Participants of the SDC Face-to-Face Workshop "Reaching the Millions", held in March 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam, have agreed to establish the Mekong Extension Learning Alliance, or MELA. The name MELA is very appropriate for this network, being a Sanskirt word meaning ‘a gathering’ or ‘large meeting’.
The Mekong River passes through five countries in South East Asia: Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Agricultural extension and rural advisory services in this Region have many features in common. Investment, trade, expertise and labour are flowing from one country to another, while social and environmental impacts are also crossing national boundaries. Representatives from Laos have agreed to convene the first meeting of MELA in August this year with support from the LURAS project . Meanwhile, the representatives from Vietnam agreed to create a Facebook Page as a channel of communication . Those from Cambodia and Myanmar will act as focal points for their countries, and invitations will also be sent to relevant organisations in Thailand, which were not represented at the workshop in Hanoi.