Mission and Values

VFI believes empowering local leaders is the best way to create global change. Our work emphasizes the following values:

Our Story

In 2000, Village Focus International was the first international NGO to be

founded in Laos. We were determined to operate an organization led by

Lao professionals to address challenges faced by rural communities in their

country. We began with eight Lao staff members and one expat. Seventeen

years later we employ 55 full-time staff and more than 40 volunteers, with

nearly 100 percent of our staff Lao (see some current staff in the above

photo). We work across multiple Lao provinces and operate two human

trafficking shelters, a border transit center for trafficking survivors, and a

40-hectare agricultural training facility for local farmers.

VFI is an international NGO with an exclusively local mission. We use the

overwhelming majority of our funds in-country and do not support offices

and staff abroad, which helps us deepen our local focus and empower local

people. Our work has earned us recognition as the leader in Laos in the

fight against human trafficking and for land and natural resource rights. VFI

partners closely with the Lao government, international and domestic

NGOs, the private sector, and local communities to strengthen Lao villages.

Featured Staff

Our talented and dedicated local

staff are the reason why VFI

succeeds. Meet some members of

our team and learn about the work

they do here.

Our Board

VFI’s work is supported and advised

by a board of five experts, all

passionate about improving Lao

village life. Read their stories here.

Lao ownership:   VFI’s operations and projects are managed nearly exclusively by Lao staff.  Local focus:   We work at the village level so we can address unique challenges each community faces regarding safety, security and access to food and livelihood opportunity.  Gender equity:   Every aspect of our work, from counter-trafficking to agriculture, is tailored to empower women and girls and increase their agency in local communities.  Capacity building:   We build vulnerable individuals’ knowledge of and confidence in exercising their rights, as well as strengthen the ability of local government agencies to protect these rights.  Collaboration and trust:   VFI develops partnerships across different sectors and is seen as an honest broker among villagers, private corporations, and the Lao government. Open access to information:   VFI makes information, tools, resources, and support widely available to villages, companies, and government agencies to build sustainable change.  Amplification of local voices:   We strive to increase Lao citizens’ involvement in policy making by supporting village-level government and advocating for national policy changes that benefit villages.

VFI becomes a

registered

nonprofit in the

US, and the first

NGO to operate

in Laos

August 2000
VFI’s original program -- Health, Education, Agriculture, Leadership (HEAL) -- launches
May 2001

US State Dept.

approves and

funds VFI’s first

anti-trafficking

project

July 2003

VFI creates

Angkor Wat

Bike4Kids! event

in Cambodia,

which lasts for

10 years under

VFI’s leadership

December 2006
VFI’s Rights-LINK project related to land security launches, and will extend through 2016
May 2008
VFI opens Green Earth Centre, an agricultural training facility for farmers and trafficking survivors
October 2008
VFI staff in 2005

VFI opens LINK

resource center

to educate Lao

public,

government,

and civil society

about land

rights

June 2009
VFI opens the first shelter in Laos for human trafficking survivors, located in Pakse (southern Laos)
October 2009
VFI’s HEAL project becomes an independent organization, the Association for Community Development
November 2012
VFI opens Vientiane shelter for survivors of human trafficking
January 2016
VFI opens a transit center to help Lao traf- ficking survivors from Thailand reintegrate into Lao society
March 2016

VFI turns

Bike4Kids! event

over to local

Cambodian

organization

and focuses

mission on Laos

December 2016

Our Journey

Photography by Samantha Nieman and VFI staff © Village Focus International 2017

About Us

© Village Focus International 2017 Photos by Samantha Nieman and VFI staff

Mission and Values

VFI believes empowering local leaders is the best way to create global change. Our work emphasizes the following values:

Our Story

In 2000, Village Focus International was the

first international NGO to be founded in

Laos. We were determined to operate an

organization led by Lao professionals to

address challenges faced by rural

communities in their country. We began with

eight Lao staff members and one expat.

Seventeen years later we employ 55 full-time

staff and more than 40 volunteers, with

nearly 100 percent of our staff Lao (see some

current staff in the above photo). We work

across multiple Lao provinces and operate

two human trafficking shelters, a border

transit center for trafficking survivors, and a

40-hectare agricultural training facility for

local farmers.

VFI is an international NGO with an

exclusively local mission. We use the

overwhelming majority of our funds in-

country and do not support offices and staff

abroad, which helps us deepen our local

focus and empower local people. Our work

has earned us recognition as the leader in

Laos in the fight against human trafficking

and for land and natural resource rights. VFI

partners closely with the Lao government,

international and domestic NGOs, the private

sector, and local communities to strengthen

Lao villages.

Featured Staff Our talented and dedicated local staff are the reason why VFI succeeds. Meet some members of our team and learn about the work they do here.
Our Board

VFI’s work is supported and advised by a

board of five experts, all passionate about

improving Lao village life. Read their

stories here.

About Us

Lao ownership:   VFI’s operations and projects are managed nearly exclusively by Lao staff.  Local focus:   We work at the village level so we can address unique challenges each community faces regarding safety, security and access to food and livelihood opportunity.  Gender equity:   Every aspect of our work, from counter-trafficking to agriculture, is tailored to empower women and girls and increase their agency in local communities.  Capacity building:   We build vulnerable individuals’ knowledge of and confidence in exercising their rights, as well as strengthen the ability of local government agencies to protect these rights.  Collaboration and trust:   VFI develops partnerships across different sectors and is seen as an honest broker among villagers, private corporations, and the Lao government. Open access to information:   VFI makes information, tools, resources, and support widely available to villages, companies, and government agencies to build sustainable change.  Amplification of local voices:   We strive to increase Lao citizens’ involvement in policy making by supporting village-level government and advocating for national policy changes that benefit villages.
© Village Focus International 2017 Photos by Samantha Nieman and VFI staff

Mission and Values

VFI believes empowering local leaders is the best way to create global change. Our work emphasizes the following values:

Our Story

In 2000, Village Focus International was the first international NGO to be founded in

Laos. We were determined to operate an organization led by Lao professionals to

address challenges faced by rural communities in their country. We began with eight

Lao staff members and one expat. Seventeen years later we employ 55 full-time staff

and more than 40 volunteers, with nearly 100 percent of our staff Lao (see some current

staff in the above photo). We work across multiple Lao provinces and operate two

human trafficking shelters, a border transit center for trafficking survivors, and a 40-

hectare agricultural training facility for local farmers.

VFI is an international NGO with an exclusively local mission. We use the overwhelming

majority of our funds in-country and do not support offices and staff abroad, which

helps us deepen our local focus and empower local people. Our work has earned us

recognition as the leader in Laos in the fight against human trafficking and for land and

natural resource rights. VFI partners closely with the Lao government, international and

domestic NGOs, the private sector, and local communities to strengthen Lao villages.

Featured Staff

Our talented and dedicated local

staff are the reason why VFI

succeeds. Meet some members of

our team and learn about the work

they do here.

Our Board

VFI’s work is supported and advised

by a board of five experts, all

passionate about improving Lao

village life. Read their stories here.

About Us

Lao ownership:   VFI’s operations and projects are managed nearly exclusively by Lao staff.  Local focus:   We work at the village level so we can address unique challenges each community faces regarding safety, security and access to food and livelihood opportunity.  Gender equity:   Every aspect of our work, from counter-trafficking to agriculture, is tailored to empower women and girls and increase their agency in local communities.  Capacity building:   We build vulnerable individuals’ knowledge of and confidence in exercising their rights, as well as strengthen the ability of local government agencies to protect these rights.  Collaboration and trust:   VFI develops partnerships across different sectors and is seen as an honest broker among villagers, private corporations, and the Lao government. Open access to information:   VFI makes information, tools, resources, and support widely available to villages, companies, and government agencies to build sustainable change.  Amplification of local voices:   We strive to increase Lao citizens’ involvement in policy making by supporting village-level government and advocating for national policy changes that benefit villages.

Our Journey

VFI becomes

a registered

nonprofit in the

US, and the first

NGO to

operate in Laos

August 2000
VFI’s original program -- Health, Education, Agriculture, Leadership (HEAL) -- launches
May 2001

US State Dept.

approves and

funds VFI’s first

anti-trafficking

project

July 2003

VFI creates

Angkor Wat

Bike4Kids!

event in

Cambodia,

which lasts for

10 years under

VFI’s leadership

December 2006
VFI’s Rights-LINK project related to land security launches, and will extend through 2016
May 2008
VFI opens Green Earth Centre, an agricultural training facility for farmers and trafficking survivors
October 2008

VFI opens LINK

resource center

to educate

Lao public,

government,

and civil society

about land

rights

June 2009
VFI opens the first shelter in Laos for human trafficking survivors, located in Pakse (southern Laos)
October 2009
VFI’s HEAL project becomes an independent organization, the Association for Community Development
November 2012
VFI opens Vientiane shelter for survivors of human trafficking
January 2016
VFI opens a transit center to help Lao trafficking sur- vivors from Thailand reintegrate into Lao society
March 2016

VFI turns

Bike4Kids!

event over to

local

Cambodian

organization

and focuses

mission on Laos

December 2016