Mr. Nanthaxay Inthasone, The Deputy Head of Khammouane Education and Sports Department, and Mr. Christopher Herink, National Director, World Vision Lao PDR signed on 27 February 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of the BEQUAL NGO Consortium Project in Khammouane Province.
Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) is a ten-year program led by the Government of Lao PDR and Australia, with additional support from the European Union, to help educationally disadvantaged children complete quality basic education. The BEQUAL NGO Consortium (BNC) (comprising Plan International, Save the Children, World Vision and ChildFund) is responsible for implementing activities that support increased access to and participation in primary school. The BNC project aims to ensure that all children, particularly non-Lao speakers, girls and children with disabilities, in 171 disadvantaged schools, enroll in and complete a quality primary education, supported by their parents and communities.
As part of the BNC project, World Vision Laos (WVL) is implementing activities in Nyommalath and Xaybouathong Districts in Khammouane Province until the end of the project in September 2018. A total of 54 target schools have been selected, 32 in Nyommalath and 22 in Xaybouathong with total budget is $1,061,528 USD.
Under this project, WVL will support activities that aim to increase the number of primary aged children enrolling in and participating regularly in primary school, including children with disabilities. WVL uses a partnership approach, working closely with the District Education and Sports Bureau (DESB) in each district, and the Provincial Education and Sports Service (PESS) in Khammouane to plan, to implement and monitor project activities. “World Vision Laos’ participation in this consortium project is an exciting opportunity for all four organisations to work collaboratively and combine our knowledge and experience to really make an impact on primary education participation in Laos.” Said Mr. Chris Herink, National Director of WVL.
A number of different activities will be implemented as part of the BNC project. Activities that focus on improving Lao language acquisition and children’s reading habits include training for teachers of Grade 1 to better support non-Lao speaking students upon school entry, provision of reading books to schools, and reading promotion activities with schools and communities. Increased enrolment and participation in school by all children will be promoted through training for Village Education Development Committees and teachers on inclusive education, and activities for students to increase their awareness of key issues affecting participation. Sanitation and hygiene improvements at primary schools will be addressed through the installation of hand-washing facilities, plus training for teachers and school-level hygiene promotion activities.
On behalf of the BNC, WVL be implementing specific activities which aim to increase the participation of children with disabilities in mainstream primary education. The activities to be implemented include training for teachers on inclusive classroom strategies and community level education to change perceptions of disability and education participation. These activities will be implemented by WVL in Xaybouathong District, with the potential for other BNC member organisations to begin implementation of these activities in other districts at a later stage in the project. “We are very pleased to be able to support these activities focused on inclusion of children with disabilities on behalf of the BNC project, and we look forward to learning and sharing our experiences with the other members and our government counterparts,” said Mr. Chris Herink.