WHO WE ARELegacies of War is the leading U.S.-based educational and advocacy organization working to address the impact of conflict in Laos during the Vietnam War-era, including removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO). We raise awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing of Laos, provide space for healing the wounds of war, and create greater hope for a future of peace. We are not a direct service or aid organization, nor do we have local offices in Laos. From Washington, DC, we engage and establish relationships with governments, civil society and individuals, especially from the Lao diaspora, to raise awareness and increase financial support for clearance of UXO in Laos. We work directly with key decision-makers in the U.S. government – including Congress and the Administration – and with the private sector and media outlets to provide these influential groups with compelling information and analysis. We serve as a convenor and organizer of partner organizations and individuals seeking to resolve the UXO problem in Laos. Our work has led to six-fold increase of U.S. funding for UXO clearance and victim assistance in Laos, from $3M in 2008 to $19.5M in 2016. In bringing greater attention and increasing resources, we’ve helped to make a real impact on the ground in Laos: more land being cleared, lives being saved and additional care and services available for the approximately 12,000 UXO victims living in Laos.
WHAT IS THE UXO PROBLEM IN LAOS?During the Vietnam War-era, more than two million tons of unexploded ordnance were dropped on Laos. An estimated 30 percent of the ordnance did not explode on impact, leaving at least one third of the land across all 17 provinces contaminated by these deadly tennis ball-sized weapons. The Lao Government and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), have determined that UXO contaminates 41 out of the 46 poorest districts in Laos and remains an obstacle for carrying out its national development plans. The threat of deadly unexploded ordnance limits Laotian people’s ability to cultivate enough land for food and to maintain secure livelihoods, exacerbating the nation’s extreme poverty.
WHY IT MATTERS TODAYThe UXO problem in Laos has persisted far too long. Too many innocent lives have been lost. Too many farmers and children have been left disabled, their lives forever changed. But it is not too late to stop this senseless suffering. We've already proven positive change is possible.
KEY ACHIEVEMENTSLegacies of War Has Helped to Quadruple the Amount of U.S. Funding to Laos Legacies of War has helped to increase the amount of U.S. funding for Laos more than six-fold. Funding is essential to financing programs on-the- ground that clear bombs, support victims and educate a new generation about the dangers of UXO. The increase has led to more land being available for cultivation and economic development, and casualty rates have dropped from more than 300 to less than 50 a year. Legacies of War has shifted the dialogue on solving the UXO problem from “impossible” to “possible”: Legacies has helped to create political space for prioritizing the UXO issue as essential to addressing Laos' development goals. Legacies of War has educated thousands of people around the U.S. and put this issue on the radar of policymakers: We organized hundreds of awareness- raising programs throughout the U.S. about UXO in Laos and mobilized people to take action.
WHAT IS LEGACIES' ANNUAL BUDGET?Our current budget is $250K. With this basic budget we have helped increase U.S. funding for the UXO sector in Laos to $19.5M in FY16. Nearly 100% of these government funds goes to direct service organizations working in Laos, such as MAG, HALO Trust, World Education, COPE and Handicap International. Legacies of War depends on private donations. Key donors are: Individuals, Open Society Foundation, and the Samuel Rubin Foundation.
WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT LEGACIES OF WARMAKE SURE WE HAVE A VOICE in Washington, DC, calling for long-term, sustained increase in U.S. funding for UXO activities in Laos. According to the State Department, between 1993-2014, U.S. funding totaled $84M. U.S. contributions increased to $15M and $19.5M in 2015 and 2016 respectively, yielding a grand total of $118M over the 24 year period. Of this total, $64.7M, or well over 50% came in the past 5 years, a direct result of Legacies of War's sustained advocacy. PROVIDE ONGOING DIALOGUE between stake-holders to foster collaboration and mutual support in solving this pressing humanitarian problem.
“I hope others in the international community will join us in our efforts to bring this legacy of the Vietnam War era to a safe end and give the people, particularly the children of this nation the opportunity to live their lives safe from these unexploded bombs.”
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State (2012)￼
INCREDIBLE RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT
In 2011 the U.S. contributed $5M to the UXO sector in Laos. From 2012 thru 2016, our advocacy efforts led to a 5-year total of $64.7M in U.S. funding, or an average of nearly $13M/yr. Had U.S. funding levels remained at the 2011 level, U.S. contributions would have totaled only $25M during the same time period. Thus with an average annual budget of $150K, Legacies has spent roughly $750K, and helped to increase U.S. funding by $39.7M. In othe words, for every $1 investment in Legacies, we have been able to increase U.S. funding by $52.
“Your support of Legacies will be one of the best investments you can make to ensure sustained U.S. attention and priority is given to resolving the UXO problem in Laos.”
- Ambassador Douglas Hartwick (ret.), Laos 2001- 2004
BUILDING SUSTAINED LEADERSHIP
“Legacies of War has been a tremendous advocate for the people of Laos and a great partner for me in Congress.”
- Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN)