Ny Luangkhot – Laos

Linked with Earth Systems.

Ny Luangkhot was born in Nongbon village Chaichettha district, Vientiane in 1953. She has a master’s degree in economics from the University of Kiev and another in Sociology from the Sociology Institute of Moscow State University. She worked for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and was an interpreter for high-ranking officers. She lectured on Marxism to senior members of the Communist Party and worked for NGOs. Currently a consultant on development issues, she trains local workers in community development project evaluation for local and international organizations … (1000PeaceWomen 1/2).

She says: “There are two types of people in this world, the strong and the weak. We can choose to belong to either kind. But for women, I wish they would seek to belong to the strong rather than the weak”.

The Rural Research and Development Training Center RRDTC is an independent, non political Lao Not for Profit Association which is locally managed. We provide training, research and resources for community development in Lao PDR … (full text).

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Ny Luangkhot – Laos

She has two Master’s Degrees, one in economy from the University of Kiev, and one in sociology from the University of Moscow. She has extensive experience of work at village and grass-roots level in rural Laos within a number of professional areas, including water supply and sanitation. She is well versed with applying participatory working methods, and has extensive experience of statistical investigations and studies at village level. At the same time, she has worked with education and process facilitation at high national level, amongst other things she has participated in the development of a national strategy for rural water supply and sanitation … (geoscope.se).

Found on 1000PeaceWomen: … “I feel I am aging and am slow at times. To work with the youth, you need a lot of power. I think if I am no longer hired to work, I will attempt to do small work to share my knowledge with the youth and to give them moral support. No one rules over the other. We all simply want to share our experience and I want to continue working as a stimulant.”

Those are the words of Ny Luangkhot, a development worker who has lived for more than 50 years. She was born in 1953 to a poor farmer family in Nongbon village, Chaichettha district, Vientiane. Her mother was a rice farmer, and her father organized the first charity in Vientiane to make coffins for the destitute. From 19 siblings, only eight survived. The oldest sister among the remaining offspring, Ny Luangkhot had to take on great responsibilities. After school, she collected vegetables and fresh water crabs and fish from a rice field and sold them to earn income for her family.

Following high school, she applied for a scholarship to study abroad. Despite her outstanding score, which should have qualified her to study in France, for some reason, the runner-up was chosen. Eventually, however, she was sent to study in the University of Kiev in the Soviet Union. She completed her master’s degree in economics in 1980, then she came home and worked for three years at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry before being promoted to a high-ranking position in the central politburo.

In 1985, Laos was bracing for opening up the country after a long episode of isolation. There was a need to prepare personnel for this purpose. Ny Luangkhot was sent in 1986-1990 to the Sociology Institute, Moscow University, for her second master’s degree in sociology. Upon her return, she worked as interpreter for high-ranking party officers and lectured on Marxism to senior party members.

In an isolated developing country, it is difficult for people to express new and innovative ideas. But Ny Luangkhot is a straightforward and courageous woman who always speaks her mind. She is watched closely by others, which she hardly pays attention to. She strongly believes, “There are two types of people in this world; the strong and the weak. We can choose to belong to either kind. I myself choose to belong to the strong, the brave ones.”

Bureaucratic systems can stifle a pragmatic and forward-thinking person like Ny Luangkhot. So, when Laos began to take in more support from foreign countries, a growing number of international NGOs came into the country. Ny Luangkhot decided to resign from the government to work with NGOs for a couple of years. She worked as a freelance consultant on community development, supporting the conceptualization of relevant technology at the village, provincial and regional levels. She sees to it that the people bring knowledge from the training to use in their daily life.

Her work can be categorized as: raising awareness, stimulating ideas and participation of communities in development work; developing a good understanding of the roles of development workers, their attitudes and behavior, emphasizing that community development work must be implemented with understanding and respect for local cultures; and providing orientation to foreigners, including getting international consultants to understand the real situation in Laos so that they can achieve their goals more smoothly and efficiently.

One outstanding aspect of her work is the promotion of public participation in any development work which may affect people’s livelihood and development which gives higher emphasis on practical development rather than human development. Ny Luangkhot explains her long-held belief this way: “What we want the villagers to achieve is not materialistic progress. We want them to know ways to protect themselves, or to identify their own problems until they can walk tall into the political arena with dignity. They should be able to stand up and tell their plight to the government or others. Basically, we want to empower them.”

Besides working to promote public participation, she also attempts to educate governmental officers at all levels on the importance of public participation. As a woman leader, she has played an important role in starting up the inter-agency Gender and Development Group [GDG]. With collective strategic planning and mutual exchange of experiences, the women’s group has broadened its views.

Ny Luangkhot works with individuals and organizations from the village to regional and international levels. She uses her skills and opportunities to help organizations develop their working strategies, including women’s organizations, the European Union, the World Bank, and others. The beneficiaries of her work range from ethnic groups in remote areas to NGO workers and governmental officials. It can even be said that her work has contributed to capacity-building of the people of Laos in the era of globalization … (1000PeaceWomen 2/2).

links:

Earth Systems;

SNV Lao PDR’s Local Governance Advisory Programme: Identifying a Niche, 46 pages, May 2004;

List of Available short-term Consultancy Reports Elaborated for NAWACOP;

People-centered approaches to water and environmental sanitation, 34 pages;

EVALUATION REPORT of the Biodiversity Use and Conservation in Asia Programme BUCAP November 2004 – January 2005, 70 pages;

Lao PDR, 112 pages.

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