The Acting Country Director of Plan International Laos, Ms Loretta Hoban, and the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), represented by Director General of Oudomxay Provincial Education and Sports Department (PESS), Mr Somsack Souphilay, signed the Memorandum of Understanding for a new project titled Scaling up Comprehensive Sexuality Education and improving reproductive health services for secondary and out-of-school adolescents in Oudomxay Province.
Mr. Somchit Panyasak, Vice Governor of Oudomxay Province was also present during the signing ceremony.
With financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Plan International Finland through Plan International Laos and in collaboration with the PESS of Oudomxay, the project will strengthen teachers’ capacity in all secondary schools in Houn and Pakbeng to deliver comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).
In addition, out-of-school girls in 30 villages in these two districts will receive CSE through community-based interventions.
To address the sexual health needs of adolescents holistically the project will also strengthen adolescent-friendly health services in all health centres in these two districts and engage parents and village leaders through intergenerational dialogue in target communities.
Child marriage and adolescent pregnancy remain significant barriers in the Lao PDR for adolescents especially girls to reach their full potential and enjoy their rights.
The government of the Lao PDR recognises the importance of providing Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to reduce dropout among secondary school girls due to child marriage and adolescent pregnancy in its Education and Sports Sector Development Plan 2021-2025.
Similarly, the Lao Youth and Adolescent Development Strategy 2021-2030 and the National Strategy and Action Plan for integrated service on Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child and Adolescent Health 2016 – 2025 emphasizes improving the sexual health and rights of adolescents.
The project will supplement these efforts of the Government of the Lao PDR by improving sexual health and rights outcomes for adolescents in Oudomxay.
During the ceremony, Ms Loretta Hoban said, “At Plan International, we strive for a world where girls and young women, in all their diversity, are equally able to make decisions about their own lives and shape the world around them. We are proud to continue supporting the Government of Lao PDR to enable adolescents, especially girls to reach their full potential so they can transform the lives of entire communities and countries.
Other critical government ministries and departments involved in the project are Provincial Health Office, Oudomxay, Lao Women’s Union (LWU), and Lao Youth Union (LYU).
Apart from Plan International Laos, the Gender Development Association and Promotion of Family Health Association (PFHA) will be involved in project implementation while the Women with Disabilities Association and Proud to Be Us Laos will provide technical support to the project.
Source: Lao News Agency