28 March 2017, Vientiane Capital - Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) signed their Implementing Partner (IP) Agreement and Annual Work Plan 2017 with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at MoES. The signing aims to strengthen the partnership and emphasize the importance of addressing the needs of adolescents, in particularly adolescent girls, building on the campaign named “Noi”.
The “Noi” campaign was launched last year on the International girl child day, and it acknowledges the grim reality of adolescent girls informed by the latest Population and Housing Census (2015), which shows that 42,000 adolescent girls never attended school and 91,662 of girls aged 6-16 years have dropped out of school. Girls out of school tend to marry younger and have children at a younger age. In fact, Lao PDR has the earliest age of marriage in the region; 1 in 10 girls marry by the age of 15 and early marriage is often related to early pregnancy. Thus, Lao PDR has the highest adolescent birth rate in the region, with estimated 76 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years.
The newly signed agreement between MoES and UNFPA will particularly focus on issues to keep girls in school and strengthen girls’ social, health and economic assets. As such it will support the country to build the human assets needed for graduating from the LDC status as well as on the achievement of the Sustainable Development indicators by 2030.
H.E Ms. Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun, Minister of Education and Sports said: “Adolescents, in particular girls in rural areas face more challenging situations to access information and education. They need special attention to be able to stay in school, to be empowered so that all girls can develop and strive towards reaching their full potential. I hope that many more partners can support Noi”.
This reaffirms the government’s commitment to investing in Noi, as well as the alignment of the UNFPA supported activities with the MoES Sector Plan and priorities. UNFPA’s sixth Country Program (CP6) 2017-2021 has partnerships with different Ministries and particularly focusses on youth and adolescent issues through supporting data analyses, and strengthening and increasing access to reproductive health information and services.
Ms. Frederika Meijer, UNFPA representative said: “Currently, adolescents and young people are often left out of the dialogue about them and their voices are often not heard. To change this there is a need for an enabling policy environment where adolescents and young people are given specific attention and where national development takes their particular needs into account. Investing in girls’ education is crucial for the advancement of women and gender equality and provides for the best returns on investments. .”
Under CP6, UNFPA aims for a strengthened partnership with MoES, where MoES takes a leading role in advocating for increased and sustainable investment in adolescent girls. UNFPA and MoES want a world where girls can realise their full potential and contribute towards a developed Nation and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information please contact:
Ms. Kay Amphone, Communications Associate – UNFPA Lao PDR
Tel: +856 21 315547
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