LAOS: Teamwork works - MAG’s expanding portfolio of partners
By making contaminated land safe again, MAG enables delveopment to take place.
Over the last year, MAG has carried out unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance for a variety of
Following the clearance of unexploded ordnance, Samchai village now has its own water supply.
development partners in Xieng Khouang province, ensuring that clearance results in tangible benefits, such as the construction of water and sanitation facilities.
MAG has also provided Risk Education – safety briefings and UXO recognition training – to community members working with one of our development partners.Xieng Khouang is the second most heavily contaminated province in Lao PDR, and the safety of agricultural activities or any kind of construction work cannot be guaranteed unless UXO clearance is carried out first.
Some of MAG’s recent collaborations with partners in Xieng Khouang are highlighted below:
Adventist Development and Relief Agency, headquartered in the U.S.
ADRA has constructed water pipelines and toilets in three villages: Ban Namchao Tai, Ban Samchae and Ban Poungmai. The total population
The new village office in Ban Nonghet Tai
of these villages is more than 900 people.
Mr Loy, of Samchai village, said that the spring his community used to collect water from was “too small and too far from the village”. It required a one hour round trip to collect water. Now, pipelines bring water directly into the village.
In Namchao village the MAG team found and destroyed five items of UXO – three at the water pipe area and two at the toilet area.
Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF)
A rural development initiative under the Prime Minister’s Office, funded mainly by the World Bank
In Nonghet district, MAG has undertaken the clearance of multiple sites for the PRF, including a village office, two schools, and land for water and electricity supplies. More than 4,000 people have directly benefited as a result.
Mr Chaengha is the village chief of Nonghet Tai village, where MAG cleared the land for a new village office. “After MAG came to clear the office area for us, we felt safe digging the ground. It is very important to clear the area first. The end result is to make communities safe and also reduce
The dam will enable irrigation of new land cleared by MAG.
poverty,” he said.
Three items of UXO were found on the small site of 150 square meters.
A non-profit organisation based in Ireland
Concern needed to construct a small dam in Namlong village, Thathom district, and also to increase the amount of land available for growing rice. However they suspected that there was UXO in the land, so requested MAG’s assistance.
“I don’t have sufficient rice fields, and also not enough water for farming,” said resident Mr Sivone, when he was interviewed by MAG Community Liaison staff before the clearance work began. “I tried to farm the land which does have enough water but I found UXO there. I felt afraid and could not continue to farm there.”
Around 11,000 square metres of land was cleared for the dam and more than 254,000 square metres was cleared for paddy fields. MAG found and destroyed three items of UXO.
Helvetas is a Swiss Association for International Cooperation. RISE is a collaboration between Helvetas, Sunlabob (a Lao-based renewable energy company) and the Lao Government
Metalworkers in Ban Naphia, Xieng Khouang province produce about 150,000 aluminium spoons a
The spoons are made using traditional production processes
year – made almost entirely from war scrap.
Helvetas asked MAG to provide Risk Education for community members in Ban Naphia, as one challenge facing the project is ensuring the safety of the aluminium supply chain. Collecting scrap metal collection is a major cause of UXO accidents in Lao PDR and several people from Ban Naphia have been injured by UXO over recent years.
MAG has recent relevant experience in this area following a project related to the scrap metal trade. MAG Community Liaison staff have worked with both the spoon casters and the scrap metal dealers who supply the metal, teaching them to reduce the risks they face.
Some of those MAG has worked with have been trained as peer educators, so that they can spread the safety messages to others. Sources of the aluminum that is used to make the spoons include the stabilisation fins of cluster bomb casings, flares, certain fuses and parts of fighter jets.
One of the two schools built on land cleared by MAG
Give Children A Choice
A US-based non-profit organization
MAG has cleared sites for two nursery schools (pre-school) sites in Nong Het district. The schools are now under construction. Once built, Give Children A Choice will undertake activities to remove the barriers that prevent children from attending and performing well in pre-school, such as poor health or a lack of income to buy items necessary for school.
Water Supply and Sanitation Project
This project in Khoun district, Xieng Khouang is funded by the Asian Development Bank
This project installed water pipes in Khoun town, which has a population of around 3,500. The task was difficult because the close proximity of electric cables and other metal objects interfered with
The land cleared included 5,000 meters of ditches for water pipes
the use of metal detectors.
Land was cleared for over five kilometres of water piping, and 25 items of UXO were found and destroyed.
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
A US-based non-profit organisation
MCC was the organisation that first requested MAG to come to work in Lao PDR back in 1994. Recently we again worked in partnership in Ban Thidnoon village, Tha Thom district, where people live. A MAG team cleared two irrigation channels, existing paddy fields and land for new paddy fields. The team found and destroyed four items of UXO.
An irrigation channel under construction.