Researchers and experts brought together under the third Annual Adolescent Research Day in Vientiane Capital to discuss about social protection of adolescents

The third Annual Adolescent Research Day (ARD) held at Hotel Crowne Plaza, Vientiane Capital on Monday 15 October, 2018 led by the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute (Lao TPHI), with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Medical Committee Netherlands– Vietnam (MCNV). Around 150 participants from different government ministries, research institutions and international organizations from Lao PDR, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and India participated in the event.

This scientific conference provided platform for researchers, policy-makers and development partners from the region to share their existing research evidence and experience as well as promoted further collaboration that will benefit adolescents inclusively. This conference focused on SDG 1 (end poverty) with the theme “Social protection for adolescents: removing barriers towards a healthy and fulfilling life”, for strengthening understanding on social protection interlinked with health, education and employment for adolescents.

The Adolescent Research Day conference was presided over by H.E. Madame Baykham Khattiya, Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Welfare; Dr. Nao Boutta, Director General of the Cabinet, Ministry of Health, Mr. Victor Valdivieso,  UNFPA Country Representative a.i.; and Dr. Sengchanh Kounnavong, Director General of the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute.

In his opening speech H.E. Madame Baykham Khattiya, Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Welfare highlighted the role and importance of social protection in poverty and inequality reduction, enhancing human resource capacities and national socio-economic development to ensure that the target groups have a security to receive benefits from development, aiming at improving livelihoods and achieving sustainability and inclusion. She also stressed that having a large adolescent and young population provides us a great opportunity to develop this young generation into productive resources by providing them good education, health services, life skills, vocational training and ensuring their social protection, so that they can achieve their full potential and contribute in the socio-economic development of the country.

Dr. Nao Boutta, Director General of the Cabinet, Ministry of Health said that the Lao government has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and working with localization of the SDG indicators within the framework of the 8th National Socio-economic Development Plan. Among the 18 goals embodied in the SDGs, majority of goals are relevant for the development of adolescents. A Noi 2030 Framework visualizes the progress of the SDG targets and Adolescent girls and this is why we are here today to ensure that adolescents are visible in the evidence so that we can target their needs in policy and practice. We all recognize the importance of adolescents to achieve the sustainable development goals, however we also know that adolescent research needs a different approach from adult research, and that if no one is there to advocate for them they are likely to be forgotten at the stage of the research design or in identifying the research needs.

Speaking in the event Mr. Victor Valdivieso, UNFPA’s Representative a.i. mentioned that Lao PDR has a young people as almost 60% population is less than 25 years of age. The reason why we put so much effort into adolescent people because adolescence is crucial and significant period, during which boys and girls move from childhood to adulthood, mentally, emotionally, socially and physically. Our future in the next 5 years, 10 years and in 2030 is in their hands and that is why all experts are here together today at Adolescent Research Day, to look into the gaps and see what is needed to help create the right interventions and conducive environment for adolescents like Noi and her friends.

The researchers and presenters from Lao PDR, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and India presented their research evidence and experiences which included research on adolescent girl’s situation analysis in Lao PDR, empowerment of young garment factory workers in Cambodia, social health protection of adolescents in Indonesia and experiences of implementation of development impact bond for financing girl’s education in India. Presentations also covered the strategies for empowerment of adolescent girls with disabilities, copping strategies of out of school adolescent girls and coverage of adolescent girls under National Health Insurance in Lao PDR.

According to the Lao Social Indicator Survey* 2017, more than 42% of adolescent girls aged 5-17 are involved in child labour and around 42% of girls aged 15-17 are currently out of school which can keep them behind the social and economic empowerment.

 

*LSIS 2017-18: lao.unfpa.org/en/publications/lao-social-indicator-survey-ii-2017-18-0

Find more about Noi: lao.unfpa.org/en/publications/noi-adolescent-girl-lao-pdrFor

More information can be obtained from the following contacts:

Dr. Latsamy Siengsounthone

Tel.: 020 – 22238556

Email: slatsamy@yahoo.com

Dr. Khampheng Phongluxa

Tel. 020 – 55949082

Email: khampheng_p@hotmail.com

Ms. Kay amphone Singhalath

Tel: 020 77776597

E-mail: Singhalath@unfpa.org

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