UNICEF Strengthens Lao Women’s Union Staff’s Capacity and Protection Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Vientiane, LAO PDR, 10 September 2020 – UNICEF Lao PDR today handed over a vehicle, IT equipment and hygiene and recreational kits worth around USD 48,545 to the Lao Women’s Union (LWU) to support their work in addressing all forms of violence against women and children and human trafficking during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lao PDR.
Procured with the generous support from the Government of Japan, KOICA, UNICEF Australia and USAID, the equipment handed over include one van, twelve laptops, six printers, three LCD projectors, six WIFI pockets, six Hard drives and hygiene and recreational kits, which are expected to benefit more than 1,000 women and children. These equipment’s will be distributed among key departments, including the Department of Planning and International Cooperation, Department of Women in Development, National Commission for the Advancement of Women and Mother - Child and two Counselling and Protection Centers in Vientiane Capital and Luang Namtha province.
“We will use the equipment that UNICEF has provided to an effectively utilize and build the capacity of our staff so that they are able to provide supervision and monitoring support to the LWU at the sub-national level and to provide assistance to caregivers in performing their duties especially in women and child protection,” said H.E Mrs. Inlavanh Keobounphanh, President of the Lao Women’s Union, at the handover ceremony conducted at the Lao Women’s Union Training Center in Vientiane Capital.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of children’s lives in Lao PDR. The confinement caused by the lockdown, school closures and limited availability of social services on the ground due to COVID-19 have all contributed to increased stress levels among families and a rise in cases of domestic violence and other child-related issues, such as child marriage and online protection.
“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the LWU shelter has provided services to over 387 women and children to help make them feel safer during these troubling times,” H.E Mrs. Inlavanh KEOBOUNPHNH added.
“The COVID-19 pandemic presents a serious health and social crisis for Lao PDR as well as for other countries around the world, with women and girls from low-income families being particularly vulnerable to its impact. The loss of employment, lack of access to information, healthcare and social services have heightened the risks for them to become victims of violence, exploitation, neglect, abuse and trafficking,” said Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, Representative of UNICEF in Lao PDR. “UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Lao PDR and its partners to provide the support and protection that social workers require to continue providing their services to every child during the COVID-19 pandemic,” concluded Dr. Pia Rebello Britto.
UNICEF is calling on the Government of Lao PDR to designate social service workers as essential service providers and to provide them with adequate compensation for their services, technology, protective gear and training.
Find out more about UNICEF’s agenda for action on the coronavirus.
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