History

MCC has worked in Lao PDR since 1975, serving as one of the first International-Non-Government Organizations (INGOs) in the country.  From the earliest days of MCC’s presence in Laos, addressing the problem of unexploded ordinance (UXO) left from the more than 2 million tonnes of bombs and anti-personnel “bomblets” dropped by the US during the nine year “Secret War” (1964-1973), was of primary concern.  An estimated 30 percent of ordinances did not explode upon impact.

After the war many unsafe and inefficient approaches were used to attempt to help clear the remaining UXO. It was not until 1994 that MCC Laos, in partnership with Mines Advisory Group (MAG), launched its biggest non-food project ever, removing hundreds of thousands of deadly unexploded “bombies” from Xieng Khouang Province.

Over the next several years, the bomb removal project expanded throughout the country; however, MCC ended its participation in ordinance clearance work in 1997, as the government of Laos, the United Nations agencies and other governments provided significant input.  As a peace-oriented organization, MCC continues to raise awareness in North America about unexploded ordinance in Lao PDR.

In the beginning, MCC also assisted government institutions in carrying out their mandates in health, social welfare, agriculture and education including: providing material aid, upgrading provincial teacher training schools, and assisting district and provincial health facilities and provincial agriculture schools throughout the country.

In the 1990’s MCC became increasingly concerned with long-term development, planning and sustainability instead of relief initiatives.  From 1993 to 2000, MCC implemented integrated rural development projects in Mai District, Phongsaly Province and Vieng Sai District, Hua Phan Province.

From 2001-2010, working in Sang Thong District, Vientiane Prefecture was a priority for MCC Laos. This was one of the poorest districts in Laos and internally displaced people with very few resources were moving to the area. The final phase of this community development project integrated agriculture, education and health (including an HIV/AIDS component) activities.

From 2002-2009, a project at the Paksan Forestry and Agriculture College in Bolikhamxay Province focused on research on upland cropping systems and improvements to the curriculum, as well as English teaching. By doing research on upland cropping systems MCC aimed to help the poorest people in Laos, people living in remote upland villages, to find ways to practice sustainable agriculture techniques as land becomes more and more difficult to find.

Currently MCC Laos works in several different areas. Please visit the About page for more information.

If you are interested in information concerning MCC Laos historical pictures, please contact MCC Laos.

4 responses to “History

  1. Pheng

    Thank you for this good information but if you can show some pictures would be great !

  2. Pheng

    I enjoy seeing these old picture and learn on MCC’s works in the past. People in the past dressed different from now.

  3. Phong Huynh

    Hello MCC Laos,

    Reading about your projects and history in Laos made me truly interested in becoming an intern within your organization. As a former Vietnamese refugee living in the US and having finished my course works in the Master of Social Change and Development program (specializing in Rural Livelihoods and Food Security) at the University of Newcastle, I am interested in working to evaluate and facilitate in designing strategies that would improve rural livelihoods and food security of the people of Laos. Having volunteered and lived in Laos for nearly 4 months, I comprehend well the plights that rural farmers endure and the great impact your organization is doing for them.
    If possible, I would like to discuss further about internship possibilities with you. However, in the event that none is available, as someone who has come to love Lao PDR for all of its beauty, I would like to express my admiration and encouragement for all the work that you are doing.

    Lacon,

    Phong

    • Hello Phong,

      Thank you for your inquiry and interest in helping to improve the livelihoods and food security of people in Laos. I’m sorry to inform you that MCC does not offer any internships. We hope you enjoy your time volunteering in Laos and wish you success in your future endeavors.

      Kaarina Knisely
      Administrator for MCC Laos Blog

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