Empowerment of Women

Sikeo Akha ethnic LWF staff organizes game with the children


Sikeo, a 22 years old woman from Akha ethnic village in Long district Luang Namtha province, she is a last child among 2 older brothers, and their major occupations are upland farming. She has been completed her 2 year of secondary, this only helps her to understand only basic reading and writing.   

Sikeo has been working for LWF Laos as a Community Empowerment Facilitator (CEF) in Namlo village where Akha ethnic is only majority since 2012, when she was selected as 1 of 15 eligibility successors out of 55 candidates in 2011, who went through preparation processes of LWF including training on community development and participatory learning.   

Even Sikeo is originally Akha ethnic assigned to work in Akha ethnic village however this does not mean only condition to support development there since most of Akha ethnic group in northern Laos is just relocated themselves to live in proposed areas by local authority.

Sikeo puts a lot of her effort and attempting to support development work in this village, while different challenges have been presenting in term of cultural belief, traditional practices and gender threatening for instance in case of illness the residents prefer going to meet with village holy guy to do a spiritual respect instead of going to nearby health centre or hospital, twin born babies is against culture one need to be killed, 2 immediately meet on the way to latrine is prohibited, women is always in under men supervision, married arrangement...etc  

Throughout implementation of LWF Rights Based Empowerment Project (RBEP), Sikeo said that ‘‘however there are some positive evidences have been observed from last few years’’ she also addressed that ‘’villagers are gradually understanding importance of community participation, parents support children to schools, villagers regularly clean their village compound, many villagers build their own latrines and men is more supportive to assist in household tasks’’

Namlo is one of the most challenges villages to run development processes of Vieng Phoukha district particularly concerning to participation mobilization of the community. However, there are various campaign have been intervened. Sikeo said that ‘‘In general I think what LWF RBEP does here greatly supports improvement conditions of lives of the villagers here and I’m very happy with these achievements’’  

Sikeo also emphasized that ‘‘As being Akha woman I’m so proud of myself, thanks LWF for providing me importance opportunity for the whole 3 years, I’ve learned things a lot and experienced variety development aspects, I’ve developed my personal manner socially and I understand why we need to do development work’’ she addressed that ‘‘All I have given will be interpreted to my families, friends and people in my hometown’’  

LWF RBEP is now operating in 13 target villages in Vieng Phoukha districts Luang Namtha province, only Namlo is Akha ethnic village while the rest is Khmu ethnic villages, 13 more villages in Vieng Phoukha will be expanded in 2016 of those will be combined with more ethnic villages such as Muzer and Kui.