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Phase II: Regional expansion

Lao PDR

Preparing molds for bronze casting - Luang Prabang © UNESCO

Project overview and objectivesLuang Prabang was the pilot site during Phase I project implementation and now serves as the model for other sites. During Phase I, the Luang Prabang Training Center for Laotian Traditional Temple Arts and Building Crafts was established. During Phase II, this centre will serve as a resource base and training center for monks from monasteries around the country. It will also provide training-of-trainers courses for monks from Bokeo and Champasak as well as mobile training teams to assist on-site in Bokeo and Champasak. Champasak will eventually be developed as the resource and training center for southern Lao PDR while Luang Prabang center will cover the training in northern and central provinces. Bokeo(northwestern Lao PDR) and Savannakhet (southern Lao PDR) will serve as satellite centers for the training centers in Luang Prabang and in Champasak respectively.

The local capacity and skills reinvigorated through Phase I project implementation in the Luang Prabang Buddhist sangha will be further encouraged to ensure country-wide project sustainability in Lao PDR. Further work will be undertaken to build capacity to ensure self-sustaining community management in pilot site.  The Luang Prabang training school, established during Phase I will be developed to serve as a resource base and training centre for monks from monasteries around the country.

Through the use of mobile training teams from Luang Prabang, project activities will be expanded to other sites of Champasak, Bokeo and Savanakhet within the country. The sangha Community-led training at these three sites will be developed by the local sanghas in coordination with UNESCO, teachers from the Luang Prabang training school, and appropriate local and national authorities. Works undertaken to analyze and to start building capacity in order to institutionalize the project at both national and local levels are both aimed to the project expansion and self-sustainability.  

In order to build and enhance national capacity in documentation of tangible and intangible culture and cultural mapping, activities will be undertaken to enhance existing skills and to subsequently put these skills into practice while simultaneously training field practitioners. In this regard, capacity will be built to document and analyze mural paintings and other descriptive decoration work in order to enhance the understanding of the meaning of the arts and skills taught in the centres and to produce reference material. To this same direction, teaching manuals for using in the training centres will be developed, particularly focusing on maintenance and basic repair of temples, using traditional materials and techniques. Additionally, these manuals will be useful to train abbots and senior monks who are not enrolled in the training and to educate monks and novices in the monk’s high schools.

The country-wide objective has taken the following directions: 

  • Establishment of a strong network for  cooperation and cross-mentoring between different project sites through exchange of teachers and trainees, mobile training teams, joint training activities and meetings
  • Development of a temple custodian manual focusing on preventive conservation and basic maintenance, drawing on traditional knowledge, materials and techniques for training purpose in the training centers as well as for educational materials for abbots and monks not enrolled in the training

Project output to date
A very strong cross-mentoring network has been established among the participating project sites in Lao PDR. The network serves as a platform for exchange of experiences, consultation, technical assistance and training. The Luang Prabang project team has been instrumental in assisting the other project sites during their initial implementation stages and is expected to serve as a node for communication between the sites themselves and with UNESCO. Luang Prabang has also taken the lead in the development of the temple custodian manual. Considering the fact that such a manual is also being developed in the Nan project site in Thailand, it is anticipated that both project sites can benefit from exchanging experiences of their preliminary work for achieving ultimate result of the manual in their own context.