(Participatory Development Knowledge Agency)
By Meghan Jones
PAKA works to create spaces for learning and sharing knowledge, and recognising the importance of gathering evidence from communities for advocacy. In 2020, Child’s Dream began supporting PAKA to pilot a new programme aimed at developing an innovative college model in which students’ learning is adapted to theories and tested in rural communities with the support of partner organisations. The programme aims to empower students to facilitate community projects based on what communities really need.
The programme aims to empower students to facilitate community projects based on what communities really need.
Students receive training from PAKA staff and partner organisations. They are then able to put what they learn into practice in a supported environment. The students document their findings, and their research contributes to adapting the learning curriculum for the next generation of college students.
In September of 2020, the first batch of students began their training. They spent three months learning about topics such as volunteerism, leadership, gender in development, community consultation, media communication for community development, and project proposal writing and management. The students then developed community projects to take place in four different provinces in Lao PDR, and are currently in the field implementing their projects and conducting research on their initiatives. With the first batch of students nearing the completion of their first year, PAKA is hard at work selecting the second batch of students, the future leaders in community development in Lao PDR.