The German Embassy and UNFPA hosted an advocacy event that brought together businesses to share experiences and encourage private sector investment in employee wellbeing through ‘Noi Friendly Business Criteria (NFBC)’.
NFBC is an innovative initiative launched by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, UNFPA, and partners in 2020. It is a set of actions for the business sector to protect the well-being of their workers by focusing on the obstacles faced by adolescent girls and young people, particularly malnutrition, limited education, access to information and services on sexual and reproductive health, and learning essential life skills.
Recognizing the critical role of the business sector in achieving sustainable development goals, especially through human capital investments, German Ambassador Annette Knobloch, said, “Germany is a strong advocate for investing in women and girls, our feminist foreign policy showcases that. Our regular collaboration with UNFPA continues through this event. We aim to discuss with businesses how to create a women-friendly work environment. I personally believe that it is high time that my government and other governments made feminist guidelines a priority through actions, going beyond the talk.”
The Lao PDR has a population of 7.5 million, demographically the largest share of workers and fewest dependents. Moreover, the country has a young population, with 58% below 25, whereas the next few decades will provide a window of opportunity for realizing a demographic dividend due to the large workforce.
Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative, shared, “All across the world, data shows us that the most successful, sustainable businesses are those that invest in people, that have Women on their boards – in decision making and good businesses are responsive to the community. Investing in employees is not just the right thing to do or the charitable thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do for the business.”
Global evidence shows that investing in employee well-being is a smart investment that provides high returns in productivity and profit. Particularly in the Lao PDR’s context, where over 84,000 new workers will enter the job market annually by 2030, half of whom will be young women.
Ms. Chintina Sisomphone, a guest speaker from Banque Franco Lao (BFL), said, “At BFL, we firmly believe that investing in women is important for resilient & impactful growth. That’s why BFL has its women-friendly banking and its partnership with UNFPA to support our local community development. Supporting in empowering women & girls is important for us.”
The event sparked new discussions on human capital investments, especially investments that are women and girl-friendly between sectors.
Source: Lao News Agency