On November 2, 2010, Legacies of War convened a meeting of non-governmental organizations in Laos who receive U.S. government funding for UXO-related work. We were graciously hosted by Village Focus International. The event brought together around 20 individuals representing UXO clearance, risk awareness education and victim assistance, as well as representation from the Lao Government’s National Regulatory Authority.
The purpose of the meeting was to share information and strategies that will result in stronger U.S. government support for UXO-related work in Laos. The meeting included an overview of each organization’s UXO-related projects in Laos. And Legacies shared its education activities and advocacy strategies in the U.S.
Legacies was encouraged to frame its advocacy work in terms of meeting overall development goals and in terms of the right to live on land free from lethal ordnance. Many of the NGOs also expressed a strong desire for a long-term sustained commitment from donors, so that they can move ahead with certainty and innovation.
Conversations such as this are crucial to Legacies’ advocacy work. They help ensure that our advocacy remains rooted in the realities and needs of the Lao context. This conversation was another good step in that process, and the promise of many more to come.