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New Australian Funding for Poverty Alleviation

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The Australian Embassy is calling for applications for its 2017 small grants programme to deliver community-level projects that contribute to poverty alleviation in Laos.Individuals, community groups, businesses, local government agencies and NGOs engaged in not-for-profit development activities are encouraged to submit applications for funding.

Australian Ambassador to Laos, John Williams said, The Embassy’s Direct Aid Programme (DAP) was a flexible scheme to fund quality small-scale projects that would deliver practical and tangible benefits for poor communities in Laos.

Each year we consider a range of projects, some as small as a few thousand dollars in value and others up to US$20,000 or US$30,000, that seek to address a range of issues, including community health and education, small-scale infrastructure, women’s empowerment, support for people with disabilities, governance, human rights and the environment, he said.

Ambassador Williams continued that the Embassy was looking for quality applications that would have a major impact in poverty alleviation in needy communities, and sought each year to fund projects from as many regions of Laos as possible.

In 2015, the Embassy funded 19 projects in eight provinces from the 200 proposals received. The projects ranged from sustainable water supply for remote villages in Oudomxay province, national awareness campaigns to promote road safety and combat violence against women, and support for hygiene education and mobile libraries in northern Laos.

Last year, Australia’s small grants scheme helped refurbish school buildings and dormitories in LuangNamtha, XiengKhuang, Vientiane and LuangPrabang provinces, and upgraded health facilities and equipment in Savannakhet and Vientiane provinces.DAP supported a AU$20,000 renovation of the facilities at Vientiane Autism Centre (VAC) to help provide better quality services, education, therapy and specialists to a greater number of children who live with autism in Laos.

The Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development, Foundation Assisting Poor People in the Lao PDR and the Health Centre in Thapene village in LuangPrabang district, LuangPrabang province all received DAP funding to purchase new medical equipment.

In 2015, Australia’s DAP scheme also funded the design and publication of a new textbook for the Association for the Deaf, with an additional 1,500 words (including sign language), and provided financial assistance for a new vocational centre in Xaysettha district, Vientiane to continue its work with disabled people. The centre is now able to provide livelihoods training in wood handicrafts, mushroom farming and sewing.

Last year, Australia’s small grants scheme enabled not-for-profit group Abundant Water to extend its clean water initiative to another 20 villages (around 790 households) in Oudomxay, Xaysomboun and Vientiane provinces.

In partnership with ChildFund, PADETC and CDEA, Abundant Water has been able to provide clean drinking water in poor, remote communities across Laos by using a low-cost clay pottery water filter, with the aim of helping break the cycle of disease, illness and poverty caused by water-borne diseases.

Source: Vientiane Times