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US funds education about UXO dangers

More than 523,000 children in primary schools across the country are set to benefit from the ‘Comprehensive Mine Risk Education in Laos’ project funded by the United States’ Department of State.

World Education Inc. and the Ministry of Education and Sports yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to officially begin the project.
The project will run through 2019 until the end of 2021 and will integrate mine risk education into the national primary school curriculum.
This means a new set of lessons will be delivered in all 5,820 primary schools across the country. Around 523,619 children will receive education about safe behaviours and the risks associated with unexploded ordnance (UXO).
A total of 220 puppet troupes are to deliver the classes in 88 districts of Xieng Khuang, Luang Prabang, Huaphan, Khammuan, Xekong, Champassak, Savannakhet, Saravan, Attapeu and Borikhamxay provinces.
About 3,800 students in Laos’ eight Teacher Training Colleges will learn how to teach mine risk education in primary schools. The MOU was signed by Director General of the General Education Department, Dr Sisouk Vongvichit and the Country Director of World Education Inc. in Laos, Ms Sarah Bruinooge. The ceremony was witnessed by the United States Ambassador to Laos, Ms Rena Bitter and Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Mr Boualane Siripanya.
Ambassador Bitter said risk education is a critical part of the embassy’s work in the UXO sector.
“The fact that the number of UXO victims has fallen from about 300 a year 10 years ago to 22 in 2018 is a significant indicator of our success working together as a team,” she said.
She added that 22 is still too high a number and that everyone must remain vigilant and focused on achieving Laos’ Sustainable Development Goal of making every life safe from UXO by 2030. World Education Inc. has been a key player in the mine risk education sector in Laos since 1996.  It works alongside the Ministry of Education and Sports to ensure at-risk primary school students receive an effective education by training teachers to deliver creative and engaging classes using puppetry.
The mission of World Education Inc. is to use a participatory and multi-disciplinary approach to engage and empower communities, families, and individuals through programmes in education, health, mine action, and economic development.
Its programmes are designed to build capacity, promote self-sufficiency, and increase the inclusion of all persons in Laos.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update February 7, 2019)

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