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On the occasion of the first ever celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child - 11 October 2012-, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in Lao PDR organized a drawing competition for young adolescents to raise awareness about the importance of Education for Lao Girls.

Lao PDR has seen significant improvement in the enrolment of girls in school. The number of girls per 100 boys in primary education rose from 77 in 1991 to 86 in 2006. Over the same period, the rate of participation and retention at primary, secondary and tertiary levels also increased for both sexes. However, the gender disparity in education still persists. 33.5% of girls had no access to tertiary education, compared to 19.1% of boys (Population Census 2005).

The activity, held at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Vientiane, saw the participation of Mr. Somchit Inthamith, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and United Nations heads of agencies as well as a group of around 50 children and adolescents with disabilities who participated in the drawing competition.

"Girls who are educated are more likely to be capable of moving towards gainful economic independence and employment and less likely to live in poverty. They tend to marry later, have a more productive family life and are more likely to support others. Overall, a girl who marries later is more empowered to choose the lifestyle that makes her better" said Mr. Inthamith.

"An educated girl will be an active citizen at home, in her community and in the country. She will become an economically, independent woman able to decide whether, when and how many children to have. She will be able to contribute fully to society and break the vicious cycle of poverty, malnutrition and all the undesirables that we see." said Dr. Esther Muia, on behalf of the UN.

After the official event held in Vientiane on 11 October, a second drawing competition was organized in Savannakhet Province on October 26 at the Ethnic School.


The activity was chaired by H.E Mr. Somchith Inthamith, and saw the participation of provincial government officials as well as Provincial mass organizations. Around 250 adolescents and youth attended the event.

The winners of the drawing competition will be selected by a jury composed of officials from MPI and the UN. Winning drawings will be displayed in two exhibitions to be organized during the Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Population Forum, both to be held in November, 2012. Some of the winning drawings will be published online on UNFPA's Lao PDR website ( and UNICEF's Lao PDR Facebook page (

The International Day of the Girl Child was designated by the UN General Assembly to focus attention on the need to respond to the challenges that girls face, promote girls' empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Diego DE LA ROSA, Advocacy and Communications Officer, UNFPA, Mobile: + 856 20 5993 6509