Hinboun District, December 6, 2019

Farmers in two villages of Hinboun District in Khammouane Province have taken control of a new irrigation system built by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC).

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Nateuy and Nongdong villages now each have 300 metres of upgraded irrigation facilities, servicing a combined area of 60 hectares of agricultural land. In each village system there are ten gates to control flow of water according to seasonal needs, with the water provided by electric pumps from the Hinboun River.

The new brick canal system replaces a previous hand-dug trench and the new pumps replace an old diesel model. THPC has funded all the upgrades, and also installed transmission lines and transformers for the irrigation scheme. Villagers from both Nateuy and Nongdong joined in the planning of the systems and helped with construction.

Both villages have comparatively low incomes for the area and rely on dry-season rice for much of their food and income. The Hinboun River floods their fields regularly in the wet season, with the flooding becoming more intense since THPC operations began in 1998. To compensate for this the hydropower company has funded the fuel needed for the irrigation system for many years, and has also provided the villagers with domestic electricity connections, plus assistance for cash crops such as rubber trees.

The THPC Deputy General Manager, Soulideth Baomanikhoth, officially handed over ownership of the irrigation systems to the villagers and district authorities on December 6 and said the company will guarantee maintenance and any repairs required for the next three years. THPC will also cover the cost of the electricity needed for the irrigation pump over that time.

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According to Mr Soulideth, the irrigation systems cost over US$338,000. THPC is also building a new water supply system in the villages, with many households already benefitting from the bore wells provided.

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1Khounkham District, November 27, 2019

Khounkham Community Radio Station has celebrated getting on the air in Khammouane Province with a launch party at Phousaat village.

Supported by a grant from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC), the station has been testing broadcasts across Khounkham district since June. It now transmits for 13 hours every week day. According to Mr Keomany Keonyodkhoun of the district Information, Culture and Tourism (ICT) Department, the station can reach 90% of villages in Khounkham plus adjacent areas in Hinboun, Khamkeuth and Viengthong districts.

THPC Deputy General Manager Soulideth Baomanikhoth officially handed over the broadcast equipment to Khounkham District Governor Keolandon Chanthapany at a ceremony in the village, witnessed by Khammouane Deputy Governor, Mr Khamsy Outhivong.

Established by Khounkham authorities to improve access to public information across the district, the radio station project was supported by provincial and central ICT offices and the Ministry of Energy and Mines. THPC, the main driver of economic growth and infrastructure in the district since its inception, provided over US$32,000 of funding. 

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At the station launch government officials thanked THPC for their constant support to development in Khounkham and presented the company with a certificate of appreciation signed by the Prime Minister, Thongloun Sisoulith. The handover was followed by traditional dances and performances as part of Ban Phousaat’s Boun Kong Kao, or harvest festival.

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The Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) organized a blood donation session at the company’s hydropower plant on Aug 14. Company workers and their family members joined senior company staff in giving blood at the site in Khounkham district, Khammouane province.

THPC also handed over 350 T-shirts to the Lao Red Cross. The shirts will be given to blood donors to thank them for their contributions, and to encourage others to give blood.

Dr Vilith Phasavath, Director of the Lao Red Cross Khammouane, thanked THPC and its staff for this support, saying that the efforts of companies like THPC would help Laos meet its target of 55,000 people giving much-needed blood this year.

Last year, more than 50,000 people donated blood in Laos, including around 21,000 people from Vientiane Capital and about 29,000 from provinces.

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Vientiane, Lao PDR, October 17, 2019MktWeb1

Villagers from Khamkeuth District in Bolikhamxay took advantage of a rare opportunity to access the market in Vientiane Capital in October, selling their vegetables and traditional brooms at the World Food Day Market for 2019.

Ms Phoui of Phonthong village travelled to Vientiane with 150 kg of fresh vegetables and 200 handmade brooms from farmer production groups in Keosenkham, Nongxong, Phonthong and Sopphouan villages in Khamkeuth, and was doing a brisk trade on the market’s opening day.

The four villages are home to families resettled under the Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Expansion Project, which opened in 2013, and have for the last ten years received assistance from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) to build sustainable livelihoods.

Over the past two years villagers have been working with THPC and Click Lao Marketing Company to improve sales of their produce. Farmers have specialised their products according to local conditions and demand. Ms Phoui now takes vegetables grown at Phonthong under Good Agricultural Practice guidelines to the Lak Xao district capital market every day, providing an income stream for villagers in the production group.

In Ban Nongxong, THPC has built a market for villagers to sell their produce and the company sources fresh MktWeb2vegetables for its canteen and workers from the market when possible. In Keosenkham, villagers use social media site Facebook to market their high-quality traditional brooms, made from naturally foraged broom grass and other sustainable wild materials.

The farmers’ group lobbied THPC for help to attend the World Food Day market at Vientiane ITECC, with Click helping the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to promote the event under the theme of a healthy diet for a #ZeroHunger world. Ms Phoui said that THPC provided transport for her and the village products, while the farmers’ group paid her accommodation and expenses. With her spring onions and Chinese kale selling quickly, it looked like a decent investment.

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Khamkeuth, June 20 2019FireHouseHandover

A family at Keosenkham village, in Bolikhamxay’s Khamkeuth District, is able to start rebuilding its house following a fire that took their home away in May. On June 20 the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) handed over construction materials worth 24 million kip (US$2,800) to the family of Mr Somsack, a farmer in the village.

Mr Somsack’s family moved to Keosenkham in 2011 as part of the resettlement programme for the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project. Each family moving to the new village received cash compensation, a good quality new house with garden and land title, plus agricultural land and access to improved utilities and public services including a school and health centre.

The family was benefitting from expanding market links in the area until the fire struck and left them homeless. “Suddenly life became very difficult for us”, said Mr Somsack. “We had ten people living in the house. Things looked hopeless and we had no idea what to do”.

Keosenkham village authority contacted THPC and asked if assistance could be provided to the family. “Officially we have no obligation in such cases,” said Mr Soulideth Baomanikhoth, Deputy General Manager of THPC. “Each family owns its own house and land, and THPC has already met its responsibilities in terms of providing infrastructure and livelihoods opportunities”.

“However”, said Mr Soulideth, “Mr Somsack is well known as an active community member who helped villagers during the move to the new village at Keosenkham. Given his contribution to the community, and the fact that his family would struggle to get back what fate had taken away from them, THPC was able to find the money to assist”.

“My family will always be grateful to our relatives in the village who have put us up in this difficult time” said Mr Somsack, “and to the management of THPC, who have rescued us from misery”.

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