THE participants of the 5th Asean Young Professionals Volunteer Corps (5th AYPVC) successfully completed a two-week expedition in Salavanh Province, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).
The Asean Young Professionals Volunteer Corps (AYPVC) is a platform initiated by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei Darussalam to promote a spirit of collaboration and togetherness among young people through community work at the grass root level.
The objectives of AYPVC are to promote awareness of Asean among the communities through exchange of knowledge and understanding of culture, and to share the skills and expertise of young professionals in supporting the building of One Asean community.
The expedition in Lao PDR is the 5th edition of the AYPVC project, following the successful last deliveries in Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. The AYPVC projects which was endorsed in 2013 at the Eighth Asean Ministerial Meeting on Youth (8th AMMY) in Bandar Seri Begawan, have mobilised over 130 young professionals from various expertise such as teachers, carpenters, interior designers, social workers and more.
The 5th AYPVC Youth Led Programme in Lao PDR expedition team had focused and conducted educational activities on Women’s Entrepreneurship Skills Development and Youth Development to the communities in Vang Puei and Onnoy village in Salavanh Province from December 16 to 24.
This AYPVC was co-organised with Lao Youth Union and Village Focus International as a project partner. Over 350 villagers had participated in both sessions.
The Youth Development Group focused on several skills and capacity building such as teamwork, leadership, preservation skills, confidence building and personal values through interactive games, public speaking, group tasks and awareness exercises which touch on subjects like gender, among others.
The Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Group conducted sessions on creative and critical thinking, leadership, effective communication, product design development and marketing and sales through activities like idea generation, dialogue, games and demonstrations.
This included imparting technical skills such as making organic fertilisers and pesticides, introducing alternative approach to handicraft as well as food processing such as making jam and cookies.
Each team had six days to engage with the community to understand the issues and implement the educational sessions that result in the creation of the youth development and entrepreneurship development manual.
The expedition culminated with a workshop and handover of the manuals to the relevant authorities by both teams which were attended by the key stakeholders including province chief, village chief, district officials and the communities. These manuals are aimed at inspiring the community to contribute to driving fundamental changes and create a sustainable impact.
“A lot of discussions entailed in making the activities happen and despite the time constraints, the volunteers are able to deliver the objectives set by AYPVC which reflects the quality of skills and capabilities of the young people in Asean in coming together to create a better future for the region and our AYPVC volunteers had the golden opportunity to immerse themselves in the community, learning the culture and language as well as eating the local Laotian food, visiting a native village and beautiful waterfalls in the province,” expressed Hjh Normie Hj Ramli, Project Officer at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
“Looking back to the first day, when the villagers first saw us, there were a lot of question marks on their faces. We were the first foreign volunteers to come to the village. But as days passed, some of the villagers came up to us and invited us to come back and buy their improvised products based from our manuals and suggestions.
“The village chief also commented to us that they will look into implementing the suggested Crowd-Funding System for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Development of the village.
“Others said that they were inspired to dream bigger. For example, a student told us about his dream to be a doctor and wanted to save as many people in Lao PDR,” said Yap Chee Wei, AYPVC volunteer from Malaysia.
Present at the closing ceremony for the certificate presentation was Second Secretary of Brunei Darussalam Embassy to the Lao PDR, Dayangku Nur Sajidah Rohana Pengiran Haji Roslan, on behalf of Dr Haji Emran bin Haji Bahar, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Lao PDR which was held in Arawan Hotel, Pakse, Lao PDR.
The next 6th AYPVC is tentatively set to be implemented in Myanmar from February 8 to 21, 2015, focusing on youth poverty alleviation, health care and hygiene awareness. Applications are open to Bruneians with healthcare, social worker, photographer and videographer background. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/aypvc or email at email@example.com.