Courtesy visit to the Governor of Savannakhet Province

UNICEF Calls for Continued Support in Two Windows of Human Capital Investment: Early Childhood and Adolescence

08 September 2020
Courtesy visit to the Governor of Savannakhet Province
UNICEF Laos/2020/Tabongphet
Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR presented her credentials and met with H.E. Mr. Santiphap Phomvihane, the Province Governor, and Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Vice Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment in Savannakhet province.

UNICEF Calls for Continued Support in Two Windows of Human Capital Investment: Early Childhood and Adolescence

Vientiane, 7 September – Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, started today in Savannakhet her first field visit since she officially presented her credentials and met with H.E. Mr. Santiphap Phomvihane, the Province Governor, and Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Vice Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment. During this meeting, participants discussed about key development achievements and challenges, and followed up on provincial commitments and coordination mechanisms for resource planning, monitoring and reporting.

“It is a great honor for Savannakhet province to welcome Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, in her first mission as UNICEF Representative. This is the most populous province in Lao PDR and, unfortunately, two-thirds of children under 18 years old suffer deprivations in three or more dimensions of well-being, despite the progress done over the last years. We hope to continue working with UNICEF and partners to improve their situation,” stated Mr. Santiphap Phomvihane.

For Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury this visit represents another important milestone in the subnational planning initiative “UNICEF is supporting the Government of Lao PDR, through the Ministry of Planning and Investment, to strengthen the capacity of provincial authorities to develop child friendly plans, budgets as well as to measure the progress on child-related indicators at provincial level. It is our hope that this process which started last year will continue in 2020 by taking stock of lessons learnt. This important learning will guide our future work on sub-national interventions,” he explained.

Dr. Britto congratulated the Governor on the implementation of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) and his efforts in developing the 9th Provincial Socio-Economic Development Plan (PSEDP). In addition, she acknowledged the province’s achievements in terms of health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and child protection which have led to significant advances for children in the last 10 years. However, given the high rates of deprivation among children in this province, Dr. Britto highlighted the need to put in place multisectoral approaches to reduce child poverty.

“Continued leadership and support from provincial authorities are crucial to take advantage of the window of opportunity that is open during the first 1,000 days of life of a child, and later on, during the second decade, where access to quality education, skills development, employment opportunities, access to sexual and reproductive health, and protection from abuse and exploitation are key issues to address,” said UNICEF Representative.

As children are going back to school for the new year, education was another of the key topics discussed during the meeting. “Increasing budgets for education will improve access to quality education, improve household wellbeing and contribute to Human Capital Development. The projected economic slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic makes it even more important to protect the education budget,” stated Dr. Pia Britto.

After the meeting with the Governnor, UNICEF’s delegation visited the Youth Media Group and met with the young journalists and representatives from the Lao National Radio. Dr. Pia Britto was interviewed on the safely back to school campaign and the impact of COVID-19 on children.

This mission will continue on 8 September with a field visit to Sepon district to observe UNICEF-supported interventions, and on 9 September with the dissemination of the SMART Survey results to relevant officials in the province.

 

Dr Pia Rebello Britto was interviewed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and the safely back to school campaign.
Dr Pia Rebello Britto was interviewed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and the safely back to school campaign.

Media Contacts

Tabongphet Phouthavong
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Lao PDR
Tel: +856 21 315200 Ext. 123
Tel: +856 20 96888890

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