Vientiane (VNA) - The Japanese government has provided a grant of more than 3.7 billion LAK (450,381 USD) to build secondary school facilities and support gender education in the northern province of Bokeo, according to Vientiane Times.

A document to this effect was signed last week by Japanese Ambassador to Laos Takeshi Hikihara, and Project Manager of Plan International Japan Chiya Nagashima.

Plan International Japan is a Japanese non-profit organisation that has been actively engaged in development support for the education and health sectors in Laos since 2007. The grant extended at this time will fund activities in the first year of this three-year project.

The project, ‘Better secondary education for girls through promotion of gender equity’, aims to create gender-sensitive school environments and develop the capacity of secondary school teachers, students and local communities to promote gender equality.

The project will target all 10 secondary schools in Pha-oudom district, Bokeo province.

In the first year, the project will provide opportunities to learn basic knowledge about gender issues. Two teachers from each school will be selected as gender focal teachers, who will be expected to lead activities at their respective schools.

The project will also establish a reporting and monitoring system for students who have gender-related issues. It will also help with starting a children's club to promote children's initiatives and voices.

Five schools will be targeted during the first year. In the second and third years, the project will further strengthen teachers' capacity to deal with gender related issues. For the newly targeted five schools, the same training will be conducted as in the first year.

Project Manager Chiya Nagashima said they had selected the schools in Pha-oudom district because they were located in a remote area of Bokeo province.

These schools lack the facilities to support teaching and learning, while some families do not support their children in education, especially girls, so there are fewer girls in schools than boys in this area.

The project aims to upgrade gender equality in education and it is believed the project will lead to more development and sustainable outcomes after it ends, said Chiya.-VNA