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Thursday, July 18, 2024

French Embassy Backs Eight Gender Equality Projects in Laos

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The French Embassy is bolstering its commitment to gender equality in Laos by funding eight innovative civil society projects through the Equipe France Fund – Civil Society Organizations (FEF-OSC) program. Ambassador Siv-Leng Chhuor formalized the grant agreements with the selected Lao organizations at a ceremony held at the Residence of France.

This initiative marks the first phase of the 2024-2025 FEF-OSC program, aligning with France’s steadfast dedication to promoting women’s rights globally. The program will allocate over half a million euros to support approximately 18 projects focused on gender equality. Since 2010, the French Embassy has financed 71 projects in Laos, totaling nearly EUR 3 million (USD 3.2 million).

The eight chosen projects, which span six provinces, tackle various aspects of gender equality. These include combating gender-based violence, advancing women’s economic empowerment, and enhancing access to education, justice, and culture.

The Association for the Development and Promotion of Women’s Leadership, represented by Bouakham Sythavong, received a grant of LAK 328 million (USD 14,800) to implement a project aimed at ending violence against sex workers and improving their access to health services in Vientiane Capital.

Inthana Boupphasavanh, representing the Association for the Development of Women and Legal Education, signed an agreement for LAK 448 million (USD 20,260). ADWLE’s project focuses on supporting vulnerable women and children in obtaining free health services, improving responses to gender-based violence (GBV) survivors, and assisting women in protecting their legal rights through the official registration of marriages.

The Association for the Promotion and Preservation of Arts and Literature, represented by Soukphansa Phoouphasouk, received LAK 227 million (USD 10,270) to support artists and poets in creating artwork that reflects gender equality in Lao society.

Manivone Vorachak, Secretary General of the Cooperation for Development and Support to Local Knowledge Association secured LAK 500 million (USD 22,600) for a project in Phongsaly province aimed at the economic empowerment of young women and improved GBV prevention.

Strengthening entrepreneurship and leadership skills among women from ethnic minorities is the primary goal of the Foundation Assisting Poor People of Laos – Xieng Khouang Province Branch. Khankham Sayalath, the association’s director, signed the grant agreement for LAK 499 million (USD 22,577).

Soukaseum Bodhisan, President of the Namjai Community Association from Bokeo Province, signed a grant agreement for LAK 499 million (USD 22,577). This project aims to provide quality education to girls from ethnic minorities and protect them from violence, including early marriages.

Sengsavang, represented by Virith Khattignavong, signed a grant agreement for LAK 499 million. Their project focuses on the sustainable reintegration of survivors and women at risk of human trafficking and domestic violence in Savannakhet province.

Lastly, Viengpeth Phongchalern from Salavan province represented the Women’s Development Fund, receiving LAK 500 million (USD 22,600). This project focuses on developing a model gender equality village (MGV) and preventing domestic violence and early marriages.

The selection committee for these projects included representatives from AFD, GIZ, and UNDP. Grantees will have the opportunity to apply for a second phase of funding in early 2025, with the call for projects open to new applicants as well.

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