(KPL) The Lao PDR currently has over 2.07 million young people in the age group of 10 to 24 years. This large group of young people can significantly contribute to the social and economic development of a sustainable future for the country.
Their potential can be harnessed if they are equipped with correct knowledge, skills and confidence and they have the right opportunities available to them.
The Lao Youth Union and UNFPA organized three-day training for 24 youth volunteers from the Lao Youth Union, Vientiane Youth Centre and the National University of Laos on May 26.
The training aims to establish a network of youth volunteers and prepare them to lead actions amongst peers on the issues that matter to them and their communities.
“The young people now have several opportunities as well challenges. The social media connects them to the world and provides with information. They also face different vulnerabilities. The young people need to be provided with correct knowledge, opportunities and tools to take decisions with confidence,” said Mr. Somkiao Kingsada, Director General of International Cooperation Department of Lao Youth Union.
This effort is part of the launched in 2019. The youth were trained on the topics of reproductive and sexual health and rights of young people programme of action of the international conference of population and development, and sustainable development goals. The participants discussed the needs of adolescents and young people regarding health, education, employment, protection and participation. The existing interventions of the Lao government and development partners on comprehensive sexuality education, youth friendly health services, family planning, universalization of education and skills development were shared with the volunteers. The challenges faced by the young people in these areas were also deliberated and the participants identified potential youth actions for advocacy and awareness.
The UNFPA Representative Ms. Mariam Khan said that “Empowered youth are powerful agents of social change and drivers of sustainable development. We need more youth led action and youth participation in decision making. This group of youth volunteers will make valuable contributions in accelerating the progress towards achieving the Noi 2030 Framework objectives and sustainable development goals.”
Participatory methodologies were used to allow the volunteers to learn about gender equality, addressing gender based violence, promoting male engagement and environment protection. Specific sessions were also devoted for discussions on the impact of COVID–19 and potential youth led actions for mitigating negative impact of COVID–19 on adolescents and young people.
The training also covered sessions on communication, facilitation and presentation skills where the participant learnt these skills and had an opportunity to practice. The youth volunteers also made short videos as one communication approach.
The trained youth volunteers expressed their commitment for driving youth led actions for accelerating the progress towards achieving the objectives of the Noi 2030 Framework, and Sustainable Development Goals.