Social Inclusion

A fair chance for every child

Young Hmong girls
UNICEF Laos/2017/Saykoson

Challenges

In recent years, more children in Lao PDR are enjoying their rights and more are benefitting from the country’s recent economic growth.

Strong economic growth, driven primarily by natural resources and energy sectors, enabled the country to move from a low-income to a lower-middle-income country in 2011. The economy grew at 6.7 per cent in 2017, and poverty has fallen by half. 

Lao PDR has fulfilled in 2018 the eligibility criteria to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status for the first time. If the country sustains development gains and meets the criteria again in 2021, it will be formally removed from the list of LDCs in 2024. 

As development partners adapt their assistance strategies to better reflect the country’s economic transition, there may be challenges leveraging resources for the most vulnerable children in hard-to-reach areas.

The most vulnerable children are those from poor families living in remote rural areas, and those whose mothers have had little educational opportunities. These children are more likely to be deprived of education, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and protection services.

Solutions

UNICEF is working hand in hand with the Government and development partners to ensure that the national policy environment and systems for children, particularly the most disadvantaged, are strengthened through improved evidence generation, policy analysis, advocacy and communication, and knowledge management.

Our work on social inclusion focuses on supporting disaggregated data collection, analysis and use, inclusive social policy, planning, public finance for children, strengthening of the national monitoring and evaluation frameworks of the 8th National Socioeconomic Development Plan (NSEDP) and SDGs.

UNICEF has technically and financially supported the LSIS II using MICS6 platform which has generated disaggregated data by age, sex, residence, region, province, ethno-linguistic profile of household head, mother’s education level and wealth quintile, enabling further analysis of disparities to support policy advocacy, programme formulation, monitoring and investment for children. LSIS II provides quality baseline data for monitoring and informing the 8th NSEDP, the upcoming Mid-Term Review, and to facilitate the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Voluntary National Review.

UNICEF has supported the National Institute for Economic Research in the development and dissemination of the National Research Framework (NRF) which provides a forward-looking research framework to generate evidence which will inform policy-making, planning and sharing of learning and knowledge.

The child budget analysis process has also been kicked off, engaging in Public Finance for Children to support the government for increased allocation and monitoring of budget expenditure.

In order to strengthen the routine data system, UNICEF has supported the development of provincial online database using DevInfo. This is an important milestone to improve sub-national planning, coordinating and monitoring.

On an annual basis, UNICEF conducts briefing and supports field monitoring for the National Assembly (NA) where issues related to the realization of children’s rights are discussed. This allows NA members to understand the situation on the ground and be better equipped to raise issues in the National Assembly sessions and debate and advocate for an increased budget allocation for social sectors.