For the first time in its history, the Lao government has invited independent civil society organizations (CSOs) to work with it, at the organization of the ninth Asia-Europe People's Forum, held in Vientiane in October 2012.
Laos is rich in natural resources. These resources have raised the appetite of its neighboring countries and direct foreign investments in mining, hydropower, and agricultural plantations are growing fast. But this economic trend puts pressure on natural resources and might exclude vulnerable communities.
Natural disasters happen in Laos, especially during the monsoon. Damages caused by flooding and landslides can be devastating for vulnerable communities. In partnership with the National Disaster Management Office, Oxfam strengthens vulnerable communities to improve their disaster preparedness and strengthen institutional disaster management systems.
Oxfam supports the Gender Development Association to involve women in income generation activities and the management of savings groups in one of the poorest areas of Laos, hoping that this will increase their situation within the village and that they will have increased confidence in speaking out at village meetings.
Oxfam provides direct support to non-profit associations and, together with other international non-governmental organizations and key partners, engages with the Public Administration and Civil Service Authority (PACSA), various Ministries, and authorities at provincial and district levels to support the development of an enabling environment for Lao Civil Society, mainly through capacity building.