3. Promoting cultural expressions through Lao Culture Challenge Fund (LCCF)
To provide financial grants and training opportunities for businesses and civil society organisations in Lao PDR to promote cultural expressions
Under the theme, “Lao, for Lao”, the LCCF fund was set up in 2004 provides financial grants and training opportunities for Lao organisations to promote the creation, production and distribution of cultural expressions in the country. LCCF is a partnership between the government of Switzerland and Sisanchai Sole Co Ltd. Funding comes through the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC). Switzerland has a policy that 1% of its overall budget must be spent on cultural promotion. This applies to the SDC, which has a programme budget US$ 18 million for 2017-2021. This is a recurring fund. Selection is through an open call for applications across all provinces of the country.
Two cycles of the fund have been completed and 20 different organisations have been supported for cultural activities and to improve their institutional capacities. In cycles 1 & 2, local organisations funded include Action for Lao Children, Click, Creative Writers' Group, Dokked, Fang Lao, Khao Niew Theatre Group, Lao Art Media, Lao Bang Fai, Lao Handicraft Association, Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens, Maison de la Culture, My Library. The third cycle is being held in 2017-2018. The fund encourages cultural expressions and strengthens cultural identity at the local and national levels. In addition, application writing workshops are also offered to support interested organisations. Sisanchai Sole Co Ltd serves as an information hub, guides the application and proposal process, training organisers and monitoring activities.
The domains cover performing arts companies like contemporary dances, puppets theatre including puppets and theatre, books and library for folklores (books for folklores + ethnic and book festival), botanical education and cultural activities in botanic garden, public creative library in Luang Prabang; music by supporting the very first Vang Vieng Music Festival in Lao PDR; films i.e. featured documentary, fine arts i.e. artist installation exhibitions, fine art gallery.
To promote the diversity of cultural expressions, and to enhance access to cultural activities. The “From Laos, For Laos” strategy expects to strengthen the cultural identity, social cohesion and intercultural exchanges, as well as to richness and diversity of local cultural life.
There is an audit to evaluate the company once every cycle (2-year).