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Environmental Awareness Raising in Lao PDR through Video Documentaries

Mekong Watch has been implementing a TV-based environmental awareness-raising project in Lao PDR since 2004. Our major and immediate target has been a provincial TV broadcasting station. We have been supporting TV stations in 4 central and southern provinces (Attapeu, Champasak, Khammoune, and Savanakhet) and 3 northern provinces, (Bokaew, Luang Pabang and Luang Namtha) in their efforts to produce and broadcast documentaries for a TV series “Vision Our Home”.  This TV program has so far covered such issues as sustainable use of natural resources that is unique to Laos, wildlife conservation, village-level efforts to use resources in environmentally friendly manners, and garbage problems recently emerging in urban areas. More than 60 documentaries have already been produced for this program.

Attapeu, Champasak, Khammoune, Savanakhet, Bokaew, Luang Pabang, Luang Namtha

Province No Title Contents
Attapu A-1 Paa waa ook paew Traditional fishing method to catch migrating fish in the Sekong River.  Every year, in early July at the beginning of rainy season, this method is used in the Sekong river and at its tributary, the Sekaman River.
Attapu A-2 Pa pen yaa Forest products are the resource for people with high use value.  People make wide use of the forest products also for medicine.
Attapu A-3 Kung nong lom Naturally made swamps are important for people's lives in Laos.  People catch fish, shrimps, and crabs among others in swamps.  The resource of swamps however is exhausting due to recently introduced duck raising and unsustainable fishing methods.  To avoid the resource exhaustion, the area for usage and that for conservation should be separated.
Attapu A-4 Se Kong sa nong kham Gold panning has long been practiced in the Attapu province.  It has been an important source of income particularly for Lue (ethnic group) who live in the downstream Sekong river in the Sanamsay District.  It is considered that Lues will continue to live the way they have been living, depending on the natural environment.
Attapu A-5 Meng ci-nu-thong People in Laos eat Insects.  An insect called "ci-nu-thong (gold beetle)" which belongs to the goldbug family, is also eaten.  In recent years, insects are sold at markets and it is anticipated that excessive collection of the insects could extirpate them.  
Attapu A-6

Het ban hao (Click to view on YouTube) (Support from other organization)

Mushrooms collected at forests are important for the people in Laos.  Various kinds of mushrooms are eaten.
Attapu A-7 Sat Pa na songsan "Poor wild animals".  People in Laos generally eat wild animals.  However, number of various animals is sharply decreasing due to forest degradation and population increase.  To avoid the extinction, marketing and consumption of the wild animals should be stopped.
Attapu A-8 Huam kham Tok khon ponn banha The Sekong River, which runs through Attapu province, provides domestic water and food such as fish for the people.  The river supports the lives of the local people, but it is now exposed to change, for example from industrial goldpanning.  To sustainably use the river resources, environment conservation is important. 
Attapu A-9 Pa Som Sustenance from the Sekong River The Sekong River, which runs through Attapu province, provides domestic water and food such as fish for the people.  The river supports the lives of the local people, but it is now exposed to change, for example from industrial goldpanning.  Due to decrease in the fish catch, people are forced to survive by making traditional processed fish products.  To sustainably use the river resources, environment conservation is important. (with English subtitles, an exhibit at Earth Vision)
Attapu A-10 Khunpayok khong lum saw ban In dry seasons in Songyup village in Sanamsai district in Attapu province, there is a custom of digging holes in the paddy fields for fish farming.  With not a single drop of rain, fish in the paddy fields run into these holes.  In severe dry seasons, people catch fish from these holes and eat them.
Attapu A-11 Pa Soy Fish is an important source of protein for the people in Laos.  The Sekong river and the Sekaman river in Attapu province could particularly be regarded as blood vessels, as they provide food for the people in the river basin.  Pa Soy is a small fish, but quite a number of them run up the river in dry seasons.  People compete and fish during this time, but the number of fish is decreasing each year.  Rich river is changing its characteristics.  It is time for people to consider sustainable use of the river.
Attapu A-12 Khon kap Se (Supported by GAPE) The Sekaman River in Attapu province is known as a clear stream.  People's lives are with the river.
Province No Title Contents
Campasak C-1 Siang sa ung caak ton Jong
(Support from other organization)
In Khon District and Pathumporne District in Campasak province, nuts called "Mak Jorn" became a subject of trading.  As a result, jong trees have continuously been cut down.  It is an example of forest degradation which is caused by lack of people's knowledge.
Campasak C-2 Au Paa nay nong Laos is a country rich in nature, and various forms of lives can be found in water.  People use these resources but conserve them at the same time.  In Pathumporne District in Campasak Province, people sustainably use bogs by setting open and close seasons.
Campasak C-3 Au Paa nay lum NA
Campasak C-4 La duu paa Wild fish are important source of food in Laos.  In Khone District which is on the Mekong River in Campasak Province, large number of small fish migrate in January and February.  To catch these fish, people have developed various kinds of fishing methods.
Campasak C-5 Fay mai laam pa Forest fire not only destroys forests but decreases the number of wild animals.  The program introduces the causes of forest fire and the preventional measures taken in Campasak Province.
Campasak C-6 Pan din hay pen goen(tao payat) Efficient use of fuels can reduce the intensive work of women such as collection of firewoods.  It also enables forest conservation.  Efficient use of cooking stove thus is very effective.
Campasak C-7 Taam laa sanit dong dook Honey has been sustainably collected by Lavae and chru for many generations.  Direct use of forest make people share and conserve forests.
Campasak C-8 Taam hooy phuu thuk laa ton thii 2 Various wild animals can be found in Laos.  There is also a custom to eat them and many wild animals are in danger of extinction.
Campasak C-9 Khumsap nai pa A tree called "yarng", a dipterocarpaceae, has been tapped from old times in Laos.  "Yarng" thus have grown big.   Recently however, one "Yarng" after another have been cut down.  Trees useful for people's lives should be protected.

Campasak C-10 Sane khon khong The Mekong river runs through Campasak province.  The river is beautiful and gives people various blessings of nature.
Campasak C-11 Lot sa thi lum bo dai People in Campasak use non-timber forest products in their daily lives.  Wild mushrooms are particularly popular at markets.  Variety of wisdom is necessary to find mushrooms in forests.  Mushrooms should also be collected with sustainability.
Campasak C-12 Bun Ban fai People in Laos have rocket shooting festival called "Bun Ban fai" before planting rice and pray for abundant rain.  It is informal where people get muddy and pray for good harvests.
Campasak C-13 Pa deak  Pa deak (fermented fish product) is a traditional food and it is also essential for people's daily lives in Southern Laos.  People have been making Pa deak from the blessing of the Mekong river.  If a dam for the planned Sahoo waterway is constructed however, the river ecosystem could change and it is likely that the fish population will decrease. (with English subtitles, an exhibit at the Earth Vision)
Campasak C-14 Sai bet kop Frogs are familiar living creature and also food for the people in Laos.  Frogs were originally taken only for subsistence purposes.  Recently they are sold at markets and are beginning to have sales value.  Excessive collection however is decreasing the number of frogs.  For the sustainable usage, coservation of frogs should be considered.
Campasak C-15 Talat Pa khon sonnabot People in the villages in Laos use non-timber forest products for their living.  A place to barter these products is the local market.  People gather at markets with products from the forests.
Campasak C-16 Khon pha phen Mekong River is an international large river which rise in flows from Tibet.    Khon pha phen is commonly known as the Khon falls.  Once a dangerous spot for ship navigation, the waterfall now brings important income to the country as a tourist attraction spot.  The environment at the Khon falls should be protected and passed on to the future generations.
Campasak C-17 Kesalak nongbung The Nongbung village is known as a village of wood carving.  One man has spread the knowledge of wood carving from his hometown to the Nonbung village.  Sales from wood carving is now an important second income for the people.
Campasak C-18 Koi kapon A reptile called kapon is a popular food for the people in Laos.  However because of the population increase in Laos, excessive collection of kapon is decreasing its number.  It is the time to think about its sustainability.
Campasak C-19 Sat Pa na songsan (Campasak) -
Campasak C-20 Dorn Thorathi -
Province No Title Contents
Khamoune K-1 Pan din hay pen goen Soil is an essential resource for people's lives and their production activities.  People in Nong Bok District further utilize soil to make tools in their daily lives.  Changes in people's consumption patterns however is decreasing the use of unglazed tools.
Khamoune K-2 Puy siwaphaap Fertilizer is very important for agriculture.  Use of chemical fertilizer has been increasing in Laos but also with some negative outcomes.  There are less problems with microbe fertilizer with less damage to the environment.
Khamoune K-3 Kapuu haap say Phu Aak Crabs are important food for the people in Laos.  Many types of crabs live in Laos, but the one called "haap" is specially big with almost one kilogram.  A catch of "haaps" was controlled in the past allowing only the catch for subsistence, but with recent market value, they are excessively taken.
Khamoune K-4 Say se say siwit Rivers support people's lives.  This program introduces Xe Bangfai River and the people's lives there including the use of river resources.
Khamoune K-5 Pha paa The usage and self-mangement of swamps by the villagers.  Fishing season in the swamps opens once a year and the fishing fee is used for public works in the village.
Khamoune K-6 Pha may say bua thone Red Tais in Saybuathorne District in Khamoune province have been rearing silkworms and weaving silk for a long time.  As a result of modernization, people's taste for clothes is changing in Laos.  It is therefore necessary to protect the traditional textiles.
Khamoune K-7 Khi nyua ma te say ? (Click to view on YouTube) "Where does the garbage come from?".  Urbanization in Laos is creating waste problems.  The cause of the problem is ourselves.
Khamoune K-8 Sat touy In Khamoune province, people have skills to make surrounding plants into various products.  Grass called "touy" is the material for grass mats.  Sales of these mats give secondary income to the villagers.
Khamoune K-9 Kai Too To catch wild birds, people have various folk knowledge.  The program is about wild bird hunting using decoys in Kamoune province.
Khamoune K-10 Blessing from the forest People in Khamoune province use blessing from the forest in various ways.  Recent development theory sees lives in Laos as underdeveloped, but people have originality such as managing forests in a unique local way.  Just what is development? (with English subtitles, an exhibit at the Earth Vision)
Province No Title Contents
Savanakhet S-1 Ton may pen yaa Prescription of crude drugs cannot be done by anybody.  Profound knowledge of plant usage is necessary.  In Sayphuthorne District in Savanakhet province, rich forest still exist from forest conservation.  As long as people make use of the forests, they will not disappear from the country.

Savanakhet S-2 Patuu law anulak Phutais living in Savanakhet province hold a ceremony when new rice is harvested.  The ceremony is held at the entrance of the high-floor structured rice granaries.
Savanakhet S-3 Payoot caak fan se In many places in Laos, river banks are used for vegetable gardens in dry seasons.  The program introduces the products from and the daily use of these river banks.
Savanakhet S-4 Nong nam thoy khun The swamp once full of water, now has rapidly decreasing water level.  Villagers discuss and seek solution to conserve the swamp.
Savanakhet S-5 Thun na-pa thamasat khu ahan yun yon The lives of people in Laos are supported by food obtained from the natural environment.  Rice paddies are the place where not only rice but alo plants and fish are collected.  Non-timber forest products from forests are also important.
Savanakhet S-6 Story of Phutai cotton weaving Phutai grow cotton and indigo plant at the river banks.  They have been making clothes necessary for their lives by weaving these plants.  Markets in Laos and the world have started to widely recognize these traditional skills that do not use chemicals. (with English subtitles, exhibit at the Earth Vision)
Savanakhet S-7 Pha Pa Bung Sa'aa The swamp called "Sa'aa" still has a legend of Naga.  Villagers set here a no-fishing area and opens only once a year.  Income from fishing fee is used for village development.
Savanakhet S-8 Ci lo (Tua Dam tham goen) People in Laos live by using forest products.  Crickets from the forests are also important food for the people.  Crickets also give secondary income to the villagers when sold at markets.  Due to this, crickets are recently excessively collected.  Forest conservation and sustainable use of its products are the challenge for the villagers.
Savanakhet S-9 Kapu Daeng Rich nature and culture of Atsaphorne District is widely known in the province.  Crabs, a special product of the province, can be found here.  People in Na Khamin village mainly live from agriculture, but income from selling the crabs called "kapu daeng" is also important.  People walk around the forest in pursuit of these crabs.  Conservation of crabs is important to sustainably use them.  The villagers have begun to make conservation plans by themselves.
Savanakhet S-10 No mai Lai Bamboo shoot is the well known food in Laos.  Many of them spring up in the rainy season between July and October.  Locally, the type called "no mai lai" is particularly well known.  People in the Khamheang village in Sayphuthorne District use income from these bamboo shoots for their childrens' school fee.  However, bamboo forests are decreasing due to the increase of agricultural lands. The villagers are attempting to conserve the forest product by setting up their own restrictions such as prohibiting bamboo shoot collection in September and October.
Savanakhet S-11 Sat Pa Ma Ban To conserve the wild animals that have been eaten by the people is a pressing need in current Laos.
Savanakhet S-12 Tua lai khai dee Frogs are important food for the people.
Province No Title Contents
Bokaew B-1 ta fang khong juan The water level of the Mekong River greatly changes between dry and rainy season because of the influence of the Monsoon climate. In Bokaew province, people have adapted to the environment and have been growning vegetables at the river banks. However since the early 1990s, the riverbanks have continuously been eroded. Agricultural lands were lost and the villages had to be resettled. It is considered that the large ship navigation and the dam constructions in China is the main cause. Prompt measures should be taken.
Bokaew B-2 yaak tae dee Land is mostly covered by mountains in Laos. In this environment, especially in the North, shifting cultivation has been practiced for generations by each ethnic group. It is becoming difficult however to continue the shifting cultivation due to population increase and the government policy to restrict shifting cultivation. In this situation, called terraces (Hay Taew in Lao), which constantly farm by preventing topsoil erosion, could be an effective option for the future agriculture.
Province No Title Contents
Luang Namta L-1 Than Pliang Achieve Many ethnic groups live in Luang Namta province. One of them, Akha, has been living by growing poppies. As a result of anti-drug campaign, instead of growing poppies, they can now live by growing cash crops and engaging in the rubber plantation. However there are some new problems such as increase in the pesticide usage.
Luang Namta L-2 khao soy muang sing In Sing District in Luang Namta province, rice made noodle called "khao soy" has been popular. People used to eat khao soy at home but recently it is sold at restaurants and markets. The sales from khao soy gives cash income to the women.
Luang Namta L-3 Bo kua Bo kham There are salt works in the province and the salt produced here are supplied to the neighbouring provinces. A lot of firewood is necessary for producing salt. There is also a danger of causing salt damage in the surrounding area. With an increase in the salt production, appropriate management is required.


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