Partnering organization: Rural Development Sole Rds.
Partner since: 2016
In-country Director: Bandith Keothongkham
The Field Alliance (TFA) piloted programs in Laos in 2007, coordinating with Bandith Keothongkham of Community Development and Environmental Conservation Foundation to launch programs focusing on agrobiodiversity and pesticide impact assessment. Piloted within three schools, word of the success of these programs quickly spread throughout the country, and TFA now proudly supports 37 programs in Laos and expects to launch an additional 29 by the end of 2015, bringing the total number of partnering schools and organizations to 66. In 2016, TFA formed an official partnership with Rural Development Sole Rds, an affiliate of the former CDECF and will continue all projects in coordination with this new organization.
Similar to Cambodia, Laos is now considered to be a developing country and as a result, natural habitats are being altered or destroyed to make way for industrialization. Land is becoming harder to attain and hold on to and younger generations are less interested in working as farmers, instead, seeking technical employment in urban areas and putting their families and the future of agriculture at great risk.
In 2014-2015, gender specific action plans were developed relating to food safety and diversifying income sources. As an example, twenty women who were trained in weaving and cricket harvesting were able to earn and additional 500,000– 1,500,000 Kip per person per month. REAL activities were implemented with 2,468 students and teachers from 24 schools from Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Xieng Khuang Provinces. School vegetable gardens for school lunches and herbal garden were created. Agrobiodiversity conservation projects involving aquatic and terrestrial animals, plants, and herbal species were implemented in seventeen villages and 593 farmers participating. Farmers were trained to make and use biofertilizers and herbal pesticides to reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Furthermore, the Laos FAO Agrobiodiversity Programme (ABP) requested assistance from TFA to train sixty governmental officials and farmers during two-month courses the Phonexay District of Luang Prabang and the Phukout District of Xiengkhuang Province.