 5,000 of which were contributed by the MWBP.
Director General Visits MWBP Demonstration Site in Attapeu
June 2006, Attapeu Province
A high delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, visited the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) demonstration site in Attapeu Province from 31 May to 4 June 2006. The delegation was led by Dr Bounthong Bouahom, Director General of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), who visited Ban Saysee and Ban Kasom, the MWBP target villages in Attapeu Province.
During this first visit to Attapeu, Dr. Bounthong Bouahom also visited the MWBP Provincial Project Office (PPO), and meet with directorates of the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office and villagers of the two target villages. A field visit was organised to see the ongoing programme activities in the field including the fish nursing and mobile hatchery training activities in Ban Saysee, Saysettha District; the mineral lik production and selected plots for the testing of innovative pilot agro-ecology techno approach in Ban Kasom of Samakkhisay District; the fish conservation zone (FCZ) in Ban Kasom, Ban Saysee; and the potential FCZ in Nonglom.
Vice Governor of Attapeu Province said that he appreciated the visit of NAFRI. Both Mr. Khenthong and Dr. Bounthong reiterated that they were satisfied with the progress made by the MWBP in Attapeu. They confirmed their continued supervision and support for the greater success of the programme in the future.
Innovative Technique Provides Safe Drinking Water
May 2006, Attapeu Province, Lao PDR
The Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) and villagers introduce a groundwater well-drilling technique to provide safe drinking water in Attapeu, Lao PDR.
The communities living along the Mekong River and its tributaries are dependent on water for their daily subsistence. Water taken directly from the river is used for drinking. This represents a serious health threat. It also places a heavy burden on women and girls who are responsible for collecting the water.
The recent work of the MWBP, in collaboration with Health Unlimited, shows that lack of access to safe drinking water for river-based communities is a major factor in widespread health and sanitation related diseases. Following a process of participatory planning in four villages a groundwater well drilling machine with high technology to construct tube wells has been tested in Haad Oudomxay village in Sanamxay district.
The wells have been placed so as to allow access to all members of the village, with one well placed in the village school. The villagers belonging to the Sou ethnic minority group have set up a village water supply and sanitation “WATSAN” committee and a trust fund to ensure the long-term sustainable management and maintenance of the tube wells. The approach will now be applied in other villages in Attapeu.
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Environmental Solutions to Improve Nutrition and Overcome Ill Health in Lao PDR
10-11 May 2006, Attapeu Province
Environmental and health linkages were reviewed during a workshop hosted by the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) and Health Unlimited (HU) in Attapeu Province, Lao PDR, on 10-11 May 2006.
Attapeu is one of the poorest provinces in Laos with poor nutrition, lack of access to safe drinking water and inadequate medical services being major factors in people’s poverty. The workshop, involving local people, and provincial and district government workers made practical recommendations to improve nutrition and health.
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First National Wetland Specialist Network Set Up in Lao PDR
April 2006, Lao PDR
Networking is a powerful tool for building collaboration and sharing information, as well as developing principles and good practice for wetlands conservation and sustainable use, and for advocating these principles.
In recognition of the importance of networking, and to contribute towards it’s goal of strengthening capacity, the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) instigated the establishment of the first ever National Wetlands Specialists Network in Lao PDR.
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Sekong Community Fishery Workshop
14 February 2006, Attapeu Province
On 14 February 2006, MWBP attended the Sekong Community Fishery Workshop, hosted by Oxfam Australia, with participation from WWF, LARReC and community people.
The workshop was a sharing of information about fish conservation zones, including setting up the zones, how to manage them, lessons learnt, problems and areas for improvement.
The workshop focussed on four different fish conservation zones, as case studies:
Ban Donhouat, Khong District, Champasak Province; Ban Xenamnoy, Sekong and Attapeu border; Ban Beungkham, Salavan Province; Ban Lavi-fangdaeng, Sekong province As an outcome of the workshop, the benefits of the fishing conservation zones were listed as:
The problems constraints and solutions were identified as:
- hidden place for the fish and spawning ground
- natural hatchery
- increasing natural fish levels
- revenue contributes to the village fund
- fish as gifts
- Some species spawn in the tributaries and streams whilst the zones stop fish from reaching the spawning grounds.
- Fishing gears are destructive to breeding. Solution: rules and regulations to stop that particular gear, or increase size of grill nets.
- There is a need for good communication and coordination between district and province – linking different provinces and districts.
- Understanding of fish conservation zones is lacking. Solution: need capacity and awareness activities
- Bank erosion occurs, which the villagers said can be addressed by planting tress on the bank of the river
- Chemical fertilizer from rice fields can affect zones, hence there is a need to use organic fertilizer and pesticides
Plans for future cooperation include:
- Regularly hold action workshops, one or two per year
- Hold study tours across provinces
- Training about fish hatchery
- Community to community meetings to be held regularly
Celebrations for World Wetlands Day 2006
2 February 2006
The World Wetlands Day celebrations for Attapeu Province took place in Sanamxai target district on 2 February 2006. Approximately 400 people attended, including school children, provincial and district authorities and local villagers.
The main activities of the day included a poem writing competition. Students in secondary school years 1-3 were asked to write poems about the value and benefits of wetlands, whereas students in secondary school years 4-6 were asked to write about the human threats to wetlands.
Other activities included a bare-hand fishing catching competition, “treasure-hunt” for collecting empty plastic water bottles along the river bank and a question and answer session. After each activity the MWBP hosts instigated discussions about the meaning of the activities in relation to wise use of wetlands.
Feedback regarding the event was very positive, with the only complaint being that the celebrations were too short!
Lao / Thai Exchange Visit Follow Up Awareness Raising Activity
November 2005, Attapeu Province
Following up from the Lao/Thai exchange visit between villagers of Attapeu Province, Laos and Sri Songkhram villagers, Thailand, the MWBP coordinated a follow-up awareness raising activity.
The activity involved all villagers who attended the exchange visit to Songkhram, Thailand, to share the learns learnt and knowledge gained, as well as promote the importance of using the wetlands of Laos sustainably.
The activity was arranged so that all villagers that visited Thailand (from four different villages in Attapeu Province) would visit each village to participate in the discussions. This method was used because often villagers do not always believe what their own villagers report back to them, but when a group of people consisting of four different village people report back, there is more trust and belief in what is being said.
The follow-up awareness raising activity has been very successful. After the visits many fish conservation zones were set up in three villages, instigated by the villagers themselves. These fish conservation zones have the potential to ensure a steady level of fish population, and improve the livelihoods of the villagers through more nutrition and revenue from sales.
Also a result of the follow-up activity is the beginning of a fisheries network – bringing villagers together to attend meetings about fish conservation, making contacts, share ideas etc. Although only just commencing the network is highly important for sharing skills and knowledge across different villager cultures and geography.
Local Guide Training and Homestay Program
31 October - 4 November 2005, Ban Mai, Sanamxai District
The Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) took part in training for local guides and homestay in Attapeu Province. The training was hosted by the Attapeu Provincial Tourism Office (PTO), with support from CUSO, and participation from Ban Mai Village, Tamayot Village, Sanamxai District Staff, Attapeu Tour Company.
The training focussed on training local guides and community members in skills for tourism and homestay. The group also undertook a trek to a local waterfall to investigate the potential tourism sites of the area.
Since the training was conducted a workshop on community based eco-tourism has been held, the trek routes have been opened and a study tour for government staff to the community based eco-tourism site was was completed.
MWBP Participates in Local Boat Racing Festival
17 September and
19 October 2005, Attapeu Province
The local boat racing festivals provide a good opportunity to raise community awareness of wetlands and MWBP. At the district boat racing in September, MWBP t-shirts were worn by the Saysii team, who came second in the race. MWBP also distributed information and t-shirts to the community.
At the provincial boat racing festival in October, the UXO team wore the MWBP branded t-shirts, and also came second in the race. Again information was distributed, and MWBP hosted a questions and answer session with prizes. The festival also included singing and drawing competitions about natural resources.
Emergency Relief Provided in Attapeu Province
Attapeu, September 2005
A handover ceremony, in recognition of the emergency medical supplies donated by the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) to the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO), was held on 14 September 2005 in Attapeu Province. The supplies were donated in an effort to combat the effects of heavy flooding which occurred in the Province during the first two weeks of August 2005.
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Putting Sustainable Livelihoods into Practice Training Course on Participatory Approaches
18-20 August 2005
course on the use of participatory approaches in development planning, targeting 24 district and provincial staff from a wide range of provincial departments including, the Department of Health, Department of Fishery, Department of Agriculture and the Women’s Union, together with district staff was held in Attapeu Province, Lao PDR. According to the participants the course provided a new way of thinking in terms of how to engage with local communities in development planning. The course facilitated a series of interactive sessions focusing on the theory and application of participatory approaches.
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National Wildlife Conservation Day Celebrated in Attapeu Province
Attapeu, 13 July 2005
The Mekong Wetland Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP), in collaboration with the Attapeu Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO), will host a National Wildlife Conservation Day cerebration ceremony in Xaysettha district on 13 July 2005. The celebrations include releasing 13000 fish into the wild, an educational quiz and soccor match.
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Attapeu Celebrates World Environment Day
Attapeu, June 2005
ootball, films and fun were involved in the World Environment Day celebrations to be hosted in Saisetha District Capital, Attapeu Province, Lao PDR on 1 June 2005. The celebrations took place on 01 June 2005 to coincide with Lao Children’s Day and Tree Planting Day (World Environment Day is celebrated on 05 June every year) and were attended by up to 200 community members and officials.
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Photo credit: MWBP/WCS:
Found in Lao PDR
Vientiane, May 2005
A survey team’s discovery
of a small breeding population of Siamese
Crocodiles marks the first time that hatchlings
of this species have been observed in Lao
First Environmental Impact Assessment Training
Attapeu, April 2005
Forty participants took part in the EIA Training. To evaluate and collect environment and social data with special reference to gold mining along the Sekong River.
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GOLD MINING FACT SHEET >