The Lao PDR still numbers among the world’s least developed countries. A landlocked, mountainous country, infrastructure remains inadequate and the work force is largely unskilled. A third of the population lives below the poverty line. However, the Lao PDR possesses an abundance of natural resources including minerals, a largely unspoilt tropical forest, and significant hydro-electric power potential.   

While there remains a reliance on the mining and hydropower sectors, service industries such as tourism have grown rapidly in recent years and offer significant income-generation and inclusive growth opportunities for local people. 
Many see the young workforce as holding the potential for a future economic growth. However, this workforce must be supported towards improved health, quality education, and decent employment outcomes if this ‘demographic dividend’ is to be realised.
about laos

Country Facts 

  • Area: 236 800 km²
  • Population: 7 million
  • Capital: Vientiane

Swisscontact in Laos

  • since 2013


Initial vocational education and training
Vocational Training and Employment Support Services in Laos
VTESS will be an important vehicle to support the build-up and strengthening of an inclusive vocational education and training system in Laos. The focus will be on the strengthening of the Integrated Vocational and Education Training (IVET) pathway in order to facilitate the school to work transition of early school leavers, to provide them with...
Sustainable tourism, Initial vocational education and training
Pheun Than Heng A Sip Training Programme
The tourism and hospitality sector in Lao PDR has expanded rapidly in recent years and the trend is set to continue. Tourism and hospitality services often drive revenues for micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs), particularly in rural areas, which in turn can provide the livelihood for people from poor backgrounds. However, often...
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam
Agroecology and Safe Food System Transitions in Southeast Asia (ASSET)
The Agroecology and Safe food System Transitions (ASSET) project is a regional project funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Union (EU), and the Fond Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) over five years from 2020 to 2025 in four targeted countries: Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The overall objective is to harness the potential of agroecology to transform food and agricultural systems into more sustainable systems, notably safer, more equitable and inclusive, in the Southeast Asia region. Coordinated by GRET in a strong articulation with CIRAD, in charge of the scientific coordination, the project will mobilise the expertise of 27 national, European and International partners, from research institutions, universities, NGOs, UN agencies, Ministries of Agriculture of the four countries.
Green cities
Waste to Value
The project will seek to support better waste segregation practices at source, introduce more efficient use of resources in production and consumption, develop a larger network of those engaged in circular economy practices, commercialise innovative green products and services available to the market, and improve public-private partnerships that support environmental responsibility. 
Benin, Bolivia, Cambodia, Kosovo, Laos, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Senior Expert Contact
Promoting entrepreneurship through expertise - Imparting technical skills through volunteer work Through their services, Senior Expert Contact (SEC) experts provide hands-on, direct support to companies and institutions in their efforts to grow.


Initial vocational education and training
Consultation Workshops with Enterprise-Based-Training (EBT)
During the end of December 2021, the project staff of the Employment Support Services (ESS) held consultation workshops with representatives of the enterprise sector in Salavane, Khammouan an Xayabuly.  And during January 2022 similar workshops will also take place in Oudomxay and Xiengkhouang.
Initial vocational education and training
I ​​believe that it is important to have short courses for Animal Husbandry for the disadvantaged.
When you first meet Mr. Khamhoung Keobounhak, you immediately know that he is a dedicated, enthusiastic teacher. Khamhoung is the Head of Animal Husbandry Course at Integrated Vocational Education Training (IVET) School in XiengKhuang Province. Khamhoung has over 16 years of teaching experience. 
Initial vocational education and training
I studied well to apply the skills I have learned to support my family in the future” - Davan
Along with their mutual interest in agriculture, they discovered that had a similar family history. Prior to studying  agriculture, both had only finished the 5th grade. Neither of their families had enough money to support their education, so both had to leave school and help tend to their families’ farms.

When they saw a student recruitment advertisement in their village to join the VTESS training 
programme, they both jumped at the chance. Each was determined to pursue further studies in agriculture as they both have a fondness for this subject.  They felt that it could be beneficial in improving the livelihood of their families as well as an opportunity for each of them to run their own businesses in the future.
Country Director
Michael Fink


Green Cities: Waste to Value seeks to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the service sector to adopt green products and practices and improve their access to better waste management services at the same time providing improved business opportunities for informal waste pickers. The project will develop a larger network of those engaged in circular economy practices, commercialize innovative green products and services available to the market, and improve public-private partnerships that support environmental responsibility.

Skills development:  The Pheun Than Heng A Sip Training Programme supports micro, small and medium enterprises in the hospitality sector to gain access to skills training for their staff and provides people from disadvantaged background with access to opportunities in the labor market through short-term trainings and internships.

The Vocational Training and Employment Support Services project strengthens partners schools in offering the Integrated Vocational and Education Training (IVET) pathway and introduces Employment Support Services (ESS) through an innovative coaching approach. This provides disadvantaged groups with options for productive employment (wage and self-employment) and the opportunity to enroll in further education and training.

The abilities and readiness for action of our employees are decisive for our projects’ ability to achieve sustainable impact, as well as our long-term success. As an attractive employer, Swisscontact invests in a positive management and work culture. This is defined by our fundamental understanding of development intended to serve not only our beneficiaries in project countries but our employees as well.
Swisscontact’s core business is the implementation of projects funded by bilateral, multi-lateral and private sector donors. 
Media Reports
We promote inclusive economic, social and ecological development to make an effective contribution towards sustainable and widespread prosperity in developing and emerging economies. 
Project Publication
To learn more about Swisscontact project work.
Project Resources


Swisscontact in Laos

3rd floor, 108 Hill Building,49 Dongpaina
Ban Saphanthong Neua 
Sisattanak District Vientiane Capital