Joining Hands to Support the Government of Lao PDR to Better Address Child Protection Issues and Strengthen Social Protection During COVID-19
With the assistance from the Government of Australia, UNICEF has provided PPE and IT equipment to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to better address child protection issues and deliver social protection during the pandemic.
Vientiane, 9 February – UNICEF Lao PDR today handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) and IT equipment with a combined total value of USD 83.725 to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) to support the Government of Lao PDR’s COVID-19 pandemic response and strengthen social protection in the country.
Procured with funding from the Government of Australia, the items handed over to the MoLSW consisted of two components serving two objectives: (1) PPE and IT equipment to support the Lao Government in addressing child protection issues during the pandemic; and (2) IT equipment to support the implementation of the social protection programme “Leaving no one behind: Establishing the basis for social protection floors in Lao PDR”.
“Both the PPE and the IT equipment supported by UNICEF will greatly contribute to the Ministry’s work to address child protection issues during the pandemic as well as our work in establishing the basis for social protection floors in the country,” stated H.E. Mme. Baykham Khatthiya, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare.
The equipment handed over to MoLSW as part of UNICEF’s Child Protection support included PPE consisting of 270 latex gloves, 61 multipurpose infrared thermometers and 244 alcohol sanitizer bottles, alongside IT equipment consisting of 33 sets of laptops, LCD projectors, hard drives, printers and mobile WIFI pockets with a total value of USD 53,550. These items will be distributed to social workers from the Department of Labour and Social Welfare at the sub-national levels encompassing 17 provinces to strengthen their capacity to address child protection issues in Lao PDR during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, UNICEF’s Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation section has contributed IT equipment to MoLSW with a total value of USD 30,175, consisting of 12 laptops and 50 tablets, which will be used to support the Ministry’s work in implementing the United Nations Joint Programme (UNJP) “Leaving no one behind: Establishing the basis for social protection floors in Lao PDR”. Supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the programme aims to support the Lao Government in implementing the National Social Protection Strategy 2025, through a system strengthening approach and the design and implementation of an integrated cash transfer pilot. The IT equipment provided will be distributed to implementing units of the programme, primarily at the district level and in healthcare centres in Sanamxay District of Attapeu province along with Nong District of Savannakhet province.
“The Australian Government is proud to support the Government of Lao PDR in its efforts to strengthen its COVID-19 pandemic response and ensure that Lao children receive adequate protection during the pandemic. We are also delighted to be supporting the Lao Government in ensuring access to basic social protection floor for all Lao people, especially health insurance, social security and social welfare,” stated H.E. Mr. Paul Kelly, Australian Ambassador to the Lao PDR.
The equipment handed over to MoLSW is aligned to UNICEF’s global call on governments to designate social service workers as essential service providers in the COVID-19 pandemic response, and to provide them with adequate support to carry out their duty.
In addition to this, at least 1,400 children and pregnant women are also expected to benefit from the new integrated package of welfare services under the UNJP programme.
“Understanding the crucial role that social workers play, UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Lao PDR and its partners to provide the support and protection they require to continue providing their services to every child during the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Ms. Beate Dastel, UNICEF Representative, OIC. “We will also continue to provide technical support to the government on the social protection discourse,” she further added.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.