Week 2: Special Economic Zones in Laos Workshop

In my second week of work (sorry for how late this is being written!), I had the opportunity to participate in The Land Information Working Group’s Workshop on Special Economic Zones (SEZs). As the biggest investor in Laos is China, the conference focused on the intersection of investment and development, specifically with China as an example. After spending the past year working on AidData’s Transparent Development Footprint team quantifying the extent of Chinese investment, I was thrilled to hear from such a wide array of people on the subject (conference attendees included academics, government workers, local lawyers (honestly a rarity in Laos), and directors of international NGOs hailing from Laos, the US, Viet Nam, Thailand, Burma / Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, France, & Hong Kong).

[Read more…]

Week 8: Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and Improving Tenure Security for Smallholder Farmers (ITSSF)

Most of my posts for Omprakash (the Global Research Institute platform) and the Freeman Foundation have been reactions and lessons learned from Laos. After two months, it seems appropriate to explain what I’ve been doing at Village Focus International.

[Read more…]

Week 7: A Still War-Torn Country

From 1964-1973, the CIA dropped 270 million sub munitions in over 580,000 bombing campaigns. That’s the equivalent of a bombing mission every 8 minutes 24 hours a day for 9 years. As a result, Laos is the most bombed country per capita in the world ever. While the bombing concluded almost 45 years ago, the impact remains one of Laos’ largest development issues because 30% of these cluster munitions failed to explode, leaving 80 million “bombies” scattered throughout the country. The contaminated area is twice the size of Switzerland.

[Read more…]