Skilled facilitation opens new pathways
During the CDAIS participatory capacity needs assessment in December 2016, members were very happy that “CDAIS facilitators made sure everyone at our meeting got a chance to express their ideas,”
as one member said. A particularly sensitive issue emerged around a livestock loan agreement initiated by a former high-ranking government official and a large Lao company. The company provides Brahman-Thai cross-bred cows to farmers who then pay back in-kind with calves. “Usually in three years we can give back to the company two calves and then the cow is ours,” said Somsavang, a member of the group’s Board and owner of ten cross-breed cows. “But they require a lot more care then our native Lao cattle and need special feeding. Also, the company was not collecting their calves when they said they would and we had to continue to feed and care for them.”
In the CDAIS needs assessment dialogue, some members wanted to raise their concerns with the company, but some of the government actors were reluctant to do this because of perceived ‘political sensitivities’. “At first, the company representative was defensive, but thanks to CDAIS facilitators we were able to have a good discussion about the problems and could agree on a solution,” said Bounkong Chandala, Deputy Chair of the group’s Board. The company then confirmed it would collect its calves according to the agreed schedule and take back cows from farmers who were struggling to provide the required feed and level of care. “CDAIS showed how we can talk about sensitive issues and find a solution that meets everyone’s needs,” said Souvath Ketsatha, the newly elected Board Chair. CDAIS showed how we can talk about sensitive issues and find a solution that meets everyone’s needs. Souvath Ketsatha Chair of the Ban Keun cattle-production management board.