MMG Lane Xang Mineral Limited (MMG LXML Sepon) in partnership with the Australian Government through its embassy in Vientiane provided US$35,302 (289,476,800 LAK) to the construction of the Meeting Hall and Village office in Boungkham Village, Vilabouly District, Savannkhet Province.
Fifty percent of the total funds were provided by the Australian Government through the Direct Aid Program (DAP), the remaining funds provided by MMG LXML Sepon through Sepon’s Trust Fund program.
“I’m delighted to have the chance to formally hand over this new meeting hall, a space for locals to come together to make collective decisions about village development and the future of the 750 local families,” said John Williams, Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR.
“Australia understands women’s voices in local decision making are as important as those of men, and the value of bringing women from different ethnic groups together to share decision making and ensure access for all to basic social services.” He added
Mr Viboon Sithimolada, MMG LXML Sepon’s Corporate and Community Affairs Manager also shared an inspiring message about the significance of the role of women. “At MMG we know a woman’s knowledge and views are critical to achieving positive outcomes for the community” he said.
“It is important that that mechanisms and facilities are in place to ensure local women in the community can share experience about impacts and benefits from the mine,” he added.
This support will enhance the voice of local women in the community and allow them to participate in activities that affect their lives. The village office will host more than 3,600 people from over 750 families in Bounkham village, coordinate programs run by the Lao Women’s Union, Lao Youth Union, and other development partners.
The site will also assist projects supported by LXML such as MMG and UNICEF’s ‘1000 Day Project’.
This partnership between LXML and the Australian Government will ensure that those women who work in the field during the day can safely attend meetings at the end of the day and participate in training and build skills that will benefit them.
Photo: (from left) Ms Bounlap Thammachak - President Lao Women Union for Vilabouly District, Mr Viboon Sithimolada - MMG LXML Sepon’s Corporate and Community Affairs Manager, Mr John William - Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR and Mr Mountha Sayalith - Deputy Vilabouly District Governor participated in the official opening ceremony of the meeting hall.