From the field: training with Hmong communities

Since 2008 Abundant Water has reached more than 160 communities across Laos, including some of the country’s most rural and isolated areas. Through its work, Abundant Water has engaged with diverse groups including the Hmong people of Laos. The Hmong are a distinct ethnic group with their own language, culture and religion who live in highland areas of Laos, mostly isolated from main roads, healthcare and other essential services.


Having a team member from the Hmong community, Abundant Water has been able to engage with this group. In April, the team hosted a training session with representatives from five Hmong communities in Saisomboun Province, including village chiefs, vice chiefs, healthcare workers and local Lao Government officials. They spent the day with the Abundant Water team learning about how to make clay water filters, how to install the filters and how to promote the technology within their communities.


Giving the participants the opportunity to hear about the technology in their own language gave them the confidence to engage more in the training and ask more questions. The group showed a lot of interest in the water filters and were keen to be involved in the hands-on training. 


The training was also a great opportunity for Abundant Water’s Hmong team member, Sou Chang, to develop his public speaking and technical training skills. Sou Chang has been working with the team for the past year after graduating from University and with support from the Happold foundation he has been receiving close mentoring and training and has himself become a trainer and advocate for Abundant Water.


Abundant Water will continue to work with rural communities, like the Hmong people in Laos to promote the use of its water filter technology. Working closely with its Lao partner organisation, the Association for Community Training and Development and with funding from the United Nations Development Programme, Abundant Water is committed to eliminating the ongoing threat of water-borne diseases for these communities.