The Australian Government and UNICEF help over 22,000 flood-affected children continue their education

27 February 2020
Textbook handover
UNICEF Laos/2020/SSanoubane

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 25 February 2020 – The Australian Government and UNICEF have provided 100,606 re-printed textbooks and teacher guides to 581 flood-affected schools in Lao PDR.

The Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR, H.E Mr Jean-Bernard Carrasco and UNICEF Representative, Dr Octavian Bivol officially handed the textbooks and teacher guides over to H.E Mme. Khantahly Siriphongphanh, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education and Sports. The textbooks, which cover mathematics, science and Lao language, are expected to reach up to 22,250 students and 1,700 teachers at pre-primary, primary and lower secondary schools in six provinces.

The provision of essential educational materials is part of the Australian Government’s AUD  250,000 (about 1.5 billion KIP) support to the Government of Lao PDR to assist with the impact of flooding in the country. In September 2019, severe flooding hit the provinces of Attapeu, Champasak, Khammouan, Saravane, Savannakhet and Sekong provinces. To support recovery efforts, the Australian Government funding was granted to UNICEF to focus on education and nutrition.

According to the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, about 765,000 people in 44 districts across these provinces were affected last year, with almost 195,000 displaced. The floods damaged properties, farmlands and infrastructure including homes, schools, hospitals and health centres. According to a rapid assessment, 747 schools were affected by the floods, one third of which were in Savannakhet Province.

“Australia is proud to have contributed to the Ministry of Education and Sports’ recovery efforts to the flooding last year. These teaching and learning materials are essential to ensure continuity of the learning of the students in the affected schools. To ensure quality education, more budget allocation to the education sector is required to ensure schools have sufficient teaching and learning materials and teacher support” said Ambassador Carrasco. “This partnership with UNICEF builds on a previous humanitarian partnership to the 2018 Attapeu dam collapse which also focused on education and nutrition.”.

“We welcome this grant from the Australian Government, thanks to which, UNICEF is able to support up to 22,250 children in Lao PDR to continue learning, despite the damaging impact of the September 2019 floods,” said UNICEF Representative Dr. Octavian Bivol.

In addition to support to schools, funding from the Australian Government is also being used to support health screening and treatment of children in health centres, and district and provincial hospitals, paying special attention to the most affected districts.

UNICEF is continuing to support the Ministry of Education and Sports in the area of emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction within the education sector, to help mitigate the impact of reoccurring floods, given that Lao PDR is particularly prone to the impacts of climate change. 

The support from Australia contributes to UNICEF’s regular programming on education; health and nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene and child protection and will contribute to strengthen emergency preparedness.

Media Contacts

Kate Rose

UNICEF Lao PDR

Tabongphet Phouthavong

Communication Specialist

UNICEF Lao PDR

Tel: +856 21 315200 Ext. 123

Tel: +856 20 96888890

Khounkham Douangphachone

Australian Embassy

Tel: +856 21 353 800

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