ADRA began implementing small development programs in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) through the ADRA Thailand office based in Bangkok in 1991. In July 1992, ADRA Lao PDR was granted registration as an independent INGO (international non-governmental organization) in Lao PDR1 and, since then, has been implementing development and relief assistance throughout the country to fulfill ADRA’s global purpose to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.
In 1975, Lao PDR was declared a communist country with a one-party political system. All development and relief efforts were coordinated through Memorandum of Understandings with relevant government ministries and agencies with final approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During all project implementation, ADRA Laos must cooperate and partner with government, civil society organizations, and communities to achieve the goals and outcomes agreed by donors and partners.
ADRA Laos started implementing community development projects from 1991-2001 primarily in the WASH areas (water, sanitation, hygiene, and health promotion), education, and income generating, and provided relief support for flood disasters in Phongsali Province (1994), Vientiane City (1995), Champasak Province (1996), Atttapeu, and Champasak (1997).
From 1997-2011, ADRA Laos was also a prominent partner (and the only INGO) supporting tobacco control initiatives in Laos. This included supporting the development and implementation of the National Tobacco Control law, policies, and strategic plan, supporting a nation-wide survey on tobacco use, conducting anti-smoking awareness raising campaigns in communities and schools, and advocating for the 2009 South East Asia Games to be smoke-free.
Over the decade from 2002-2011, ADRA Laos strengthened their primary health care portfolio in WASH and the construction of education facilities and implemented agriculture and food security projects, and established livestock revolving loans and mulberry plantations to produce silk for income generation.
During the period 2012-2021, ADRA Laos continued to implement agriculture and food security projects and expanded their primary health care focus to include nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programming focusing on mothers and children under five years of age and renovation of health care facilities. Other development initiatives included adult literacy, gender awareness, and a climate change adaptation project between ADRA Laos and ADRA Vietnam (2013-2014). ADRA Laos also responded to the Attapeu Province flooding caused by a dam collapse in 2018 and partnered with government partners to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Xiengkhouang Province in 2020.
Partners and Donors
ADRA supporting offices: Australia, Canada, Germany, International, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, UK.
International donors: AusAID, Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Deseret International Charities, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, HELP International, JICA, KOICA, Loma Linda University, World Food Program.
Local donors and partners: Government agencies, the Australian Embassy in Lao PDR, the Lao Disabled People’s Association, Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Development Association.
Role and Place in Lao PDR
ADRA Laos is governed under statutes and bylaws, and business and property is managed by the Board of Directors, which includes the president of the Southern Asia Union Mission (SAUM) as board chair, SAUM treasurer, Lao Attached Region (LAR) president, secretary and treasurer, and the ADRA country director. At times, Lao Adventist lay persons have also served as board members. The Administrative Committee is the organizational body that handles day-to-day operations and consists of the country director, finance officer, and program officer who are all based at the Vientiane Capital office.
While ADRA Laos has had a footprint in all 17 provinces of Laos, ADRA has served the longest time in Luang Namtha Province (18 years), followed by Xiengkhouang Province (since 2007). As of 2021, ADRA Laos has secured and implemented 122 projects with budgets in excess of $18 million USD dollars.2
In May 2016, a highlight of ADRA Laos’s 25 years anniversary celebrations was a visit from the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Ted Wilson and his wife, Nancy, who both expressed gratitude for ADRA’s work in Laos and encouraged the team to continue the work set before them.
Location: Head office: House 301, Unit 17 Ban Saphangmore, Xaysetha District, Vientiane Capital, Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Mailing address is PO Box 5000, Vientiane Capital. Telephone: +856 21 264 611. The office is approximately two kilometers from LAR headquarters. Field Office: Phoukoud District, Xiengkhouang Province.
Dennis Tidwell (1991-1993); Todd Bruce (1994-1997); Brendon Irvine (1997-2005); Denison Reis Grellman (2006); Grant Hillier (2007-2011); Scott Rawson (Acting 2011-2013); Haroldo Eloy Cairo (2013-2014); Dennis Tidwell (Interim 2014); Luc Sabot (2014-2017); Gillian Grolimund (2017-).3
ADRA Lao PDR 25 Years Historical Review 1991-2016 by Luc Sabot. ADRA Lao PDR office, Xaysetha District, Vientiane Capital, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
ADRA Lao PDR 30 Years Historical Review Projects List updated by Gill Grolimund. ADRA Lao PDR office, Xaysetha District, Vientiane Capital, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
ADRA Laos Annual Report 2014. ADRA Lao PDR office, Xaysetha District, Vientiane Capital, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Government of Lao, Ministry of Foreign Affairs registration of ADRA Lao PDR as registered INGO number AE.OI.3. ADRA Lao PDR office, Xaysetha District, Vientiane Capital, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Various years. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.
Government of Lao, Ministry of Foreign Affairs registration of ADRA Lao PDR as registered INGO number AE.OI.3, ADRA Lao PDR office, Xaysetha District, Vientiane Capital, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.↩
ADRA Lao PDR 30 Years Historical Review Projects List updated by Gill Grolimund, ADRA Lao PDR office, Xaysetha District, Vientiane Capital, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.↩