Formerly colonized by France in French Indochina, Laos’s (Lao People's Democratic Republic) autonomy was recognized in 1946, and the country became a constitutional monarchy in 1947. Between 1964 and 1973, the conflict between the United States and North Vietnam gave rise to the intensive bombing of a wide strip of the territory (the Ho Chi Minh trail). In 1975, the Lao monarchy was abolished and the Lao People's Democratic Republic was officially proclaimed, causing the exodus of the country's elite, mainly to Thailand. For more than 20 years, through liberalization aimed to turn the country from a planned economy to a market economy, Laos has been developing rapidly, driven by sustained economic growth.
Despite a strong growth rate, Laos is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia (23.2%¹ of the Lao population lives below the poverty line). A five-year national socio-economic development plan (2011-2015) has been drawn up to bring Laos out of the Least Developed Countries by 2020, and thus to enable it to industrialize and modernize. According to IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), three-quarters of the population rely on agriculture and natural resources. Khammouane Province is one of the most vulnerable areas of the country in terms of food security. Moreover, Laos is often the victim of major natural disasters, causing serious problems of food insecurity.
Triangle Génération Humanitaire has been operating in Laos since 2005 under the decentralized cooperation agreement between the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region (formerly the Rhône-Alpes Region) and the Khammouane Province. Funding from the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region has helped to support vulnerable populations living in the area, notably through programmes supporting production and agricultural irrigation: development of irrigation infrastructure during the dry and rainy seasons in order to increase and secure production; support to community water management mechanisms. In the water and sanitation sector, TGH also worked for improved access to safe drinking water and hygiene in 15 villages in the Bualapha District. Today, the emphasis is on the development of sustainable practices in the agricultural sector with the introduction of agro-ecology.
After a last project on agroecology, because of a lack of fundings, TGH decided to close its mission in Laos in July 2017.
¹ World Bank, 2012