The Lao program focuses on poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities in the southern uplands. VFI Laos has three core programmatic areas: ‘Healthy Village and Local Leadership’, which is an integrated development initiative focusing on local leadership, Land and Livelihoods, which focuses on land rights and natural resource management, and Protection and Empowerment for Women and Children (PEWC), which includes a Shelter, education and awareness raising regarding trafficking, illegal migration for labor, youth leadership, etc. We are built upon the leadership of well trained, motivated and dynamic local Lao staff. Land security & local management of natural resources are two of the most critical requirements of a healthy village. Without the security to use, manage and profit from the land, people lose a sense of ownership and connectedness, which could lead to a breakdown of communities as well the destruction and sell-off of natural resources. We currently work in the uplands of southern Laos (near the Vietnamese border) working with multiple civil society members, government and private sector partners to give the program activities wide and lasting impact. We work with remote, usually ethnic minority communities, focusing on local leadership issues as well as a range of specific land rights activities. This is a complex and important issue, and involves the effort to protect and manage forest and water resources, which local people rely upon for daily food and livelihood needs.