Poverty rate*10% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
UN DEVELOPMENT INDEX*Rank: 140 out of 191
People supported per year86,000
Thematic focusClimate & Disaster Resilience
Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
Education and Vocational Skills
Private Sector Development
Gender & Social Equity
Laos, the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, remains by and large a rural society. Roughly a third of the population still lives below the poverty line. Over three quarters of the population derive their livelihood from farming. Most small-holder farmers produce little, if any, surplus beyond their own needs. And yet their ecologically sound traditional farming methods hold tremendous development potential.
Strengthening a green economy
Helvetas has been working with the government since 2001 to set up an agricultural advisory system that combines technical expertise with the experience and know-how of local farmers. Farmers' groups are now working with the authorities to make Laotian agriculture more environmentally friendly and with the private sector to improve access to markets. Moreover, Helvetas has been working to improve tea and coffee value chains and promoting regional biotrade for sustainable non-timber forest products such as cardamom, red mushrooms and galangal.
Working toward Equitable, Inclusive and Just Societies
To achieve equitable, inclusive and just societies, it is critical that citizens can make their voices heard that their governments take the concerns of all people seriously - regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion and more. To support this, we are strengthening local government structures and provincial people's assemblies to reach their constituents more effectively, especially in rural areas. We are developing the capacity of civil society to engage with government agencies and represent the concerns of citizens. Finally, we work to make individuals more aware of their rights and the mechanisms that can help them, for example by supporting access to justice for survivors of domestic violence.
Empowering Young People as Agents of Change
Helvetas also recognizes the potential that young people hold for their personal development as well as for their communities and countries. We thus support vocational training and entrepreneurship initiatives. This not only contributes to a skilled workforce but also presents an opportunity to be a springboard for innovative, civic and/or green initiatives. It also provides an alternative to migrating to neighboring countries.
Visit the website of Helvetas Laos.
The country programme in Laos is co-funded by the SDC programme contribution and multiple project donors such as SECO, World Bank, EU, SDC, GIZ and Swiss Foundations.
Our Projects in Laos
If you would like to know more about our work in Laos, click on each project for details.