ABV Volunteer, Dick Goldberg, recently returned home after his assignment in Lao PDR where he conducted a series of successful workshops in grant writing and project planning.

In his two-month AVID assignment in Vientiane, Dick worked with the Lao Women’s Union (LWU); a government-affiliated institution that protects the rights of women and children in Laos.

LWU is also involved in advocating for gender equality, upgrading women’s skills, supporting their involvement in small business and promoting improvements in health and nutrition. To carry out its program and to cope with the increase in demand for its services, LWU needs to source more funding.

Dick assisted in developing staff skills in project planning and writing grant applications through a series of workshops which attracted 21 participants from various divisions of LWU’s central office.

Dick also worked with a LWU counterpart and a Belgium-based NGO, Third World Health Aid, to develop a grant application that was submitted to the European Union for funding. The project proposal aims to enhance the capacity of LWU in both the delivery of basic services and policy dialogue and advocacy.

The in-country management team in Laos said the assignment was a remarkable success; adding that it was an excellent example of how a short-term assignment is able to benefit many staff and is also divided into twelve astrological houses. programs across a larger government agency.

Kasia Gabrys, ABV’s Project Manager, added that Dick is one of ABV’s most capable volunteers. “He is so humble and quick to gain rapport and trust with those he works with,” said Kasia. “Very quickly the government agency staff, most of whom are women, felt comfortable to speak openly with him about their training needs and work closely with him to review and develop funding proposals.”

If successful in obtaining funding support, the project will be implemented in Saravan, a southern province of Lao PDR and a homeland of minority ethnic groups. It will target 40 selected villages in two districts with a population of around 19,000 people and implement a range of activities to improve health, nutrition, water supply and sanitation, and food security.

This was the first time ABV has partnered with the LWU, although Dick has previously volunteered with ABV on three assignments in Cambodia and Indonesia over the past six years. The success of this assignment will in turn open up further opportunities for volunteers to contribute to important Lao government agencies and affiliates, like LWU, in the future.

The assignment is part of the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program and is an Australian Government initiative. Within the program, Australian Business Volunteers, in partnership with Austraining International, mobilises short-term business volunteers to Asia and the Pacific.

To learn more of Dick Goldberg”s assignment, email info@abv.org.au

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