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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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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Tree19KhounphetWOn 31 May, villagers at Ban Khounphet in Khammouane province, together with staff from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) and Khounkham district authority, planted 2,000 trees to mark National Plantation Day and World Environment Day.

THPC provided the saplings, which included fruit, ornamental and industrial species. Each family received saplings to plant in around house plots while volunteers planted trees in public areas such as the village school, temple, office and health centre. THPC staff also provided advice on how to correctly plant and care for the young trees.

Ahead of the activity Mr Soulideth Baomanikhoth, Deputy General Manager of THPC, said that “planting trees today will increase abundance for the community in the future, providing shade, fruit, and other resources while helping to keep the green character of the natural environment around the village”.

Khounphet is one of nine relocation villages built by THPC as compensation for longer annual flood periods following construction of the Theun-Hinboun hydropower expansion project, inaugurated in 2013. The project increase the amount of water in the Hai and Hinboun rivers, which can intensify natural flood cycles. Khounphet was the last relocation village built, providing new houses, public facilities and agricultural land on flood-safe ground. People from Thonglom, Nakhok and Fangdeng villages moved to the new site in 2016-17.

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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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Thakhek, 29 May 2019

The Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) has donated 50 tonnes of rice seed to help people in Hinboun and Khounkham districts who lost crops to flooding during the 2018 wet season.HandOverW

Six districts of Khammouane province, including Khounkham and Hinboun, were particularly badly hit by flooding last year, with heavy seasonal rain exacerbated by tropical storms Son-Tinh and Bebinca. Over 1,150 households in Hinboun and 3,400 families in Khounkham suffered damaged rice fields and lost much of their staple crop.

Emergency aid from the government and international partners helped alleviate immediate problems caused by the floods, but farmers were concerned that with rice seed stocks depleted, they would not be able to plant crops for the 2019 season. THPC therefore responded to a request from Khammouane Province, donating 260 million kip to purchase rice seed for the two districts in its project area.

The Deputy General Manager of THPC, Mr Soulideth Baomanikhoth, officially handed over the donation to Mr Detsackda Manykham, Deputy Director of Khammouane Agriculture and Forestry Department. “THPC has a long-standing partnership with the people of Hinboun and Khounkham, and tries to provide help when needed,” said Mr Soulideth. “Such events affect people’s morale as well as their finances, and if we can share some of their burden then they can more quickly gain the strength to work through natural disasters”.

Mr Somchay Phetsynouan, Deputy Governor of Khammouane Province, described THPC as “a strong development partner in all aspects, which provides assistance whenever we have difficulties. After previous natural flooding disasters, they have given generous support through materials, food and transport for villagers and their belongings".

The floods were a nationwide problem in 2018 noted Mr Soulideth, and THPC has previously contributed 300 million kip to disaster relief efforts in Attapeu. “The people of Hinboun and Khounkham are our family”, he added, “so we are bound together in good times and in times of need”.

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