Mr. Nanthaxay Inthasone, Deputy Head of Khammouane Education and Sports Department, and Mr Keo Chanthalangsy, Public Engagement Team Leader of World Vision Lao PDR chaired a meeting to transition the BEQUAL NGO Consortium (BNC) project in Ngommalath and Xaybouathong Districts in Khammouane Province. The project is part of the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL), which is a ten-year program led by the Lao Government with support from the Australian Government and the European Union to help educationally disadvantaged children complete quality basic education. The BNC project (comprising Plan International, Save the Children, World Vision and ChildFund) is responsible for implementing activities that support increased access to and participation in primary schools. The project aims to ensure that all children, particularly children who cannot read and speak Lao language, girls and children with disabilities in 171 disadvantaged schools enroll in and complete quality primary education with support from 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. With strong support from key government partners, the project was completed as planned and contributed to increase access of children in both districts to quality primary education. Achievements include 89 Grade 1 teachers (44 female) trained on Lao language teaching to Grade 1 ethnic students, with 1,425 Grade 1 students (655 girls) in 54 schools benefitting; Training of 144 volunteers (48 women) on how to organize fun reading groups, including songs, games to practice reading skills and constructive free reading time.
2,471 children (1,300 girls) participated regularly in weekly reading groups, and many children borrowed books to read at home, reflecting an increased interest in reading; provision of book-banks to communities and schools with a total of 10,487 books distributed. 54 Village Education Development Committees (VEDC) were trained on small grant management and prior to receiving US$26,366 for small projects to enhance reading in their schools; 62 hand washing stations were installed in 54 schools to promote hygiene practices among students in school. The children shared their new-found hygiene practices at home also.
In Xaybouathong district, the BNC worked with partners such as the Provincial Education and Sport Service, District Education and Sports Bureau, Catholic Relief Services, Humanity and Inclusion and the Lao Disabled Peoples Association to pilot Inclusive Education for children with disabilities. 71 teachers (22 female) were trained on inclusive education, including teaching methods and aids to help children with disabilities; community awareness raising on Disability Rights and Equality was provided to 229 people (59 female) and each village and school were then able to identify children with disabilities to be targeted for additional support. 81 children (39 girls) were identified, with 41 children (20 girls) under age 11. Medical screening services were provided for 45 children (23 girls). 15 children (8 girls) of primary school age were diagnosed as having a disability, of whom 10 were attending school (7 girls) and 5 were not in school (1 girl). Assistive devices such as glasses, hearing aids, standing frames, white canes or bicycles were provided for 13 children, and 1 girl was referred to the provincial hospital for surgery.
“World Vision International Lao PDR (WVL), on behalf of the BNC, is extremely proud to have partnered with the PESS as part of the BNC to implement this project in Ngommalath and Xaybouathong districts, Khammouane Province. This is one of many projects that WVL worked with government partners and other NGOs and CSOs to contribute to Laos PDRs development plan, in this case in the education sector. On behalf of the BNC Consortium, WVL expresses its great appreciation to government partners at all levels who strongly supported the implementation of this project, and were instrumental in achieving the progress to date. WVL is ready to exchange lessons learnt, sharing of resources and experience with other partners. Although, this project is about to end, WVL will continue work to support development objectives in Khammouane province and throughout Lao PDR” Said Mr Keo Chanthalangsy.