Press Release

Extension of Nang-Noi programme in Oudomxay Province launched for empowering adolescent girls and boys

9 June 2020

Vientiane, 9 June 2020 - In support of the Lao Government efforts for empowerment of adolescent girls, the extension of Nang-Noi programme was launched on Tuesday, 9th June by the Ministry of Education and Sports with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). This programme aims to empower adolescent girls and boys in Namor district of Oudomxay province with knowledge and skills for their holistic development. The programme was launched by Dr. Phout Simmalavong, Vice Minister, Ministry of Education and Sports, Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative and Sungsoo OH, Resident Representative of KOICA.

 

While launching this programme, Dr. Phout Simmalavong, Vice Minister, Ministry of Education and Sports said ‘Providing sexual and reproductive health information, essential life skills and comprehensive sexuality education to adolescents and young people is crucial for better human health, economy, environment and ensuring that new generation can adapt to rapidly changing world.’

 

As per the 2015 Census, over 300,000 people reside in Oudomxay province, with 24 per cent being adolescent girls and boys aged 10-19 years. These adolescents face multiple challenges including lack of information and services, malnutrition, early marriage and adolescent pregnancy. The province has a significantly high adolescent birth rate of 105 births/1,000 girls 15-19 years compared to the national average of 83 births/1,000 girls. Data from Lao Social Indicator Survey of 2017 showed that 46 per cent adolescent girls 15-17 years from the province were currently out of school and 32 per cent of girls 15-19 years were already married or in the union.

 

Addressing the meeting participants, Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative said ‘UNFPA is working with Lao Government for providing adolescent girls and boys with age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information, services and opportunities through Noi approach so that they are better prepared to navigate life’s challenges and develop their full potential which will benefit them, their families and communities. This programme will facilitate progress towards achieving the SDGs in Lao PDR with the vision of ‘Leaving No One Behind.’  

 

Building on the implementation of the Noi ecosystem for the empowerment of adolescent girls and boys through a multi-pronged approach, the programme will set up Nang-Noi Girls Groups in 63 villages of Namor district. Mentor led activities in these groups will enhance knowledge and develop essential life skills among 1,200 adolescent girls to make informed decisions about their lives and will empower them to access youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services. These efforts will ultimately prevent early marriage, delay pregnancy and contribute to sustainable socio-economic development. 

 

Sungsoo OH, Resident Representative of KOICA said ‘We need to empower adolescent girls with safe spaces as well as building their agency and essential life skill so that they are not left behind.’ Healthcare providers form 10 health facilities will also be trained on youth-friendly health services using nationally approved guidelines developed by the Ministry of Health with support from UNFPA. The trained healthcare providers will be able to provide information, advice, counselling and clinical services to adolescent boys and girls for preventing reproductive health problems and early pregnancy.

 

Around 1,200 adolescent boys will also be empowered through participatory activities and structured sessions at village level on reproductive health, gender equity and essential life skills. Around 4,800 parents and community members will be sensitized for addressing harmful gender norms and changing their attitudes towards the reproductive health and developmental needs of adolescent girls and boys. This two-year programme will cost around 4.7 billion Lao Kip and will be jointly funded by KOICA and UNFPA. The programme will be implemented through the Non-Formal Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Sport and Department of Healthcare and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Health.

 

For more information please contact:

 

Mr. Khamfong Sommala, Head Division of Planning, Department of Planning, Ministry of Education and Sports: skhamfong@yahoo.com

Mr. Syvongsay Changpitikoun, UNFPA Programme Analyst: changpitikoun@unfpa.org

 
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UNFPA, the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, works in over 150 countries including Lao PDR, to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices towards women and girls.