Laos - CARE

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Laos

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COUNTRY FACTS

Population:
6,5 millions
Average life expectancy:
68,3 years
Proficiency in writing and reading:
72,7 %
Access to clean drinking water:
57 %
GDP per citizen:
US$ 4,358
Child mortality:
42 pr. 1,000 born alive
Mother mortality:
470 pr. 100.000 born alive
HIV-infected:
0,3 %

Source: UNDP

Laos is located in the centre of South East Asia surrounded by Thailand, Vietnam, China, Myanmar and Cambodia. The population of Laos is estimated to be around 6.5 million of which 70 present are engaged in agriculture.

Approximately a quarter of the population live below the poverty line, but in the mountainous areas, where most of the ethnic minorities live, poverty is more prevalent.

In the mountainous areas 40 percent of the population is classified as poor. These areas experience the greatest food insecurity, and lack of access to clean drinking water and malnutrition are also major problems.

Climate change affects especially the poorest families, as they highly dependent on the outcome from their agricultural production, which rarely is sufficient. More erratic and sometimes heavy rains as well as severe temperature changes make the agricultural sector an uncertain business and the families need to prepare themselves for more regular flooding and mudslides.

Laos is rich in natural resources and in recent years there has been a focus on generating growth in Laos by exploiting natural resources. Especially hydropower and the mining sector have been in major progress, but also private investments in plantations have experienced heavy growth. This has created great competition for resources between the private investors and the poor families, who rely on being able to cultivate the land or having access to the forest. This is a competition, which can have a great influence on the livelihoods of poor families.

In this type of situation civil society plays an important role, as their experience and voice can help to nuance the debate and create a more open dialogue about the issues. In Laos civil society is still at a very early stage of development and there are only a few organizations, which are active.

CARE Denmark in Laos
CARE Denmark supports poor families in northern Laos to adapt to climate change and at the same time lift themselves out of poverty. This is done by increasing their agricultural production using new farming techniques, helping them to gain access to markets and give them the opportunity to join saving and loan groups, so the poor families can generate new income-generating activities.

CARE Denmark also involves the government authorities by providing them with training sessions. This strengthens the collaboration between the authorities and the poor families by improving the authorities’ ability to involve people in their planning activities.

Civil society is an important part of CAREs work, which is why CARE supports a number of civil society organizations in Lao. At the same time CARE tries to create a network between different organizations and a better dialogue between the civil society and the state.

To know more about CARE Denmark’s work in Laos please contract Programme Coordinator Flemming Gjedde-Nielsen

CARE Denmark also works in:
Ghana
Kenya
Mozambique
Nepal
Tanzania
Uganda
Vietnam
Globally

CARE Denmark’s focus areas:
Agriculture
Value Chains
Forestry
Gender Equality & Micro Finance
Water
Climate Change
Food Security.

Contact

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Flemming Gjedde-Nielsen
Programme Coordinator, Asia
+45 35 200 100

fnielsen@care.dk