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Improving Water Quality in Laos
Clean rivers in Laos are critically important to the well-being of local communities and to the country’s national development. Nearly 80 percent of the population of this landlocked Southeast Asian nation depends on river-fed subsistence agriculture for its survival. At the same time, hydropower exports from the Mekong River and its major tributaries now represent the country’s single largest industry, and new dam construction is challenging traditional livelihoods for the communities who live along the river.
Over the past four years, with support from the McConnell Foundation, The Asia Foundation has been helping Lao citizens to play an influential role in protecting their rivers by engaging them in decision-making and building their capacity to support environmental protection. In October 2013, the Foundation conducted the first training in Vang Vieng District for 35 participants from six communities across Vientiane Province. This slideshow features images from these trainings, as well as field trips where participants learned how to monitor river water quality.