Hinboun District, June 1, 2013

People in the newly-built village of Ban Phou Houaylat in Hinboun District, Khammouane Province, planted about 2,300 trees around their village to mark National Tree Planting Day on June 1. Joined by local officials and staff from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC), the villagers took a major step forward in the improving the environment around their new settlement while at the same time contributing to their developing community.2014treeplantPhouHouaylat

The new village was built over the last two years by THPC to provide a flood-safe location for three villages living along the Hinboun River. The Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project, inaugurated in early 2013, is expected to aggravate the length and intensity of the natural floods that occur during some wet seasons, and so THPC has been building relocation villages along the Hinboun and Hai rivers to ensure local people are not endangered.

Two communities, Ban Phakteuk and Ban Songkhone, moved to the Phou Houaylat relocation site in 2013 and the people of Ban Pakveng joined them earlier this year. The new site features improved housing, roads, and other public infrastructure including an irrigation system. Villagers have received new land in the area but also have access to much of their former land nearby.

Leading the tree-planting ceremony were Khammouane provincial officials, together with leaders of Hinboun and neighbouring Khounkham districts, plus THPC management. The saplings included mango, jackfruit, litchi, tamarind and mangosteen trees as well as some shade species and industrial trees.

Teachers and pupils from the village’s two new schools, primary and secondary, will be responsible for looking after the young trees planted around the schoolyards during their first wet season, while householders of the three former villages will maintain those planted around their residential areas.

THPC Deputy General Manager Soulideth Baomanikhoth said the planting of the trees would not only help the new village look greener in the future but would also help people feel more at home in the new village and increase their feeling of belonging. “Moving somewhere new can be difficult”, he said, “and our actions to improve the environment help us connect with the new location”.

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Vientiane, May 21, 2014THPC Dec 2005 107

Five high-school graduates from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) School at Khamkeuth, Khammouane Province, are currently studying university courses on scholarships made available by THPC.

The THPC School opened in 1996 at the company’s operations camp in Khammouane and was initially run by the district education department. As the local community grew rapidly alongside the hydropower project, demand for school places increased and so THPC expanded the premises and took direct charge of running the school, which became a private institution.

The school charges a nominal fee of 100,000 kip (US$12.5) per year. Half of the 385 pupils currently enrolled are the children of THPC staff and the other half come from surrounding villages. Each year THPC invests about a quarter of million US dollars in the school, which has set itself a goal of developing human resources in Khounkham District so that the next generation can contribute to national development in Laos.

In 2012 THPC THPC Dec 2005 099decided to trial an extension of the education service they provide to local people by offering five university scholarships to graduates of the school. Applications were open to all students from the project area (excluding the children of THPC staff), providing they came from low income families, had studied at the THPC School for four years, and recorded a high average grade during their time at the school.

Five students were eventually selected by a committee from the school and company. These young women and men then applied for university positions in Laos in the knowledge that THPC would cover the costs of their study. The company provides each student with a monthly allowance to cover their living costs and also pays any study fees required by the university. The students are free to choose their own courses and places of study and are not tied to THPC in any way during or after their years of study.

A series of three articles on the THPC website looks at the progress made by these rural students at universities away from home and reflects on their experiences and hopes for the future.

 Student features:          Ms Aloun

Mr Sonethavy

Mr Maikhene

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Theun-Hinboun Pupils Reach National Top Level

THPC, the owner and operator of the Theun-Hinboun hydropower plant, has approved over US$50 million for social and environmental programs to be implemented over the next five yeTHPC Continues Investmentars. The funds, allocated by the THPC Board at an end-of-year meeting, mark the company's ongoing commitment to economic and social development along with environmental protection.

Since opening its expansion project in January 2013, THPC's generating capacity has been increased to 500 MW, meaning the company can earn more export revenue and deliver more electricity to businesses and homes in southern and central Laos. From the beginning of the expansion project in 2008, THPC redoubled its efforts to set up practical measures that would assist local people and help conserve the area's nature and beauty. The company has so far spent around US$60 million on a broad range of initiatives.

A significant proportion of that budget was used to build four resettlement villages for families moving out of the Nam Gnouang reservoir area and to relocate the houses of over 4,300 villagers along the Nam Hai River. In addition to improved housing and public facilities such as clinics, schools, roads, electricity and water supply, THPC offers livelihood programs to help people improve agricultural and business opportunities, and has also scaled up social assistance to include nutritional and sanitation components.Environmental programs have continued after completion of project construction. THPC monitors all water bodies in the project area to make sure water standards remain high for local people and the area's wildlife, while partnerships with organizations such as the National Integrated Ecosystem and Wildlife Management Project and the Wildlife Conservation Society help the company contribute to improved biodiversity protection measures in Bolikhamxay and Khammouane.

 For 2014, THPC has approved a budget of US$11.73 million to continue and expand its social and environmental programs. This represents 38% of the company's total operating budget for the year and includes $1.5m for new village roads, $1m for a new irrigation system and $1.6m for further relocation of households away from river flood plains. An additional $40m of social and environmental funds has been approved for the years 2015-2018.

THPC's General Manager, Mr Robert Allen, said the budget showed the company was serious in trying to attain the high standards set at the start of the expansion project. "THPC committed itself to improving the lives of people in the project area, and to ensuring that the company's environmental footprint is minimized. We will keep working towards these ambitious goals until both the company and the government are satisfied we have attained them."

The annual Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Golf Tournament was held at the Long Vien Club on Saturday, January 25, bringing together THPC shareholders, staff, partners and government counterparts to compete for the Bounyang Vorachit trophy. Opened by H.E. Mr Bounyang Vorachit, Vice President of the Lao PDR, the 18-hole stroktrophy handovereplay tournament was attended by around 150 golfers.

The tournament is held every year to cement good cooperation between all sectors for the Theun-Hinboun Hydropower project. Soulideth Baomanikhoth, the Deputy General Manager of the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC), said the company’s operations cover not only power production and sales to national grids in Laos and Thailand, but also innovative and wide-ranging social and environmental programs across five districts in two provinces. “We are involved in health, education, agriculture, irrigation, water supply, fisheries, biodiversity conservation, UXO clearance and disaster management planning, just to name some of our activities,” explained Mr Soulideth. “We therefore organise regular events such as this golf tournament to bring together our partners from different fields and locations to maintain good contact and encourage information sharing”.

According to Mr Soulideth the company also has a strong record in sports promotion, and recently donated funds to the Lao Chess Federation to support eight Lao chess players competing at the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar, in December 2013.

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One of the skills women learn at the centre is the creation of handicrafts from recycled paperVientiane, October 30, 2013.
The Lao Disabled Women’s Centre in Vientiane Capital received a boost in late October with the donation of US$4,500 by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company.

The centre, located near the first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, gives training in various skills to about 50 women every year, most of whom are disabled. Women from all over Laos come to live and study at the centre for periods of up to nine months. During this time they can take a variety of courses to develop skills such as sewing, weaving, paper making, small business, computing and Lao or English language.

Established by Madam Chanhpheng Sivila, herself a survivor of a polio infection when she was young, the centre has been open since 2002 and offers practical opportunities for people with disabilities through vocational training and life skills training. The centre was founded on Madam Chanhpheng’s earlier work in founding the Lao Women with Disabilities group, and it continues to advocate for the rights, recognition and equal opportunity of disabled women.

Women training at the centre receive a living stipend and are also given equipment to help them develop business activities when they return to their homes at the end of the course.After developing this skill the women can make a range of impressive goods

The centre relies on donations from the public to cover the majority of its running costs and the THPC General Manager, Mr Robert Allen, said the company was delighted to be able to contribute to the valuable work and continued achievements of the Lao Disabled Women’s Centre.