Association for Rural Mobilisation and Improvement (ARMI) is a Nationwide Membership Lao Civil Society Organization that was established in 2006 under the Lao Union of Science and Engineering Associations (LUSEA) and re-registered under the Ministryof Home Affairs (MoHA) license No. 511/MoHA on August 12, 2012.
ARMI was founded by 15 former CIDSE staff members in October 2006, after CIDSE’s members decided that the CIDSE offices in Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos should become local organizations.
CIDSE-Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (Cooperation International pour le Development et la Solidarité) (CIDSE-CLV programme) was funded by a consortium of 16 member organizations based in Europe and North America. They share a common strategy on development approaches, development education, and advocacy, based on values of solidarity, justice, peace, and preferential options for the poor. The program was started in Vietnam in 1997, Cambodia in 1979, and Laos in 1988.
At the CIDSE-CLV Co-coordinating Committee meeting in Montreal in 1996, attendees discussed and agreed that country offices "need to become independent and self-reliant development organizations" and that the member organizations would stay together until at least 2002.
Following that agreement, staff in the three country offices had some meetings together in order to prepare for becoming local organizations so they could continue to develop their own countries.
CIDSE-Vietnam closed its office at the end of 2005, and two organizations emerged: the Centre of Community Socio-Economic and Environmental Development (CSEED) and the Centre for Sustainable Development (SRD), both based in Hanoi, Vietnam. CIDSE-Cambodia was also closed at the end of 2005, and one local organization emerged, Development and Partnership (DPA).
In May 2005, at the Lao member organization (LMO) meeting, it was discussed and agreed that "the CIDSE-Laos office needs to close by the end of 2008". Following that agreement, CIDSE-Laos’ staff has held many follow-up discussions. On April 3-4, the last workshop was held in the CIDSE Laos office. Fifteen CIDSE staff decided to set up a membership association registered under the Lao Union of Science and Engineering Associations (LUSEA) on October 10, 2006.
ARMI was re-registered on August 9, 2012, under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and changed its name to "Association for Rural Mobilization and Improvement (ARMI)" in order to fit the decree No. 115/PM on the establishment of the association in Laos, which was approved on April 29, 2009.
ARMI aims to contribute to the well-being of all-ethnic groups based on mutual respect, equal opportunities, care for the environment, and the sustainable use of resources
To build capacities amongst target groups to improve their quality of life for their well-being in green and sustainable ways
Rural communities and the poor and disadvantaged, especially children, youth, women, and people with disabilities (PWDs)
Solidarity, Participation, Transparency, Effectiveness, and Opportunities for All
5 Years of Strategic Goals (2021-2025)
In 5 Years (2021-2025), The ARMI will focus on the following 5 goals:
The organizational structure of ARMI
1. To reduce poverty by improving food security
The way of life of Lao people in rural areas still relies on nature, and they earn a living according to the season. Due to a lack of habit, some families do not consume food throughout the year, while others continue to raise livestock and engage in farming using local techniques. This results in productivity that is lower than it should be, which has an impact on the local population’s ability to support themselves, leading to hunger and poverty at all levels, from the family to the village and community. Therefore, in order to contribute to the reduction of poverty by upgrading the food security for the people in rural areas to get better development gradually, continue to develop the countryside and solve the poverty of the people universally by promoting the production of goods, promoting the professions, and using advanced technical techniques in order to raise the production along with stable occupations and a sustainable livelihood. This goal is to contribute to the 9th National Social-Economic Development Plan, or NSEDP (2021-2025), in output 1: poverty alleviation in rural and remote areas, and people’s livelihoods, cultural values, and media work improved, which is under outcome 3: the enhanced well-being of the people, including their living requirements and mental conditions, has been gradually upgraded. Moreover, it is also a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere" and SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. which we organized the following activities:
1. Capacity Building for the target groups:
Create a model family to be able to pass it on to others in the form of peer-to-peer learning;
Build capacity for the village veterinarians;
Build capacity for the village authorities, and village development committees in management, follow up and support the target groups in sustainable ways;
Build capacity for village interesting groups to share learning;
Study trip and exchange on management and related technical aspects between villages, districts, provinces, and other provinces.
2. Promote agriculture and production techniques:
Techniques to increase rice yield, planting mixed crops for food and commodities, especially vegetables, fruit trees and economic crops that are suitable for the local area and market needs;
Animal husbandry techniques for food and products, especially small animals: goats, pigs, ducks, chickens, bee, etc. that are suitable for the local area and market needs.
3.Promote income generation
Promote local knowledge to become a product such as handicrafts, plates, products, etc.
Promote marketing initiatives: community markets, fairs, etc.
When compared to metropolitan areas, the problem of malnutrition in rural areas is still relatively frequent, with 89% of the population having an appropriate food consumption pattern and another 11% of rural households consuming innutritious food. In 2015, 35.6% of children under the age of five had stunted growth, 25.5% were underweight, and 9.6% were wasting. As we know, rural areas are remote, and some places do not have access roads, making it difficult for health services to reach, so this health problem spreads among children in the poorest families three times faster than in families with a good status. Therefore, we have implemented activities to promote nutrition in the community to reduce food shortages, and public health work needs to be continuously developed.
This goal contributes to the organization of nutrition and health strategies for the target community to have better health gradually and to contribute to the ninth 5-year National Social-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP-9) (2021-2025), which is mentioned in the output 1: More inclusive and better-quality healthcare services and nutrition under outcome 2: Improved quality of human resources to meet development, research capacity, science, and technology needs, and create value-added production and services. In addition, it also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals. SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture; SDG 3: To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; and SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. which we organized the following activities:
1. Capacity building for target groups
Create a model family/main family to be able to pass on to others in the form of peer-to-peer learning;
Build the capacity of village volunteers to change the behavior of families with pregnant women and children 1000 days old and under 5 years old;
Build capacity for the village authority, village development board in administrative management, follow up and support the target groups to create sustainability;
Build capacity for activity groups to share learning;
Educational perspective on administrative management and related technical aspects between villages, districts, provinces, and other provinces.
2. Promote good nutrition
Promote the community to access nutrition with a focus on pregnant women and children 1000 days and children under 5 years old;
Disregard gender roles in nutrition work;
Encourage pregnant women to go to the hospital and get vaccines;
Provide nutrition knowledge to the target groups;
Supporting mobile clinic work;
Promote animal husbandry to strengthen food for nutrition;
Demonstration of food preparation according to hygiene standards.
3. Promote good health
Promote Community lead in hygiene in each target village of the project;
Support water (Borehole, community tap water…) and water filter, toilet, etc.
2. To promote nutrition and sanitation for good health for all in communities
3. To protect the environment and natural resources in green and sustainable ways
People in rural areas continue to rely on agricultural production and forest resources as a source of food and to survive. As a result, natural resources, particularly forest products, are diminishing. Therefore, this goal aims to contribute to promoting community participation in the sustainable management and use of natural resources, to contribute to risk reduction and post-disaster recovery, to contribute to the implementation of green growth strategies, and to solve climate change problems, ARMI has implemented some projects, including:
This goal contributes to the ninth 5-year National Social-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP-9) (2021-2025) as follows: The first focus is on the management and sustainable use of natural resources, second is on green growth and addressing climate change; and the third is to intensify disaster prevention, management, and recovery efforts. The three aforementioned outcomes are under the fourth outcome: Environmental protection is enhanced, and disaster risks are reduced. In addition, it is a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and SDG 15: Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems; sustainably manage forests, combat desertification; halt and reverse land degradation; and halt biodiversity loss. which we organized the following activities:
1. Sustainable natural resources use and management:
Build capacity for village authorities, as well as communities in management, protection, and use of natural resources. In particular, the protection of forests, water sources and aquatic animals-wildlife biodiversity through training, guidance in planning the use of land and natural resources, determining the boundaries of conservation forests, village preserves, creating regulations on the management of aquatic-wildlife animals, monitoring, public relations advertising village regulations, to create natural tourism sources in the future;
Educate the community about rights and duties related to land and natural resources;
Provide knowledge about management and sustainable use of forest products;
Educational perspective on administrative management and related technical aspects between villages, districts, provinces, and other provinces;
Campaign to raise awareness about the protection of natural resources, such as National Tree Planting Day, Animal-Wildlife Release Day, World Water Day, disseminating legislation on natural resource conservation, theater performances, stage performances... both in the community and schools;
Rehabilitate the degraded forest by planting supplementary trees, create seedlings by the community as the owner to meet the tree seedlings to promote planting in the school area, village land, watershed forest, etc.
2. Disaster preparedness and post-disaster recovery
Provide information to the village authorities, village development committee, and villagers about disaster preparedness and post-disaster recovery;
Organize knowledge exchange and share lessons between villages, districts and provinces to the village authorities and village development committee.
3. Green growth and solutions to climate change
Encourage stove producers to produce more types of energy-saving stoves as well as reduce the production of general stoves that are high fuel consumption;
Advertising to promote the use of efficient stoves to replace stoves that waste fuel widely;
Develop a new type of fuel-saving stove that is efficient and saves energy better and has many sizes and types as an option for users;
Promote recycling, renewable energy and environmentally friendly things.
4. To promote community participation for the quality of education
Rural communities, particularly those that are distant, continue to experience numerous educational issues. Because education is inaccessible, children and young people living in rural areas still have relatively low rates of attendance, school completion, and reading. Infrastructure issues are still not enough. In 2015, approximately 1,500 primary schools did not complete their grades. Therefore, this goal is to promote the participation of the community in quality education.
This goal contributes to the ninth 5-year national social-economic development plan (NSEDP-9) (2021-2025) as follows: output 2: Improved quality of all levels of education and conditions created for access to education to support readiness for regional and international integration and Industry 4.0, which is the outcome 2: Improved quality of human resources to meet development, research capacity, science, and technology needs, and create value-added production and services. In addition, it is a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”). which we organized the following activities:
1. Improves school facilities
Improve and repair school buildings, desks, boards, filing cabinets, etc.;
Improve school facilities (toilets, sinks, water system, toys, school fence…);
Supporting learning materials and promoting reading;
Supporting learning materials for students with disabilities;
Promotion of reading for students.
2. Promote the creation of green, clean, and beautiful schools
Support hygiene facilities such as water systems, natural water filters, and other necessary hygiene equipment;
Promote the maintenance of a clean environment inside and outside the school;
Training of young students’ social skills (related to the environment, health, gender, cooking skill, agriculture, marketing, saving money, basic knowledge, etc.)
Promote the planting of fruit trees, ornamental trees and kitchen gardens in schools;
Study tour to exchange lessons between schools.
3. Teaching and learning support
Train teachers and promote newly graduated teachers to become community teachers;
Supporting teaching and learning materials for teachers.
Promote capacity building for volunteer teachers of the project;
Promote the knowledge of practicing reading skills, calculation and activities outside of school hours for students on important school days such as International Children's Day, School Sports Day, answering science questions, etc.).
4. Capacity building for the village education development committee
Strengthening the Village Education Development Committee;
Promote the establishment of a committee responsible for the development of education at the village level;
A meeting of the Village Education Development Committee and the parents of students;
Building capacity for the community to improve and repair their school facilities.
5. To promote community development with the participation of PWDs
A significant problem for the development of Laos is the under-participation of individuals with disabilities in their families and communities, which demonstrates that they do not participate equally in family and community activities. In the past, people with disabilities were just behind and did not have access to other areas as well as people without disabilities, such as education, services, and opportunities to help one another and engage in other activities in society. Therefore, this goal is to promote the development of a participatory community of people with disabilities so that they can live in society as equals, have facilities that facilitate comfort, and have income that improves their lives.
This goal contributes to the ninth 5-year National Social-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP-9) (2021-2025) as follows: output 3: Promoting and creating the opportunities for women, youth, children, the disadvantaged, and the disabled to be developed and contribute fully to the development of the social economy; and output 5: Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) clearance progressively accelerated and more lives made safe from UXO. Both outputs are under outcome 3: enhanced well-being of the people. In addition, it is a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries) and SDG 18: Lives safe from UXO. which we organized the following activitie:
1. Capacity building for target groups
Training and providing knowledge on the rights and representation of disabled people to community;
Build capacity for village-level authorities, village development committees, and self-help group, follow up and support the sustainability of target group;
Create a model family to be able to pass it on to others in the form of peer-to-peer;
Building capacity for village veterinarians;
Build capacity for self-help groups to share learning;
Excursion on administrative management and related technical aspects between villages, districts, and other provinces.
2. Promote the creation of sources of food and income
Promote income-generating activities from agricultural production (planting, breeding);
Promote income-generating activities from local skills and knowledge;
Check for unexploded explosives in the risk area before carrying out activities related to farming.
3. Promote access to education and sports for children with disabilities
Promote children with disabilities who are of school age to complete basic education;
Promote various types of sports related to people with disabilities such as: swimming, teach braille, petanque and football;
Training for disabled members of each type to be suitable for sports.
4. Promote woks and accessibility
Improve the infrastructure at the basic level so that people with disabilities can easily access it;
Health promotion, treatment, and referral.