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Rugby players and coaches learn about reproductive and sexual health and life skills

7 November 2020
@PHOTO UNFPA LAO PDR

Vientiane Capital, 07 November 2020. Sports and life skills are a powerful combination to promote healthy behaviors among adolescent boys and girls. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Lao Rugby Federation (LRF) hosted young players and coaches of Rugby teams at the Chao Anouvong Stadium, Vientiane as part of the “Me, My Body, My Planet, My Future” campaign. The rugby players and coaches learnt about reproductive and sexual health and rights, COVID-19 recovery resources, life skills and environment protection in between playing rugby. The Lao Rugby Federation organizes  life skills development activities along with rugby games.

Mr. Virayuth Rathikoun, President of Lao Rugby Federation said that ‘Sports plays a significant role in developing leadership skills and empowering adolescent girls. Rugby challenges stereotypes and discriminatory social norms and gives opportunities to girls to believe in their capabilities and realize their full potential.’  

Lao PDR has one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia. The Lao 2030 demographic study shows that the total population of Lao PDR which stands at 7.2 million in 2020, is projected to reach 8.1 million by 2030.  A gain of almost one million people in the coming 10 years. The shape of the Lao PDR population pyramid will change in this decade as more youth enter the working age. The working age population will increase from 64% in 2020 to 69% by 2030, Laos will have its largest cohort of workers with few dependents to support. 

Addressing the participants Ms. Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative said that ‘Today’s young people are going to be part of the largest working age population in Laos. They can accelerate sustainable socio-economic development of the country if they are well educated and empowered to make good decisions for themselves, the community, country and the planet”
 
Around 100 Rugby players and coaches from Vientiane Capital and Vientiane Province joined this event and participated in knowledge sharing sessions, participatory activities and Tag rugby. The participants discussed sexual and reproductive health information and services. COVID19 recovery resources were demonstrated including Noi Yakhoo mobile application and mental health and psychosocial support telephone helplines. 

An 18-year-old female Rugby player from Kaoliew High School attending this event said ‘It was a great opportunity for me, I learnt about Noi-Yakhoo mobile app and telephone helplines. Now I can get information and counseling on problems that I cannot discuss with others. I also learnt about making decisions about my life and how to contribute in saving the environment” 

Several solutions proposed by the participants for responsible consumption of resources and environment protection in the session led by Zero Waste Laos. The participants committed to reducing the use of plastic, reusing and promoting recycling of plastic products as their contribution for environment protection. 

The event ended with a collective declaration by all participants to use the learning from this event in their lives and sharing this knowledge with their friends and peers in their communities. 

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Tej Ram Jat, Programme Specialist- Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, UNFPA Lao PDR

Email: tejram@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.