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Vientiane, 05 September 2022. Today, Sengchanh, Seo, Mone, Loy and Phouvieng: the five young women from Sepone District, Savannakhet Province who received three months of intensive hospitality training at Crowne Plaza hotel concluded with great success. They  attended  classes at Pakpasak Technical College to acquire vocational skills in food products preparation and learn how to run small entrepreneurship projects. BFL Bank provided for them financial literacy and basic accounting training, while the Vientiane Youth Center briefed them on sexual reproductive health services that include hotline counselling to adolescent and young people.  They leave, ready to establish their own small business back in Sepon district.

This initiative took place thanks to partnership between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Crowne Plaza as part of the UNFPA work with the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) within the comprehensive “Noi ecosystem”. The Noi framework engages different stakeholders and partners including the private sector for sustainable economic development in Lao PDR, focusing on empowerment of adolescent girls and young women.  

Ms Mariam Khan, UNFPA Representative to Lao PDR said: “Innovative public private partnerships between the MOES, UNFPA and Crowne Plaza to support Nang Noi Girls in their path towards empowerment shows us the great returns of  coordinated, complementary interventions. This is essential for realising sustainable development.”  

Lao PDR within ASEAN, has the highest proportion of early marriage and highest adolescent birth rate. Nearly 1 in 5 girls aged 15-19 are married and more than 1 in 10 have begun childbearing. This combined with high rates of school drop outs exacerbated by COVID-19, leaves girls with reduced future opportunities.

Mr Sisana Boupha, Director General of Non-Formal Education, MOES, said: “Through partnership with UNFPA, the MoES is running projects targeting the empowerment of adolescent girls in poor villages. We support them to acquire life skills as well as vocational skills in order to ensure a better life and a better future to them and their families ”

Crowne Plaza hotel’s responsible business plan “Journey to tomorrow” emphasises the role of the private sector in supporting the local efforts to build a resilient future for the population, increase development opportunities and secure the wellbeing of vulnerable women and girls. The leadership of Crowne Plaza is a model that can inspire other  companies in Lao PDR. 

Ms Patria Puyat, General Manager of Crowne Plaza Vientiane expressed her full support saying: “In a young country such as Lao PDR, all sectors must stand by youth to help them learn, develop their skills, receive new opportunities for learning and growing and entering the workforce with confidence, great ideas and strong support. We were very glad to welcome Nang Noi Mentors to Crowne Plaza. This is just the beginning.” 

Soon, the second batch of participants in vocational skills training will arrive at Crowne Plaza. Crowne Plaza will facilitate product placements and market access for all the young women. 

Ms. Seo, one of the Nang Noi Mentors said: “My friends and I learnt how to make different types of food that people like to order in a restaurant. With my experience, I am now confident to open a restaurant of my own, using the skills and equipment that Crowne Plaza offered to us and the financial skills that I learnt from BFL. I am sure I will do well. Crowne Plaza team helped us to design our business plan and our logos to start our cooking projects”



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.

For more information please contact:

Syvongsay Changpitikoun

Programme Analyst - Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, UNFPA Laos



Fatima-Zahra Benyahia Sablonnière

UNV Partnership and Innovation Specialist, UNFPA Laos