Laos is one of the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped nations. The country has suffered unquantifiable hardships from the effects of poor healthcare, education, infrastructure and also the legacy of armed conflict.
Many communities living in Laos are being held back economically, socially and environmentally due to the lack of basic necessities. Simple technologies can help to increase a communities’ self-sufficiency and greatly improve the population’s standard of living. The aim of this project is to make communities self-reliant and sustainable in terms of sanitation, energy and clean water access. The knock-on effects will hopefully include improved health and educational capacity. This can be achieved through the construction of a number of items for the communities in question. These items include:
- An Electricity Generating Playground & Solar Panel System
- A Rainwater Harvesting & UV Treatment System
- Composting Toilets
The Natural Step Framework
As “Sustaining Communities” and Ziptrek Ecotours operate on the principles of sustainability we hope to deliver these amenities to a school in Vang Vieng, Laos PDR in a manner that is guided by “The Natural Step” Framework. The Natural Step is a non-profit organization founded with the vision of creating a sustainable society. The Natural Step has been at the forefront of international research and dialogue about sustainable development for over 20 years. They have developed a proven, science based model that helps communities and businesses better understand and integrate environmental, social, and economic considerations. This is best summarized by the following 4 conditions:
Condition 1 – EXTRACTION
The ability of the school to generate its own electricity needs by harnessing the energy output of the sun and children at play, reduces their reliance on finite fossil fuels extracted from the earth’s crust.
Condition 2 – PRODUCTION
Harvesting rainwater and treating it with UV rays either from sunlight or UV bulbs eliminates the need to use harmful chemicals. It also reduces the reliance on water sources that have been contaminated with human waste and non-biodegradable chemical compounds which cause major health problems, such as the Agent Orange defoliant sprayed during the Vietnam War.
Condition 3 – DEGRADATION
Fundraising for this project will be gathered through the sale of native plant saplings in an effort to improve the biophysical well-being of the local ecosystem through the re-population of native tree species.
Condition 4 – CONTRIBUTION
This project aims to help children in the developing world have greater access to the necessities of life and increase their standard of living. These amenities have the potential to improve health, educational capacity and opportunity for childhood recreation to the pupils of the Vang Vieng Primary School. The pupils will also be educated about the concept of sustainability and encouraged to undertake initiatives to protect their local ecosystems.
For more information on The Natural Step Framework please click on the following link: