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Working with NGOs to improve education in Laos

Tetra Tech International Development is an implementing partner for governments and aid donors, managing programs that help lift people out of poverty to improve economic and political security, often working with NGOs to support them to deliver great work. We know that when development actors can work together in partnership, communities experience meaningful and sustainable change, informed by both government and non-government organisations with on-the-ground, context-specific experience.

This NGO Day we are highlighting our Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR (BEQUAL) program, funded by the Australian Government and the European Union, which works with NGOs to improve education outcomes for disadvantaged children, particularly girls.

A significant component of the BEQUAL program, the BEQUAL NGO Consortium (BNC) supports District Education and Sports Bureaus and Village Education Development Committees to promote and achieve participation and access to quality basic education.

Tetra Tech understands the importance of a partnership approach and acknowledges the valuable cultural insights local NGOs bring to development, and we work to facilitate knowledge and skills sharing wherever possible. We are proud to be bringing together expertise from different channels of development, to tackle unique and complex education challenges in Laos.

The BNC delivers activities that ensure all children, particularly non-Lao speakers, girls and children with disabilities, in target schools in remote and rural locations, enrol in and complete a quality primary education, supported by their parents and communities.

The BNC consists of Plan International, World Vision, Save the Children and ChildFund Laos, whose activities increase participation of disadvantaged children in basic education. They operate in six districts in four provinces, Houaphan, Khammouane, Oudomxay and Luang Prabang, targeting 171 primary schools and reaching 19,000 children.

Their priorities are to ensure non-Lao speaking ethnic teachers are taught Lao, inclusion and non-discrimination, hygiene awareness and have a supportive home and community environment for education. To achieve this they implement a wide range of activities, including but not limited to providing gender-sensitive reading materials to 171 schools, establishing book banks and learning corners, a ‘reading buddies’ program, and a Lao language and school readiness course as informed by new curriculum.

To support inclusion and hygiene awareness the BNC has piloted an inclusive participation model in 22 schools for children with disability to enrol and attend school, and handwashing stations and hygiene awareness training in 171 schools.

Recently the BNC collaborated with the Lao Government and communities to provide small grants of up to 4,000,000 KIP (621 AUD) in 171 remote villages to help more children attend school and achieve a quality education. You can watch a video about this on BEQUAL’s YouTube channel.

Tetra Tech is proud to manage the Basic Education Quality and Access in Lao PDR on behalf of the Australian Government, working with NGOs to improve the lives of children in disadvantaged parts of Laos, particularly girls and children with disability. To read more about the fantastic work of the BNC visit the BEQUAL website.

NEIL TRIVETT

Pacific Regional Manager

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