Fast facts

Population: 6.4 million
Life expectancy: 65.9 years
Under 5 mortality: 61 deaths for every 1,000 live births
Maternal mortality: 580 per 100,000 live births
HIV prevalence: 0.2%*
Adult literacy rate: 72.7%
Access to improved drinking water: 72% (urban), 51% (rural)**

(Source: International Human Development Indicators; United Nations Development Programme 2010; *HIV and AIDS estimate, UNAIDS, 2009; **Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, WHO/UNICEF, 2008)


CARE in Laos

Laos is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in South East Asia. A 2001 study titled the Participatory Poverty Assessment found that although complex, there is a strong link between ethnicity and poverty, particularly in the upland areas of Laos. In 1993 CARE began a number of long-term programs that provide people with skills and resources so they can move out of poverty.

CARE's focus now is on supporting the people of Laos through interventions in livelihoods, food security, water and sanitation, and community development in remote rural areas; avian influenza and emerging infectious diseases; and support for vulnerable women. Our work in Laos also focuses on unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance (eg landmines), disability service access and disaster managment, such as Typhoon Ketsana in 2009.

Download more information on CARE’s work in Laos 



Stories from CARE's work in Laos 


The first female vet


© Josh Estey/CARE

by Georgie Sacks, CARE Australia's Communications Officer

In her isolated village in Laos’s mountainous and under-developed north, 23-year-old Si has seen a great deal of positive change in the past few years – and wherever possible, she actively helps create it.

‘Before, it was hard to access our village as there was no track. But now there is a road.’ Si was one of the villager’s who helped build the much-needed road through a CARE cash-for-work initiative that gave her the rare opportunity here for paid work. Like the majority of women from poor communities around the world, when given the chance to earn an income she invested it in her family’s future. Read more.


© Josh Estey/CARE


Demining really does change lives


by Georgie Sacks, CARE Australia's Communications Officer

If the mountains of the Sekong Province in south eastern Laos were situated in Australia, you might find homes nestled amongst the grand old trees, farmers making the most of the rich soil, and national park areas filled with nature lovers, bush walkers and camp sites.

If only this vast and fertile land here in Laos could be used so freely. Read more.



© Josh Estey/CARE


Fruit trees help families recover from disaster


by Georgie Sacks, CARE Australia's Communications Officer 

I have travelled from Australia to Laos to visit CARE projects in the north and south of the country. This is my first time to Laos and it is so far living up to expectations – the people are lovely, the food is tasty and the countryside is beautiful.

And many people live in significant poverty. 

Having spent a day in the capital, Vientiane, I was close to melting in the 40 degree heat! Laos’ hottest and driest time of the year is close to its end and I can vouch for it being hot. 
Read more.


Help her lead

Marginalised women working in the garment industry or sex work in Laos are at risk of finding themselves in violent situations with little knowledge of their rights, and limited access to legal help. A UNHCR survey in 2007 found that Lao girls were particularly vulnerable to exploitative conditions including prostitution, forced labor, and domestic servitude.

CARE is working to help vulnerable women identify their legal concerns, better understand their rights and improve their capacity to take action. Project participants will be able to promote what they have learnt within their communities, encouraging and supporting other women to seek legal assistance. Some 2000 women are expected to benefit from the project.

As well, CARE is working to raise awareness of violence against women, and strengthen responsiveness to such crimes, among key duty bearers such as service providers and law enforcement officers. We will also help key government officials understand the risks faced by marginalised women, and ensure there is an ongoing commitment to progressing their legal rights and protection. In addition, formal and informal protection to support vulnerable women will be improved.

Learn more about CARE’s work with women and girls


‘Water is now not an issue for us. With the new taps that have been built I don’t have to spend hours each day walking to get water.’

When CARE installed water taps in eighty-three year old One’s village in Laos, the chore of collecting water – sometimes involving up to six trips a day – became just a short walk to the shared tap outside her house.

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