H.E Ms. Khantaly Siriphongphan, Vice-Minister for Education and Sports, and Ms. Vanessa Hegarty, Acting Deputy Ambassador of Australia, chaired the celebration of the 68th Anniversary of the Lao Women Union Day on 28th July 2023. The celebration took place on the last day of a five-day capacity building training for the new team of ‘Master Gender Trainers’ for MoES Departments.
Ms. Khanthaly said “The Master Gender Trainers in MoES Departments will play a key part in raising awareness on gender equality and inclusive education. The role of this new team will be to organise trainings, seminar and workshops on the promotion of gender equality, prevention and elimination of violence against women and children, within their own department as well as outside the Ministry of Education and Sports.”
Ms. Vanessa Hegarty said “Australia values and prioritises gender equality and inclusive education. We are committed to addressing inequality and inequity throughout the activities supported. Australia is proud to partner with the Ministry of Education and Sports through the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) on the creation and capacity building of this core group of Master Gender Trainers in Education Sector. I look forward to this new team putting their new knowledge into practice and cascading the training they have received from the central to the grassroot level.”
34 participants from 16 departments attended the workshop. The participants were selected by each department and will be the key coordinators responsible for the advancement of women, mothers and children. They are expected to cascade the training to other people within their department and to be able to train others at subnational level as well as outside the Ministry of Education.
The training was designed with a participatory approach. It combined theory and practice. The training was very interactive with many hands-on activities. The participants learned about the concept of lifelong learning, gender equality, gender analysis, law and teaching techniques. On day 3 of the workshop, they started putting their new knowledge into practice by designing a piece of training and delivering it. During a panel discussion on the last day, the participants shared their experience, reflected on their practice and discussed how they will apply what they have learnt during the workshop.
On the last day of the training, 66 primary teachers from Vientiane Province joined the Master Genders Trainers in MoES Departments Team to celebrate Lao Women Union Day. The main message was to highlight the issue of School Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV). Indeed, nearly 1 in 3 women in Laos (30.3 per cent) experience some form of violence (physical, sexual and/or emotional) in their lifetime. Similar rates of violence against children were reported in the National Childhood Violence Survey, which found more than a third of girls and boys are subjected to some form of violence during their childhood. The Division for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children stressed the role of the teachers in preventing SRGBV.
Following this training, the Division of Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children, with support from Australia and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will develop a training handbook for further dissemination.