Mr. Khamphiang Keolangsy, Director of VTVS, emphasised the importance of this initiative: “The essence of this training initiative is my aspiration to make sure no wood waste is abandoned. These small operators should maximise their profits from the waste, which makes them gain more value than using natural wood. As an educational institute, we need to build this fundamental awareness on systematic wood waste management.”
Training sessions on wood waste upcycling were followed by direct coaching to women business owners in their production facilities to provide suggestions for better waste management and product ideas. In addition, EFI helped the businesses to create a market for their waste wood products by linking them to souvenir shops and encouraging them to participate in trade fairs.
Ms. Souksamai, the leader of a wood processing factory who participated in the training, highlighted that: “The technical training on wood waste processing and innovative design of furniture made from the wood waste is remarkably interesting for me to think about other ways to create new products. Upcycling products made of wood waste presents business opportunities for women in wood processing enterprises. Particularly in the future when raw wood is no longer abundant, the collection and management of wood waste will play a more vital role in our business operation.”
In March 2023, women business owners presented and promoted their products at the commemorative event for Lao National and International Women’s Day organised by the Provincial Lao Women’s Union. All wood waste products were sold at the fair. In June 2023, more products were produced and sold at a fair organised by the Attapeu Provincial Industry and Commerce Office (PICO) and the Provincial Cultural and Tourism Office. This shows that wood waste products have a market and MSMEs in Attapeu are ready for it!