Our Goal:

To help low-income youth in Laos develop soft skills and basic English-language proficiency that will enable them to pursue future job opportunities.

Our Partner

For this project, Operation Poverty partnered with Digital Divide Data (DDD), a social enterprise known for its “Impact Sourcing” model where individuals with limited prospects are intentionally hired. Throughout the years, they have pulled hundreds of families out of poverty. We’re working together with managers from DDD’s Laos and Cambodia offices to develop an educational training program for their students and trainees.

Why Laos?

  • Laos is a country of 7.2 million people, with about 1 in 5 individuals living in poverty.
  • The country is classified under the Least Developed Country (LDC) category by the United Nations, which means it is a low-income country facing structural challenges to sustainable development.
  • The government is aiming to graduate from the LDC status by 2025, and part of achieving this goal is helping students and youth learn transferrable skills that will help them find jobs and careers.

The Project

1. Soft-Skill Training Courses

  • Soft-skills is a much needed employment trait in developing countries.
  • Current focus for DDD students are being the development of technical skills such as Excel and data analysis
  • There is a gap in the availability of “life skills” such as work-life balance, diet, research skills, and intangible skills.

Objective: To help DDD trainees develop interpersonal skills that will help them achieve a well-rounded lifestyle and balance their obligations.

2. Online English Classes

  • DDD is a client-focused organization that provides data services worldwide.
  • English proficiency is required for many employment opportunities to communicate with clients and DDD offices worldwide.
  • Teaching English creates a domino effect that allows current students to become teachers in the future.

Objective: To develop English literacy skills for underprivileged students in Laos that will help them pursue future job opportunities and thrive in them.

3. Laos Case Study

  • DDD is a social enterprise that seeks to create social impact while operating a business.
  • Social enterprises are key to economic development in countries like Laos.
  • Raising awareness about DDD will help audiences learn about social enterprises and economic development.

Objective: To publish a resource that will help future leaders and international audiences learn and ensure the continued growth of social enterprises like DDD.

The Process

  • 1. Engage & Learn

    • Held initial meetings with partner about project scope and expectations, and laid out a timeline to meet objectives.
    • Conducted preliminary research and interviews to gain insights about DDD’s educational program, org structure, learning management system, and the students.

  • 2. Explore & Design

    • Identified two main challenges DDD students are facing: lack of soft skills and English-language capabilities.
    • Designed project around two phases that focuses on each challenge.
  • 3. Execute the Plan

    • Phase 1 (May-August 2020): Developed ten online courses over the course of four months for students in DDD’s Laos, Cambodia, and Kenya offices.
    • Phase 2 (October 2020-February 2021): Held 6 English classes per week for students in the Laos training centre across beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

  • 4. Examine & Reflect