With support of the Regional Fit for School Program, the Ministry of Education and Sports adapted the Fit for School approach and actively made it their own responsibility to scale it up accordingly. The Ministry in Laos receives comprehensive support through a DFAT and EU funded program to improve the quality education named BEQUAL. The regional Fit for School program is aligned with that and now even part of it. The program formally cooperates with 4 NGOs that support subnational structures, schools and communities as a consortium under BEQUAL: Save the Children, ChildFund, Plan International and World Vision.
As the WASH component of their respective school support in different provinces, Fit for School will now additionally be implemented in more than 150 primary and over 50 pre-schools. This complements the already more than 500 primary schools that implement Fit for School on the initiative of the Ministry of Education. Starting with 22 model schools in Vientiane capital, additional model schools have over time been established in all provinces and now almost all districts. Through these schools, the program improves the hygiene conditions of over 50.000 students across the country. Daily group handwashing with soap and group toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste is how the students get used to daily hygiene routines. Twice a year, they furthermore take in the national deworming program. This way the program addresses those health issues that affect children in Lao PDR most often.
At the end of 2015, the Ministry of Education itself has trained all provincial education offices on the Fit for School approach and planned with them the establishment of model schools in each province. The intensification of scaling-up further followed different routes: In 2016, the Ministry funded the training of all district education bureaus in the provinces of Bolikhamxay and Champasack, more such trainings in 2 provinces in the South of Laos will follow in June 2017. Together with Plan International the regional program funded similar trainings the provinces Oudomxay and Bokeo. The province Khammouane bordering on Thailand in the West and Vietnam in the East funded this training for districts out of their own provincial budget. On their own initiative, two district bureaus in Vientiane capital and the neighboring Bolikhamxay province have used their funds to scale-up implementation of Fit for School to all their primary schools, now starting to expand to all pre-schools and secondary schools.
In addition to the BEQUAL consortium, the program has a strategic cooperation with the World Food Program to complement the WFP School Lunch Program with the Fit for School core activities.
For additional information regarding the Fit for School program please visit the website www.fitforschool.international