Mr. Ly Lao Lo is a member Red Dao ethnic group and the director of SapaNapro company.
Mr. Ly Lao Lo is a member Red Dao ethnic group and the director of SapaNapro company. He is the son of Mrs. Ly Mei Chay, who is a famous master in the Red Dao community in Ta Phin commune, Sapa district. He is a typical young ethnic man who helps his community protect the herbal plants available in their locality and promote their uses, for example, as traditional bath medicines.
According to Mr. Ly Lao Lo, the Red Dao people have used traditional bathing methods for thousands of years, using leaves, flowers, roots or fruits of plants from the forest to protect their health. This ancestral knowledge has been handed down for generations. The bathing techniques, combining various herbs, have unique effects, such as on the nerves, respiratory system, skin, muscles, bones, and joints.
In 2006, Mr. Ly Lao Lo established the SapaNapro Company, a community enterprise to commercialize traditional bathing medicines of the Red Dao ethnic people. Their main products are bath medicines for women after pregnancy, which are based on the traditional knowledge of the Red Dao ethnic group. The SapaNapro Company is a community-private model for conserving and developing the genetic resources of medicinal plants and associated traditional knowledge on bathing medicine. It engages the Red Dao people themselves in the protection of their resources and traditional knowledge through sharing of accrued company benefits from commercialized products back to the Red Dao communities. These benefits include monetary benefits to the holders of traditional knowledge (“bà mế” in Vietnamese) and the company also pays the collectors of medicinal plants according to the value of the plant species collected. In addition, the company contributes a portion of company profits to the communal development fund for the community’s sociocultural activities. The model contributes both to the improvement of the local community’s livelihood and to biodiversity conservation.
With support from UNDP, under the project Capacity Building for the Ratification and Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) in Viet Nam, the SapaNapro Company and their successful bath medicine represents a positive example of an ABS-like mechanism, where the benefits of all involved stakeholders are taken into account. For this reason, SapaNapro Company and the Red Dao people was chosen as the core of the project’s demonstration activities to produce a new pain-relief product. A proper agreement is planned to be established between the traditional knowledge holders, genetic resource providers and the company.