04 April 2017 – Thakek, Lao PDR – The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) of Lao PDR has organised a learning exchange between six Provincial Education and Sports Bureaus implementing the Fit for School Programme. Fit for School focuses on daily handwashing with soap, daily tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste and bi-annual deworming. The learning exchange took place in Thakek city, Khammouane Province from 3 to 4 April 2017. 60 participants in the exchange came from the provinces of Khammouane, Bolikhamxay, Bokeo, Champasak, Vientiane Capital and Oudomxay. From Cambodia, a delegation of the Kampot Provincial Office of Education participated in the exchange, as the focus scale-up province of Fit for School in Cambodia.
Mr. Somsanith, the director of the Provincial Department of Education and Sports of Oudomxay province, emphasized to include the implementation of the program in the provincial strategic plans saying: “it will then be followed up with regular monitoring and provides a system of accountability for both the province and the districts – this is the way to align initiatives and support and ultimately reach the SDGs.”
The exchange focused on experiences and challenges in implementing Fit for School. Health status and school performance are closely related. The discussions therefore revolved around the question how to effectively manage the limited resources in the education sector in order to establish routines in hygiene that lead to behaviour change in the children. Group activities are a way to address logistical challenges like short break times.
The Regional Fit for School Programme is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, as part of the German Development Cooperation and in collaboration with Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation´s Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH) in the Philippines, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Indonesia. The programme has been supporting the MoES of Lao PDR since December 2011. In Lao PDR, the programme has started out in 22 public primary schools in Vientiane Capital. Up until today, this number has increased to over 400 schools nationwide, benefitting over 42,000 children in Lao PDR. Fit for school model schools have been established in all provinces of Lao PDR and serve as good practice examples for other primary schools in their district and province.
(This event has been featured on Vientiane Times)