|Global Association for People and the Environment (GAPE) Project
At our August 21, 2001 meeting we had a visit from Monty Sly and Ian Baird of GAPE and we made a committment to support their work in Laos. What follows is, first, an excerpt from our August 21 newsletter, then an email from our President in response to our enquiry about this project, a response from Ian Baird by email and then their full project proposal.
From Our August 21 newsletter:
Mac introduced Ian Baird and Ian's wife Monsiri Baird. Ian is the President of the Global Association for People and the Environment (GAPE), a non-profit society registered in BC and working on community development projects in Laos where Ian has lived for many years. One of those projects, known as the Remote School Project, has received a commitment of support from our club. President George, flanked by Foundation Chair Jeff presented Ian with a letter of commitment from us. Ian is shown below along with Monty Sly. Ian is also a consultant to CIDA and coordinator for the Laos/Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. Our plan is to see whether CIDA will match our $1,000 to support this project.
August 22, 2001 email from President George:
The plan outlined following our meeting will have our money used to purchase mobile libraries of books in the Lao language.
These boxes of books will be moved from village to village to provide supplemental reading materials for school kids and also for adults.The boxes and books will cost about $ 300 Cdn a set and will bear the message --Gift from the Sunrise Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach,Canada--
GAPE is a society registered under the Society Act of B.C. Canada is about to sign a govt. to govt. aid agreement with Laos and we will be examining the possibility of leveraging our money with CIDA money as there are no Rotary clubs in Laos at present .We are also seeing if we can leverage the money with the new Canadian Rotary granting agency mentioned in the latest edition of the "Rotarian.
GAPE will be sending us updates every three months and we should be able to get a project write up ( and the pictures GAPE will be sending us ) mentioned in the District 5020 Newsletter.This will give other clubs in the northwest area a chance to support GAPE if they so wish.
September 1, 2001 email from Ian Baird:
Here's the project proposal for the whole project. Don't worry about the budget included, as other funders are involved there. Your rotary will be covering the cost of 3 moble libraries.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
And finally, here is their actual proposal:
Project Title: Pathoumphone District Remote Village Primary Education Support Project
Implementing Organisation: Global Association for People and the Environment (GAPE)
A yet undetermined group of remote communities in Pathoumphone District, Champasak Province will be targeted. There are a total of 83 schools and 250 primary school teachers in the district, but only communities that have a sincere interest in receiving project support will be targeted by the project. Only communities in remote areas will receive support. A participatory assessment will be done at the beginning of the project to determine exactly what villages will be targeted. All villages supported will be in Pathoumphone District. It is expected that not more than 20 villages will be targeted.
Contact Persons: Mr. Monty Sly, Project Coordinator (will be responsible for day to day activities of project) Mr. Ian Baird, Chairperson, GAPE (coordination support and environmental education support) Mr. Rick Reece, Salavan GAPE Coordinator
Global Association for People in the Environment (GAPE),
P.O. Box 860,
Pakse, Lao PDR
e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
20-3008 Quadra St.,
Victoria, B.C., Canada
Starting Date of Project: Early 2001
Duration of Project: Three Years
Project Background, Description, Origin and Context:
This project proposal has been partially developed based on the past experiences of the chairman of GAPE, Ian Baird, who has worked on community development, natural resource management, and education support projects in Khong District, Champasak Province since 1991. His experiences in Khong District have indicated the types of activities and support that are likely to have positive results in this part of Laos. Moreover, his experiences in southern Laos have indicated that the education sector is relatively weak in southern Laos, but that there is a great potential for improving the situation, if some external support is provided. Ian Baird will be advising the project and supporting the environmental education part of the project, but Monty Sly will be directly responsible for day to day project activities.
After GAPE decided that the education sector would be the best one to concentrate on, GAPE representatives entered into discussions with the director of the Education Division of the Province. He identified Pathoumphone as a district with special needs and many problems within the education sector. The Education Division also indicated that Pathoumphone is a priority district in terms of education, and that the government has been trying to mobilize resources to address the problem of low school attendance, low quality teaching, a lack of school materials and inadequate school facilities. Only 75.91% of children of primary school age are attending school. That is the second lowest score for any of the 10 districts in Champasak Province, and the provincial average is 85%. It has also been noted that a considerably lower number of girls have been recorded in school registers in the district compared to boys. The promotion of education for girls will be a general priority for the project.
During discussions with the Education Division of Champasak Province, seven activity priority areas were identified, including:
1) Support for providing basic construction materials to renovate and build basic primary schools in remote villages is the first priority. Presently, many schools are in very poor condition, and are close to falling down. Villagers should provide all the wood for construction, as well as labour, and only cement for school floors and zinc roofing for schools roofs will be provided. Support for each school is expected to average about US$ 1,000.
2) Support for providing basic school materials to schools is the second priority. Presently, there are not any books or other learning materials available in primary schools in the district, apart from the most basic texts used as a part of the standard curriculum. Children have few opportunities to read books of interest, and thus few become very enthusiastic about reading. It is expected that mobile libraries, blackboards and some chairs and desks will be provided to communities, depending upon community needs.
3) Support for providing vocational training to 10 individuals in target villages is the third priority. 3 month courses are presently being offered at the Km 15 Non-Formal Education Centre, based outside of Pakse. Carpentry training is one area that has been identified as a priority. It is hoped that trainees could return to their communities and help construct better quality desks and chairs than have been available in the past.
4) Support for pedological trainers working in the district is the fourth priority. There are 3 pedological teachers in the district, who are responsible for ensuring that the quality of teaching meets minimum standards. However, there is no government budget for them to visit schools in remote areas, and as a result, the quality of education in those areas is often low. Supporting transportation costs and other expenses associated with pedological teachers visited remote schools more regularly is likely to help improve the quality of teaching for a low cost.
5) Support for providing grade 1 pedological training for teachers is the fifth priority. In recent years, the Lao government has mandated a new method of teaching in which the students are the centre of learning rather than the teachers being the centre of learning. This progressive policy is worth supporting, but most teachers have not been able to adapt their teaching methods appropriately. Therefore, the province wants teachers to receive additional training, with an emphasis being put on grade 1 teachers.
6) Support for providing students with access to environmentally oriented cartoon books, posters and other materials is the sixth priority. The province emphasized the importance of this area, especially because many of the remote villages in Pathoumphone are situated in areas important for biodiversity conservation. Children especially enjoy materials relating to wildlife and the natural world.
7) Support for local Lao language environmental video production is the seventh priority. The emphasis will be on creating environmentally oriented videos that are easy for young people to relate to. While this will not be a major component of the project in the first year, it may become a more important component in the second and third years of the project.
8) Support for environmental education in the project areas is the eighth priority. The emphasis will be to raise the awareness levels of teachers, students and their parents regarding the importance of sustainable resource management and environmental conservation. Supporting the co-management of natural resources will be an important component of this area. Various activities will be organised.
While GAPE is committed to concentrating all its project activities so that they fit with the eight priority areas identified for support by the Education Division, we will not be able to determine the exact villages and activities that will be supported until a participatory needs assessment is conducted at an earlier stage of the project. Support will then be provided according to the results of this assessment.
The estimated budget for the first year of the project is US$ 40,000. Therefore, it is expected that the three year project will have a budget of US$ 120,000. The exact budgets for the second and third years of the project will be similar to the first year budget provided below. However, they may be altered slightly according to local circumstances and needs.
In the middle of the second year of the project, an interim external evaluation of the project will be conducted, and recommendations for further work will be provided. At the end of the project, a final project evaluation will be conducted under the direction of GAPE, and possibly other donors.
Recipients of Project Benefits:
Children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old living in target villages will be the main project beneficiaries, as well as primary teachers working in the target villages. There are a total of 7,685 primary students in Pathoumphone District, including 3,661 girls and 4,024 boys. While most of the children are ethnic Lao, some are member of various ethnic minorities. All the recipients are rural subsistence and semi-subsistence farmers.
Participants in Project:
1) Global Association for People and the Environment (GAPE)
2) Pathoumphone District Education Office
3) Champasak Province Education Services
The project is justified for various reasons. To begin with, Pathoumphone District has the second lowest primary school attendance rate of all of the 10 districts in Champasak Province. While over 95% of the children of primary school age in Khong, Pakse and Phonthong Districts, in Champasak Province, attend school, and an average of 85% of the children throughout the province attend school, only 75.91% of the children in Pathoumphone were registered as primary school students last year. Only Bachieng District faired more poorly. This represents a serious problem, since one out of four of the children in the district are not receiving any formal education. Education is certainly the key to human capacity development, which in itself is the key to development.
Secondly, members of GAPE, including its chairperson, has been working on community development and education projects in Champasak Province since 1991, and has extensive experience working in the province. Moreover, his experiences in working in Khong District, which is adjacent to Pathoumphone District, has helped clearly indicate what kinds of initiatives are likely to effective in improving education in the area.
There has never been an extensive NGO or other donor supported education oriented implemented in Pathoumphone District, and up until now the district has received very little support in terms of education.
It is important to recognise that Pathoumphone District is one of Champasak Province's most expansive districts, and that the district is the home of two of the country's most important National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCAs) - Xe Pian NBCA and Dong Houa Sao NBCA. Vast areas of primary forest are still found in the district. Therefore, the Education Division of the Province has placed environmental education for primary level students as one of the priority areas targeted for support.
Anticipated Results of Project:
1) It is expected that the quality of basic school facilities will be improved due to the project.
2) It is expected that the quality of primary level teaching will be improved due to the project.
3) It is expected that a higher percentage of children of primary school age will attend school, and that the quality and quantity of the education received will increase due to the project.
4) The awareness levels of students, teachers and parents regarding the need to sustainably manage and protect natural resources will increase due to the project.
Estimated Budget (for 1st year of the project)
Amount (in USD) Oxfam USA
Coordinator Salary (US$ 1,500 x 6 months) 9,000
Environmental Education Coordinator (US$ 1,500 x 2 months) 3,000 3,000
Coordinator Assistant (US$ 200 x 12 months) 2,400 1,000
Secretary (US$ 50 x 12 months) 600
Field Office Rental, etc. (US$ 100 x 12 months) 1,200
Communications and Office Expenses 450
Motorcycle for Field Work 2,000
Gasoline and Local Transportation (including elephants) 1,000
Computer and accessories 2,000 1,000
School Renovation/Construction Support 5,000
School Materials (Mobile Libraries, Blackboards, Desks and Chairs) 3,000
Vocational Training for 10 Villages (US$ 35 x 10 people) 350
Support for Pedological Teachers 500
Training for Grade 1 Teachers regarding "Student Centred Education" 500
Participatory Environmental Video Production 3,000 1,000
Environmental Books, Posters and Other Educational Materials 4,000 2,000
Community Natural Resources Co-Management Education 2,000 2,000
Total 40,000 10,000
*The second and third year budgets will be similar to the above budget, but may be altered slightly to local circumstances.