BY: Pelah Hoyt, Lands Director, Five Valleys Land Trust
In Vientiane I gave a grant writing workshop to 47 Lao professionals. They came from a variety of backgrounds including school teachers, the national library, and organizations working with people disabled by UXOs (unexploded ordinances from the United States bombing in the 1960s and 70s). I talked about how Five Valleys Land Trust has funded our dream of helping people take care of the land and rivers with grants. Some of the participants shared their dreams of creating a green school, supporting rural students, and improving women’s lives.
I shared my recommendations for successfully funding your dream with grants: 1) Start Small, 2) Build Trusting Relationships with Funders, 3) Tell your Story Well, 4) Follow the Directions!, and 5) Build a Record of Success. Beer Lao (the most popular beer in Laos) and Big Sky Brewing Company (the most popular beer in Montana, and a funder of Five Valleys Land Trust) even made it into the discussion, so I would consider that a success!
The participants were engaged in the workshop and many said they learned a lot. These professionals have so much to offer, and I hope they will be able to take what they learned to raise funds that help meet the needs of Lao people.
It was an honor to speak with these professionals on behalf of YSEALI, the Mansfield Center, and the US State Department.