The end of 2009 will cap an amazing year for BABSEACLE’s Laos Initiative and partners. This past year BABSEACLE has worked diligently to lay the groundwork for a sustainable network of partners and continued to provide essential operational support for the Faculty of Law and Political Science’s (FLP) Clinical Legal Education Program. To find clear evidence of Laos’ future advocates’ potential, one need look no further than the law students participating in the BABSEACLE-supported Clinical Legal Education program at the FLP in Vientiane. These students have been brought together under a well-trained faculty to teach law to others in schools, rehabilitation centers and rural villages.
The selected students make a significant impact in their communities by working above and beyond what is required by the CLE program, in addition to completing the necessary studies in their 5-year legal educations. BABSEACLE is excited about the steady growth of interest in the FLP’s CLE program and the progress of its students. In September of 2009 BABSEACLE hired two Lao Legal Fellows, both of whom are FLP Alumni and one of whom was a student participant of the CLE program. We also brought on board a Lao Legal Trainer, another FLP and CLE Alumni. BABSEACLE’s current annual achievements in Laos also include successful internship placements with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Lao Bar Association, CARE International, Village Focus International and the FLP. These internships provide essential cross-cultural exchanges and reinforce the interns’ understanding of the need for pro-bono service. BABSEACLE also conducted several local and regional workshops throughout the year to enhance the skills of CLE professors, as well as facilitating a human trafficking workshop by UNODC in February. The most remarkable accomplishment, however, may very well be the improved capabilities of the CLE students that BABSEACLE has provided a material level of both financial and pedagogical support for.