"In remote Houay Ngou village, northern Lao, 48 year old Keupkku is settling down to the evening news on his new color Television. At the other side of the room two of his daughters turn on the lights to continue their studies. Just a month ago this would not have been possible. But a newly installed 7.5kW hydro power turbine now supplies electricity to the Hmong ethnic community of 290 people.
"Thanks to the electricity from the micro hydro power, my daughters can now enjoy studying late at night," said Keupkku. These benefits are a result of the villager's initiative in proposing the construction of the micro hydro power system to the Sayaboury Provincial authorities. After securing funding from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the villagers voluntarily participated in constructing the small water catchment area, installing the pipes and transporting the building materials.
According to Bruno Cammaert, head of the UNDP Environment Programme in Lao PDR, the villagers are responsible for, "helping themselves to organize and complete the project." "Everyone is responsible for not cutting down or burning the trees, so that we generate enough electricity for everyone and for generations to come," said Somvang Lee, 46, the head of the village. He is proud of what has been achieved and believes that the training for villagers, in terms of project management and technical capacity building, has also significantly contributed to the success of the hydro power system."