A new Memorandum of Subsidiary Arrangement (MSA) under a broader agreement between Australia and Laos on development cooperation was signed by Australian Ambassador to Laos, Mr. Paul Kelly, and the Vice Minister of Planning and Investment, Ms. Phonevanh Outhavong, on 22 March in Vientiane.
The MSA between the two Governments outlines a cooperation agreement for an Australian Government aid-funded program – Australian Volunteers Program (AVP).
The Australian Government is supporting Laos in achieving its sustainable development goals by providing skilled Australian Volunteers to Lao government organizations through AVP. Since 1996 the Australian Government has supported hundreds of partner organizations in Laos at central and provincial levels with skilled volunteers on more than 650 assignments. These assignments cover a broad range of sectors, including education, health, agriculture, and energy.
AVP has played an essential role in strengthening the relationship, and mutual understanding between Australia and Laos, especially those in the communities the volunteers engage and support, such as
- The Vientiane Women and Youth Center for Health and Development of Vientiane Women’s Union (VWYCHD)
- Luang Prabang Public Health Department-Lao Friend Hospital for Children
- Vientiane New and Renewable Energy
Australian Ambassador to Laos, Mr. Paul Kelly said on the ocassion, “We are especially proud of the Australia Volunteers Program’s contribution to Laos’ socio-economic development and to enhancing the bilateral relationship and our people-to-people links.”
The Australian Government’s support for international volunteering started in 1963. Since then, over 16,000 Australians have volunteered to share their skills and support the objectives of various organizations in countries across the Pacific, Asia and Africa, including Laos.