Sivilay Duangdala works for Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as the site manager of the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area (NEP-NPA) in north-eastern Laos. Sivilay began work at NEPL as an accountant in 2008. From accounting Sivilay moved on to a position as Eco-tourism Project Officer guiding tours in the forests and engaging local communities to develop and manage eco-tourism programs. Sivilay’s responsibilities gradually expanded eventually leading to his current position as Site Manager.
As site manager Sivilay supervises WCS’ involvement in all conservation programs and aspects of work at NEPL. These include office administration, human resource management, participatory land use planning, livelihood development (including eco-tourism), law enforcement, community outreach, and biodiversity monitoring. Most crucially Sivilay serves as an on-site liaison between WCS and local government counterparts.
Sivilay believes that conservation is the most challenging work in Laos as it is viewed by many to be a block to development. However, Sivilay views conservation as vital in the development of Laos as it safeguards nutrition, clean air and water, and other natural resources for Laos’ poorest communities. Sivilay believes that livelihood activities such as eco-tourism which connect conservation to incomes help motivate local people to conserve their natural resources ultimately for their own well-being.