In December 2013, we shared the story of Mr. Tong Lee and his wife, whose family was the first in the village of Phouhin to receive female pigs and training in improved approaches to pig-raising from World Renew.

The Tong family raised their pigs well and have benefited greatly. They keep about half the pigs they raise for home consumption thus greatly improving their family’s nutrition. They have used their increased income from selling piglets as a starting point for making significant improvements in their quality of life. Over time, Mr. Tong has become an active member in his community, taking on the roles of village veterinarian as well as health volunteer. He even won an award for being the most active health volunteer in a cluster of villages.

But the story of pigs in Phouhin does not end there.

Last month, I had an opportunity to meet again with Mr. Tong Lee and his wife and a number of other villagers and we reflected on the broader community-level impact of pig-raising. Back in 2008, World Renew supported Tong Lee and his family with two female pigs with the promise that, if possible, he would turn around and pass a female piglet on to other families as identified by the Village Development Committee. We called this idea a “pig bank” and during our visit in November, we talked about how that worked over the course of the last 9 years.

A total of 12 families had the opportunity to begin raising pigs, all from the original two pigs that the project provided. And according to the villagers at our meeting, eight of the twelve recipient families are still raising and benefiting from pig raising on a regular basis. These are very encouraging results for a small financial outlay: providing two grown sows and training in pig-raising.

And we have good ideas about how to better those outcomes in the future.

Project staff had provided training and input over the last nine years in the use of a few basic changes to the traditional pig-raising done by villagers here. Recommendations included keeping pigs penned rather than allowing them to freely roam the village and forest; improved feeding; provision of  24/7 water access; and the use of vaccinations.

Progress was made on the first recommendation, but there was limited progress in the other areas, especially the provision of water and the following of a recommended vaccination schedule. So together with project staff we will continue to explore ideas and approaches that can increase the impact of our work. Development is an ongoing process and does not often go according to the original project plans and concepts.


Mike Fennema

Country Consultant
World Renew Laos