Kongseng is the coordinator of our Protection and Empowerment of Women and Children (PEWC) program, and a recognized national expert in the areas of human trafficking and child protection. Kongseng has built VFI’s counter-trafficking program from the ground up. She started as VFI’s Administrative Officer and now runs a program that includes 27 staff members, two shelters, a drop-in center, a transit center, outreach activities in 50+ villages, and many other projects.
Bounlouan is a retired government official, formerly in the Department of Non-Formal Education. She has been the manager of our shelter in Pakse since it opened in late-2008 and brings management expertise and compassion to the job. During her tenure, she has been responsible for the care of 450+ young women and girls, all affected by or at-risk of trafficking, helping them chart a better future for themselves and their families.
Kood, as she is known to us, is VFI’s master agriculture and food processing trainer. She’s been with VFI since 2003 and works with women, girls and men at our Green Earth Centre in southern Laos and shelter in Pakse. Kood can usually be found demonstrating mushroom production, community gardening, small livestock husbandry, food processing, and social enterprise development to empower and educate farmers and trafficking survivors.
Hongthong is the coordinator of our Land & Livelihoods (L&L) program and overseer of VFI’s Green Earth Centre, our 40-hectare demonstration farm and training facility. Hongthong started at VFI when it was founded and has established VFI as a key national stakeholder in land and natural resource rights. In the process, Hongthong has become a national expert in the sector and works closely with government, civil society, and villages to protect local livelihoods.
Viseth, like Kongseng and Hongthong, has been with VFI since its inception in 2000. He is an invaluable field staff member, able to work in the most difficult circumstances to address a wide range of land and livelihood issues with farmers and local officials. Viseth is an expert in land use planning and in negotiating community conservation agreements, helping village people identify threats and become better stewards of the forest and land resources.
Vanida is an expert in land policy issues in Laos, with special interest and experience in Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI). Vanida represents VFI on the Land Information Working Group (LIWG) board, and leads the national-level RAI working group as well. Vanida’s high capacity allows her to address a variety of challenges, including building relationships between private sector companies and villages, writing reports on gender in agriculture, and many other tasks.