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Nam Theun 2

Transforming villages with electricity in Laos

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Villagers at Ban Nongbuakham, Thakek District, Khammouane Province, Lao PDR. Check out more photos here  

​You can see it in the smiles on the faces of villagers in Ban Nam Jing, two hours outside of Vientiane the capital of Lao PDR. People's lives are improving. In this village of 158 households incomes have increased thanks in part to the 'Power to the People' (P2P) project supported by the World Bank. The program targets the poor, especially female heads of household, with subsidies to pay for electrical connections.

The villagers I met say initially only wealthier families could pay to be connected. Poorer families were left behind unable to afford the cost with their incomes from producing rice, cassava and rubber. Now with lights at night they are also producing handicrafts and textiles to boost their incomes. There are other benefits, with refrigeration people say they can keep food longer, before it used to rot and they would have to eat it quickly. In addition, their children can now study at night and they have TV for entertainment and to learn more about the rest of the world.

Laos: How the Nam Theun 2 dam is managed during flood events

William Rex's picture

William RexIt’s been an unusually severe rainy season in some parts of Lao PDR, with several typhoons passing over after making landfall in Vietnam.  Thailand is also severely hit, with Bangkok bracing itself for floods as I write this

Does the chance to access information carry a duty from those who ask?

Victoria Minoian's picture
Accessing information is a right that comes associated with—at least—the homework of reading, studying and understanding such information. (February 2010, World Bank booth at Library Week in Vientiane, WB photo)

Nam Theun 2 – How are the resettled people doing overall? In their own words… (part 2 of 2)

Nina Fenton's picture

In the last blog we saw that most resettlers are broadly satisfied with the resettlement process and are positive and optimistic about their lives as a whole. But…how do they feel about their lives in comparison to the very different world they lived in before relocation? What are the changes they value or regret?
 

The respondents were asked directly how they felt about life now compared with life before resettlement. The overwhelming majority think that life has got much better, and that the vulnerable households are even more likely to feel this way than the non-vulnerable—no vulnerable households felt that life had got worse.

Nam Theun 2 – How are the resettled people doing overall? In their own words… (part 1 of 2)

Nina Fenton's picture

In last week’s blog I showed that, when we examine consumption—a commonly used measure of household welfare—the resettled households appear to be doing relatively well, and much better than before resettlement. But economic circumstances are just one small part of what really matters to households. In order to get closer to a broader picture of “well-being”, I’m going to present some evidence of how these households themselves view their lives overall and how they feel about the changes going on around them. I hope that this will provide new insights to the question of “how are the resettled people doing overall?”

Nam Theun 2 – how are resettled people doing? (a note on epistemology, or what we can and can’t learn using socioeconomic data)

Nina Fenton's picture

On the Nakai plateau, a large proportion of income is non-monetary. If we fail to account for this income, we grossly underestimate the living standards of most households. (WB photo)

Nam Theun 2 – How are resettled people doing?

William Rex's picture

There’s an extensive literature on dam resettlement, and according to much of this, the track record on rebuilding sustainable livelihoods is not great. For those interested, an excellent starting point is “The Future of Large Dams” by Ted Scudder. Ted has spent 50 years or so studying dams and resettlement, and has been on Nam Theun 2’s (NT2) external Panel of Experts since the early days of project preparation.

The broad reasons behind poor results in dam-related resettlement are intuitive: dams often require the resettlement of entire communities (rather than, for example, the resettlement of specific households to make way for a road), and dams may also significantly impact on existing livelihood opportunities, by, for example, flooding agricultural areas.


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