Lao University Students Visit Resettled Villagers near Nam Theun 2

October 23, 2008

Vientiane, October 23, 2008- Fifteen students and five teachers from the National University of Laos (NUOL) had an opportunity to learn about the Nam Thuen 2 Project (NT2) from October 20-22, 2008. The study tour was a learning opportunity to students from three faculties in NUOL - law, political science and social science and environment -- who had an opportunity to visit the NT2 project site and learn about the project's work with an emphasis on resettlement, compensation and environmental issues.

During the three day visit, students and teachers were accompanied by staff from the Resettlement Management Unit who work on a daily basis on the resettlement and compensation work that is being implemented by the Lao Government and the Nam Theun 2 Power Company. Participants were able to visit some of the new resettlement villages in Nakai district and they also had opportunity to talk with villagers to inquire about their livelihood and feelings on the project and the resettlement process.

"I gained a lot of knowledge and experience during my visit to NT2," said Mr. Panya Simongkhoun from the NUOL Youth Union. "Particularly I learned more about the background of the NT2 project as well as its progress on the dam construction. Importantly, I was also able to learn about resettlement and compensation works which are considered as a good example for other development projects in Laos."

"From our interview with some villagers in the resettlement villages, they are very delighted and happy for their present lives. Some of them told me that they might not be able to have good houses and access to clear water and electricity without the NT2 project. I think this proves the success of development of NT2 under guidance of government of Laos," said Ms. Soudaphone, a student from the Center for Environment and Development Study.

"In my opinion, the Prime Minister's Decree Number 192/PM is a very good tool in order to ensure any development project in Laos acts responsibly with the affected people in their project areas in order to make the highest benefit for our people and country. I have studied this decree and I could see that NT2 puts it to practice very well." said Mr. Atsany, a student from Faculty of Laws and Political Science.

After the trip, the group of students has planned to conduct a knowledge sharing workshop at NUOL in order to exchange their views and experiences with other students.

This study tour was supported by the World Bank office in Vientiane. The activity is part of an ongoing partnership between the World Bank and the National University of Laos to foster knowledge development of the country's youth.