German Cooperation hands over COVID-19 prevention materials before Global Handwashing Day 2021 at the Ministry of Education and Sports
Vientiane, 14 October 2021 – Increasing awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized this more than ever before. On the occasion of the Global Handwashing Day 2021, Her Excellency Dr. Sisouk Vongvichith, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education and Sports, welcomed representatives of German Cooperation in Lao PDR for a handover ceremony of facemasks for students and teachers, hand-sanitizer and thermometers. In preparation of the planned re-opening of pre-schools, the materials will support the Department of Early Childhood Education to send the materials specifically to remote pre-schools in need of personal protective equipment.
Nicole Stechmann, First Secretary of the German Embassy in Lao PDR, and Alexander Winkscha, Regional Coordinator for Cambodia and Lao PDR of the regional Fit for School program of GIZ, handed over the materials on behalf of German Cooperation. The German government through the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development has pledged to support partner countries in their response to and the prevention of COVID-19. Special funds were made available through the existing Fit for School program, implemented by the Ministry, the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and SEAMEO INNOTECH as a joint regional program.
The Fit for School program focuses on measures that are simple, scalable, sustainable, and integrated into the education system. The program supports children in acquiring healthy habits and promoting sustainable behavior change through the implementation of daily routines, such as daily group handwashing with soap.
In Lao PDR, the Ministry of Education and Sports is implementing the Fit for School program since 2011 and the driving force behind the successful scaling up of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools across the country. With the creation of the Department of Early Childhood Education in 2017, the Ministry has adapted the Fit for School approach for implementation in kindergartens and pre-schools and is promoting WASH as a central part of their school health strategy.