You are here

Vientiane, 24 October.- Around 20 parliamentarians and 25 young people met on October 24 in Savannakhet to discuss development issues with a special focus on how to "promote adolescent girls wellbeing for a better Laos".

The meeting, celebrated for the second time since 2012, aimed to provide an opportunity for young people to discuss and advocate for youth-related issues with policy-makers as well as to provide parliamentarians with a first-hand exposure to the realities faced by young people in the country. The young participants had the chance to express their perspectives on issues including early marriage, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse.

The activity, held on occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, which was marked earlier this month (11 October) was organized by the Lao Youth Union (LYU) and the National Assembly (NA) with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

According to the Lao Social Indicator Survey, for every 1000 adolescent girls (age 15-19), there are at least 94 births annually.

Honourable Dr Somphou Douasavanh, Vice-President of the Socio-Cultural Committee at the National Assembly, said "more than 60% of our population is under 25 years old and at least half of them are girls. They are shaping the country's present and future. The opportunities and choices girls make during adolescence will enable them to begin adulthood as empowered, active citizens"

H.E Dr Sonthanou Thammavong, Deputy Secretary General of the Lao Youth Union, said "with the right skills and opportunities, young girls can invest in themselves, support their families, communities and build a healthy nation"

"Investing in girls and enabling them to exercise their right to make informed choices about their health, their bodies and their future is one of the surest ways to transform individual lives, strengthen families and communities, and ensure equitable, sustainable development for all" said Ms. Rizvina De Alwis, UNFPA Representative (a.i).

A young boy who took part in the dialogue said "pregnancy is not a child's game. No boy or girl should face pregnancy until they're sufficiently grown up to start a family."

After the meeting held in Savannakhet city, the Parliamentarians had the chance to visit Nong District, also in Savannakhet province, to meet and discuss with local youths about these issues.

For further information: 
Mr. Diego De La Rosa. Advocacy and Communications Officer. UNFPA. Tel: (021) 315547. Mobile: (020) 59936509. E-mail :