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Humanity & Inclusion became the new name of Handicap International on Jan. 24.

Laos

MANDATE

Humanity & Inclusion works closely with Lao institutions and civil society to address the major causes of disability in the country and to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities. To carry out its mandate, Humanity & Inclusion employs 134 national and 6 expatriate staff.

BACKGROUND

Laos is one of the least developed countries in the world. Following decades of conflict in the region, it is also easily the world’s country most heavily contaminated by unexploded ordnance (UXO), with 80 million unexploded “bombies” still polluting the ground. Since 1964, more than 50,500 victims have been killed by these devices. Humanity & Inclusion has helped victims of mines and explosive remnants of war in Laos since 1983. In 2010, this expanded to include child disability prevention and early detection, road accident prevention, support for disabled persons organizations, and social and economic integration for people with disabilities.

ACTIONS

MINE ACTION

Unexploded ordnance in Laos has accounted for approximately 300 new casualties annually for the last decade. UXO remain in 41 of the 46 poorest districts of the country. Since 2006, Humanity & Inclusion's demining teams have cleared more than 3,100,000 square miles of land in Laos, and destroyed some 19,400 ERWs. Working in the most affected areas alongside government and other partners, such as the National Regulatory Authority, Humanity & Inclusion not only removes UXO, but also educates communities about the risks posed by these weapons. With community liaisons, the organization aims to address the needs of civilians in dangerous areas by identifying priority areas for clearance. The organization also promotes public awareness through our Ban Advocates program, a group of UXO survivors who advocate for a ban on cluster munitions and the full application of the rights of survivors as guaranteed by the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions.

MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH

Humanity & Inclusion promotes an integrated approach within the existing health system of Laos for the prevention, early detection, early intervention, and referral of children ages five and younger with, or at risk of, disabilities. The organization runs a child disability early detection system in partnership with the Children's Hospital in Vientiane, as well as building the capacities of child development units who offer basic rehabilitation care to children with disabilities. Staff members carry out community-level initiatives to increase knowledge of childhood disability and promote key family behaviors that reduce disability risk factors. 15,000 infants receive improved screening services and 100 family members benefit from awareness training and activities. 

ECONOMIC INCLUSION

In partnership with the Laos Disabled Peoples Association and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Humanity & Inclusion aims to break down the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from accessing employment opportunities within their communities. Through vocational and technical training, people with disabilities are integrated in their communities and able to earn a living. Financial support is provided to beneficiaries of this program in the form of a start-up pack that makes buying new business equipment possible.

SUPPORT TO DPOs (Disabled People's Organizations)

Humanity & Inclusion supports the Laos Disabled People’s Association to ensure participation of persons with disabilities in decision making processes concerning them, their livelihoods and their well-being. The organization collects and analyzes data to inform government policies and actions; supports the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; designs action plans to promote inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in the life of their communities; and has piloted a unique methodology to support the inclusion of disability issues in development projects.

FUNCTIONAL REHABILITATION

To better meet the needs of people with disabilities in Laos, Humanity & Inclusion is working to improve the country's rehabilitation system as a whole. Partnering with the Ministry of Health to draw up a strategic action plan on rehabilitation and inclusive health, the organization is currently identifying a community-based rehabilitation model for Laos, and supporting the training of physical therapists and other rehabilitation professionals around the country. 

CURRENT PROJECTS ARE POSSIBLE THANKS TO HUMANITY & INCLUSION DONORS, AND THE FOLLOWING:

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USAID
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European Union
Belgian Development Cooperation
French Development Agency
Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Australian Foreign Affairs
Norwegian Minstry of Foreign Affairs