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Vientiane, Lao PDR - The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, for third year in a row, launched an essay contest to raise awareness about population issues within the youth in Lao PDR. The theme of the contest this year is "Promoting responsible reproductive health behaviour among young people" and is addressed to Lao upper secondary, university or college students and young people between 15 and 24 years old from all over the country.

"Reproductive Health implies that people are able to have a responsible, and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this are the right of men and women to be informed of and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of fertility regulation of their choice, and to appropriate health care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant" according to WHO.

Participants of the essay competition are expected to answer some of the following questions: How can young people protect themselves from unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV? As a young person, what do you see as your reproductive health rights? Where can you get information, or counselling and services on reproductive health matters? When do you feel young people are ready to start having their families? What can you suggest to decision-makers to improve the situation of young people in Lao PDR? What does it mean for you to be responsible about your reproductive health behaviour?

The winning essays will be awarded 2.000.000 LAK, 1.500.000 LAK and 1.000.000 LAK for first, second and third place, respectively. Some of the winners will be invited to present their essays during the launching of the State of World Population Report to be held in November 2012.


The contest has three categories: Upper Secondary Students, University or College Students and young people between 15 and 24 years old. People interested in entering the essay contest must submit an essay related to the theme. All submissions will be blind reviewed by the Essay Competition Steering Committee composed of the following organizations: National University of Laos, Ministry of Education and Sports, MPI and UNFPA.

Submissions can be made by email (, fax (021) 353051 or physical mail to the following address UNFPA. P.O. Box 345. Ban Phonesavanh Tai. Sisattanak District. Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR. Essays must be typed in Lao language and must not exceed 5 pages of standard text in "Saysettha Unicode" font size 11. Pages must be numbered.

Essays should be written and submitted individually. Group essays are not allowed. Quotes and references must be clearly marked throughout the essay and properly cited. Each participant should fill the Essay Competition Entry Form or send a separate sheet of paper indicating: Name, Address, telephone and mobile numbers, E-mail (if available), Faculty/University/College, Grade/School or Age (for category C. Entry form can be downloaded from UNFPA website: or requested by tel/fax: 315547. Please note that essays without this information will be disqualified.

Entries will be accepted until September 30, 2012. The jury selection will be made in October and the winners will be announced in November 2012. To learn more about the essay contest, please visit the website or contact directly Tel: (021) 222214 or Mobile (020) 22237775.

Press contact information:
Mr. Diego De La Rosa, UNFPA tel: (+856 21) 315547, mobile: (+856) 020 59936509,