ABOUT LEGACIES OF WAR AND THE UXO ISSUE IN LAOS
WHO WE ARE
Legacies of War is the leading U.S.-based educational and advocacy organization working to address the impact of conflict in Laos during the Vietnam War-era, including removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO). We raise awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing of Laos, provide space for healing the wounds of war, and create greater hope for a future of peace.
We are not a direct service or aid organization, nor do we have local offices in Laos. From Washington, DC, we engage and establish relationships with governments, civil society and individuals, especially from the Lao diaspora, to raise awareness and increase financial support for clearance of UXO in Laos. We work directly with key decision-makers in the U.S. government – including Congress and the Administration – and with the private sector and media outlets to provide these influential groups with compelling information and analysis. We serve as a convener and organizer of partner organizations and individuals seeking to resolve the UXO problem in Laos.
Our work has led to six-fold increase of U.S. funding for UXO clearance and victim assistance in Laos, from $3M in 2008 to $19.5M in 2016. In bringing greater attention and increasing resources, we’ve helped to make a real impact on the ground in Laos: more land being cleared, lives being saved and additional care and services available for the approximately 12,000 UXO victims living in Laos.
WHAT IS THE UXO PROBLEM IN LAOS?
Laos is the most heavily bombed country, per capita, in history. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. flew 580,000 bombing missions over Laos, the equivalent of one bombing mission every eight minutes, round the clock for nine years (1964-1973). The Lao Government and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), have determined that UXO contaminate 41 out of the 46 poorest districts in Laos and remains an obstacle for carrying out its national development plans. The threat of deadly unexploded ordnance limits Laotian people’s ability to cultivate enough land for food and to maintain secure livelihoods, exacerbating the nation’s extreme poverty.
WHY IT MATTERS TODAY
The UXO problem in Laos has persisted far too long. Too many innocent lives have been lost. Too many farmers and children have been left disabled, their lives forever changed. But it is not too late to stop this senseless suffering. We’ve already proven positive change is possible.
Legacies of War has helped to increase the amount of U.S. funding for Laos more than six-fold. Funding is essential to financing programs on-the- ground that clear bombs, support victims and educate a new generation about the dangers of UXO. Since we started our targeting awareness-raising work on Capitol Hill in 2008, annual funding for UXO programs in Laos has tripled from $3 million to $9 million in 2012. For fiscal year 2016, the U.S. has earmarked $19.5 million in such support. The increase has led to more land being available for cultivation and economic development, and casualty rates have dropped from more than 300 to less than 100 a year. Legacies of War has shifted the dialogue on solving the UXO problem from “impossible” to “possible”: Legacies has helped to create political space for prioritizing the UXO issue as essential to addressing Laos’ development goals. Legacies of War has educated thousands of people around the U.S. and put this issue on the radar of policymakers: We organized hundreds of awareness- raising programs throughout the U.S. about UXO in Laos and mobilized people to take action.
Legacies of War recommends that the U.S. provide $25 million over 10 years for a total of $250 million in support to the UXO sector in Laos.This sustained funding will maximize the gains already made and make a significant contribution toward creating a Laos free from the daily danger of lethal ordnance. It will also enable the U.S. to create a new and lasting legacy of peace in the aftermath of the war which ended more than 40 years ago.
Legacies of War is a project of NEO Philanthropy, formerly Public Interest Projects, a New York-based 30-year-old nonprofit. NEO brings together and strengthens the work of philanthropic institutions, nonprofit groups and other public interest organizations sharing a vision of a society that ensures justice, dignity and opportunity for all people. By developing sustainable partnerships among donor, grantees and allied groups, NEO seeks to foster a movement for positive social change resulting in equality, fairness and a stronger participatory democracy.
LEGACIES ANNUAL BUDGET
Our current budget is $250K. With this basic budget we have helped increase U.S. funding for the UXO sector in Laos to $19.5M in FY16. Nearly 100% of these government funds goes to direct service organizations working in Laos, such as MAG, HALO Trust, World Education, COPE and Handicap International. Legacies of War depends on private donations. Key donors are: Individuals, Open Society Foundation, and the Samuel Rubin Foundation.
Former Secretary of State Clinton meets with Phongsavath Souliyalat, an UXO survivor during her visit to Laos. (Photo Credit: AP)
"I hope others in the international community will join us in our efforts to bring this legacy of the Vietnam War era to a safe end and give the people, particularly the children of this nation the opportunity to live their lives safe from these unexploded bombs."
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State (2012)
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Legacies of War
1312 9th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Visit us at www.legaciesofwar.org