Press Release

Sexual and reproductive health services campaigning at schools to reach youth and adolescents

25 September 2020

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 25 September 2020 - At the start of 2020, the world was confronted by COVID-19 and its tremendous effects on young people’s lives, health and well-being. Its short-term impacts have already been devastating because of the large-scale interruption of employment, formal and informal education and learning, and health and social services. However, the medium- and long-term impacts could be irreparable if adequate measures are not taken to guarantee adolescents’ and youth’s basic rights to health, safety, choice and voice.

In order to safeguard these rights, UNFPA is supporting recovery plans in Lao PDR to reimagine, adapt, and supplement the diverse range of interventions already undertaken across the country. Amongst key interventions, UNFPA is supporting continuity of sexual and reproductive health services and educational sessions with young girls and in schools.

Part of this effort, a campaign was jointly organized by Lao Youth Union and UNFPA under: 'Me, My Body, My Planet, My Future'  campaign to encourage young people to take action for their lives, their bodies and their planet. 20 youth volunteers were trained to lead, along with Lao Youth Union staff sessions facilitation in the schools. The campaign covered 11 schools from Vientiane Capital (9 schools in Vientiane Capital urban districts and 2 schools in Sangthong district) and actively engaged 1200 students and 100 teachers. various subjects were covered on sexual and reproductive health, mental health and psychosocial support, safe use of counselling facilities and accessing SRH information using Noi Yakhoo Mobile App . Students brought their mobile phones and downloaded the app. Thanks to this kind of awareness event, there are 850 active users of Noi Yakhoo app today learning about their rights, but also about gender issues, nutrition, responsible consumption of resources and zero waste for saving the environment and sustainable development. Telephone helplines for mental health and psychosocial support and Noi Yakhoo mobile App were demonstrated. Participatory activities and cleanliness drives were also organized in the schools as part of the campaign to encourage youth to take an active role in releasing COVID-19 impact.

We were lucky to meet so many students from 9 schools across Vientiane, I was positively surprised by the excitement and curiosity all hand-ups for questions on their sexual and reproductive health rights. It comforts us in the belief that adolescents need and seek information on their bodies and intimacy. It is up to us now to break the taboos and misinformation they face. This is the only one to realize their potential. said Ms. Vatsana Vongsengchanh who was implementing the school campaign as an intern of UNFPA

Students from Lao-Viet Friendship Secondary School

“I have learned many important lessons that are related to us, hotline counselling for youth and environment and social media” 17, secondary boy student

“I have found hotline counselling very useful as I can consult with counsellors about family, love and other issues that I don’t usually dare to share” girl, 16, secondary girl student

“Noi Yakhoo gives us many lessons I definitely share with peers and family”, 15, the secondary girl student

A teacher from Lao-Viet Friendship Secondary School,

“Me, My body, My planet, My future Campaign was very useful as it is directly related to our bodies, health and environment, I will share everything that I learned to students, teachers and family members”.

 

For more information please contact:

Mr. Syvongsay Changpitikoun, Programme Analyst, UNFPA LaoPDR

Email: 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.