Co-op Okinawa starts Laos Project Phase 2


Co-op Okinawa has been conducting Laos Project since 2013. The activities from 2017 to 2019 have been highly evaluated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and from 2020 to 2023, a new international cooperation project, Laos Project Phase 2, has been started.
Government officials from Laos visit Okinawa

The Laos Project is an activity that started in 2013 with the aim to support the establishment of the first co-operative centered on female residents in Xai Village, Attapeu Province in Laos, one of the poorest countries in Asia. It started with the desire that local residents could work together to create a sustainable community by themselves.

The project members of Co-op Okinawa have passed on their experience and know-how on the management of co-operatives, the production of Lao-Lao (Laos rice whiskey), marketing, etc. to the female residents. In addition, Lao-Lao, which is a traditional local whiskey of Laos, was branded in Japan as "Chura Lao" (Chura is 'beautiful' in the Okinawan dialect) to promote joint production and sales.
Jointly produced "Chura Lao"  

Mr.TAMAKI Denny, Governor of Okinawa, buying "Chura Lao"

At the local factory, there were times when men wanted to intervene and replace the operation of the business with women's domination, but the project members acted as the arbiter to promote women-centered management. They contributed to the improvement of the status of women and their independence as the women's representatives themselves took on the challenge to expand sales channels.

Through the creation of a community-based co-operative centered on women, the awareness and the ability to make decisions by the villagers have improved and that is one of the major achievements of this project.

Women in Xai Village

In addition, following the flood damage that occurred in Laos in 2018, a kindergarten was built in Attapeu Province with donations of more than 4 million yen gathered by the members of Co-op Okinawa and Okinawan high school students.
Kindergarten built with donations

Based on the strong trust and ties between Laos and Okinawa, Co-op Okinawa will further support the growth of co-operatives and the establishment of co-operatives in Phase 2 from 2020. In the future, they plan to promote these activities in collaboration with the Co-op Ishikawa, which supports the project, with the cooperation of local government agencies and the International Labour Organization.

tags: Co-op Okinawa, Cooperatives, international, JICA, Laos Project