Empowerment Changes

Home of Khankeo from Left: Sitom/LWF CEF Right: Khankeo


Ms Khankeo, 29 years old, Khmu ethnic woman, married with one 6 years old son, live Nampae village, one of LWF target villages in Viengphoukha district, Luangnamtha province. Khankeo drops out of school at 2nd grade of secondary school due to the needs in family support.

LWF implements Rights Based Empowerment Project (RBEP) in Nampae since 2016, LWF starts focusing on empowering duty bearers at community level particularly women and youth to build their confidence and competencies, so that they can participate in their own sustainable development in communities. LWF applies Rights Based Approach (RBA) or empowerment process to integrate into RBEP implementation, this ensures fully and effectively participation of communities especially from the most vulnerable who identified as LWF target groups.

Khankeo is one among 15 LWF target households in Nampae villaget that accesses to Village Development Fund (VDF) which is facilitated and established by LWF and District Agriculture and Forestry Office (DAFO), with initiated 30 million LAK or equivalent to 3,700 USD provided in 2017. In 2017 VDF lends Khankeo at the amount 2,000,000 LAK or equivalent to 250 USD to shift cultivation land to rice farming field, using this loan enable Khankeo’s family access to 3,000 square meters of rice field. Khankeo pays 1% rate of interest a month of her loan contract, her family earns additional income from selling non timber products such as wild vegetable, local herb and bamboo handicraft products.

Khankeo said that ‘‘this is a first time of having this kind of fund establishes in our community, especially the fun prioritizes to benefit people from the poor’’

Since rarely availability of literate and numeracy skills of resident in the village,  in late 2018 Khankeo is assigned as one of VDF management members given role and responsibility on accountancy and community mobilizing, doing book keeping, deposit collection and report. Khankeo and others members had given prior specific training on functioning and managing VDF.

As Khankeo is also a head of Village Sound System Management Committee (VSSC), she enhances this opportunity to share her experiences of accessing supports and gives advices to her neighbors on accessing this fund. Multiplying the use of sound system given by LWF in different purposes and aspects is relevance and appropriate to the sustainable rural development contexts.  

Ms Sitom Keotaniya, LWF Community Empowerment Facilitator (CEF) mentioned that ‘‘the poor households are more confident to take a loan for their livelihood improvement, the fund is reliable and affordable for them’’

There are 15 LWF target households or 26% among 57 members have accessed to VDF, members are able to deposit different amount a month following minimum standard defined which is applicable and affordable for all in the communities. It is notably seen 100% increase in total fund accumulated since 2017, from initiated 30 million LAK or equivalent to 3,700 USD increases to 61,6000,000 LAK or equivalence to 7,500USD.

Sitom also emphasized that ‘‘as I’m also a woman from ethnic and rural poor communities, I’m very delighted to see women plays important roles and take important responsibilities to manage our community development work, this builds us more confidence’’

Together We Can Do More