Metalworkers in Ban Naphia, Xieng Khouang province produce about 150,000 spoons a year – made almost entirely from war scrap. The spoons are sold for around ten US cents each.
More on scrap metal collecting
The RISE project (a collaboration between Helvetas, Sunlabob and the Lao Government) is now working with the village to produce aluminum souvenirs such as bracelets, which will be sold to tourists in order to generate extra income for the village.
One challenge facing the project is ensuring the safety of the aluminium supply chain, as collecting scrap metal collection is a major cause of unexploded ordnance (UXO) accidents. MAG was asked to provide Risk Education as part of the project, having gained relevant experience through a recent project related to the scrap metal trade.
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Xieng Khouang province
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MAG Community Liaison staff have worked with both the spoon casters and the scrap metal dealers who supply the metal, teaching them to reduce the risks they face. Several people from Ban Naphia have been injured by UXO over recent years.
Some of those MAG has worked with have been trained as peer educators, so that they can spread the safety messages to others.
Sources of the aluminum used to make the spoons include the stabilisation fins of cluster bomb casings, flares, certain fuses and parts of fighter jets.
[Top: One of the 150,000 spoons that are produced in Ban Naphia each year. Photo by: MAG Lao]
Photo gallery: High-impact clearance in Lao PDR
Two billion kg of bombs were dropped on Lao PDR between 1964 and 1973. This reportage by Sean Sutton from late 2009 documents the continuing impact of the heaviest aerial bombardment in history. Click here for MAG photo gallery
MAG would like to express its thanks to the following donors to its Lao PDR operations: AusAID; DFID; European Commission; Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement; World Vision. Click on Tags below for related articles.
24 February 2010