Development Assistant Takes up Work in Khammouane

Phillip  Bengel arrived in Laos on 20 April, 2017. The 29 year-old environmental engineer and education specialist is going to be based in Thakek, Khammouane Province as a development advisor (DA) where he will support PONRE in environmental education and communication activities. Before starting to work in Thakek in August 2017, he is currently complementing the ProCEEd team at the project office in Vientiane. Phillip Bengel gained a first impression of what promoting environmental education means in Laos when he had a

chance to join the environmental bus tour in Khammouane Province in May 2017. Together with ProCEEd’s senior adviser and the current DA colleague stationed at PONRE Khammouane, he joined theMr. Phillip Bengel tour for a week to see how the project works. The two DAs had ample chance to exchange insights and information to safeguard a smooth hand-over by the end of September. The tour experience prepared the new DA for what lies ahead of him when he takes over his predecessor’s position in a few months.

 Realizing the differences between his previous jobs in Germany and his upcoming tasks in Laos, Phillip Bengel states “I guess it will be a big challenge for me to understand the people’s situation in the villages and learn about their attitudes, needs and worries”. He explains further “ProCEEd strives to design a program that fits people’s lives. But even the most impressive multi-media activities and didactically sophisticated materials that attract villager’s attention won't help on their own. People will only link the content provided if it relates to their specific situation and their life.”

 

Since 2014, ProCEEd has been providing a variety of attractive environmental education activities in Khammouane and Sayaboury Province. The project team, a group of employees and volunteers of DEQP and PADETC, regularly tours villages by environmental vehicles, a bus and a truck, twice a year. In addition, the project supports related PoNRE activities. The main objectives are environmental awareness raising on wildlife and biodiversity conservation, and the sustainable use of natural resources. This is of special concern since the target villages in Khammouane are located close to the Hin Nam No National Protected Area. Children and adults in these rural communities are major target groups.

 

In order to increase the impacts of the existing activities, a higher frequency and diversity of environmental education events and their quality needs to be achieved. Therefore, one of Phillip Bengel’s main tasks will be supporting partners in the province in their efforts to develop suitable approaches. In this respect, he will assist in capacity development of PONRE staff and support the ongoing environmental tours. In addition, he intends to initiate and contribute to environmental reporting in local media through trainings, on the job-coaching etc., and link ProCEEd's environmental education and communication efforts with related initiatives by PoNRE and other GIZ projects.

 

Phillip Bengel worked as project manager for a Friends of the Earth program in Germany that focused on the evaluation of educational opportunities for environmental protection concerns in youth work and public relations. As a self-employed educational consultant and coach, he dealt with socio-ecological sustainability issues, and designed and implemented educational events such as workshops, seminars and field trips for children, teenagers and adults. Before, he was a moderator and field worker for Die Multivision, a small German NGO.

 

The personal objectives of the new ProCEEd DA are to learn something new from other people, gain new skills and share experiences in return. In Khammouane, he will have lots of opportunities to explore the local environment and its creatures, and learn about the different lifestyles of people in central Laos.

 

 

 


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