A new Training of Trainers (TOT) Toolkit is helping strengthen the capacities and deepen understanding of social protection amongst government officials and civil society organisations in Lao PDR. The toolkit has been developed by ILO as part of the UN Joint Programme “Leaving no one behind: Establishing the basis for social protection floors in Lao PDR”.
The TOT Toolkit was put to use at a workshop in Vang Vieng held from 13 to 17 June 2022. The event was attended by 26 trainees from various organisations namely, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, including the Lao Social Security Organization; National Health Insurance Bureau; UNICEF, Oxfam, and various civil society organisations such as the Informal Worker Advancement Association, Association for the Development of Peasant Societies, Lao Farmer Network, Women Mobilizing for Development, and others.
“Through this initiative, we want to build a network of trainers who in future can deliver trainings within their own institutional workplans or projects. In this way, we hope to give sustainability to the work started under the UN Joint Programme”, noted Ms. Loveleen De, Programme Manager.
The Toolkit consists of a Training Manual, which guides facilitators to conduct the sessions and exercises, as well as a Learning Pack with conceptual and practical information on social protection. While the latter provides technical knowledge, the former applies adult learning techniques to enhance the learning process. Lectures are interspersed with individual and group activities to ensure a rich and lively learning process. A set of PowerPoint presentations is also included in the Toolkit, for easy delivery by the trainees.
The Toolkit is divided into three main modules: the first on basic social protection concepts, the second on the social protection system in Lao PDR, and the third a facilitation guide to develop skills and confidence among trainers.
It is expected that the Toolkit can be used by government officials to train provincial and local authorities on basic social protection and implementation of the National Social Protection Strategy 2020-25.
Ms. Phengsouk Likayya of the Lao Social Security Organization who was one of the trainees at the TOT workshop noted, “I have a clearer understanding of social protection now. We not only learnt from real cases in our country, but also from other different countries, particularly how poor and vulnerable groups can access basic healthcare services, social welfare, and social support. We also exchanged lessons with different organizations that work in this area.”
In Lao PDR, a variety of actors work in the social protection area, often in a fragmented manner, leading to duplication of efforts and wastage of limited resources. It is expected that over time, the National Social Protection Strategy can serve as a framework for better coordination and harmonisation of efforts by different ministries, development partners, civil society and NGOs, with each contributing according to their strengths and expertise.
The Toolkit can be adapted by civil society groups to train community leaders and local implementers. Keeping the local context in mind, the TOT contributed to developing civil society capacities and networks so that they can advocate for the appropriate design of social protection schemes based on people’s real circumstances and needs.
Ms. Phonepaseuth Phaphunguen of the Lao Farmer Network said, “This is very useful for me. I have learned many things about social protection, especially the situation in Lao PDR context. The trainer provided us with new information and training tools. Importantly, I can take the knowledge I got and spread it to the farmers who I work with.”