Photo: UNDP Lao PDR

Vientiane, 7th August 2020- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a new support project for youth in Lao PDR - “Enhancing Social and Economic Opportunities for Youth in Lao PDR” with generous financial support from the Russian Federation in the amount of USD 1.5 million in partnership with National Partners, namely the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the Lao Youth Union and the Lao Women’s Union.

This project intends to create an enabling environment for youth to realise their potential and to undertake important and fulfilling socio-economic roles under the framework of comprehensive national youth policy. It aims to empower youth in the country economically and socially, as they are agents of change by identifying and protecting their needs and interest, and by creating positive development.

The target provinces benefitting from this support are Khammouan and Huaphan provinces. A model youth TVET facility will be established in Khammouan province, with a particular focus on the agricultural sector to strengthen rural and agricultural livelihoods capacities of marginal/disadvantaged youth. Increased business opportunities and SME development skills for young women entrepreneurs in Huaphan province. Finally, an inclusive social platform will be established in these two provinces to strengthen youth participation, with a special focus on rural and ethnic population, in the decision-making processes through youth-led Community Radio and the Youth Innovation Challenge utilising the UNDP Accelerator Lab.

UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Ricarda Rieger, emphasized the importance of support for youth in Lao PDR at this time of the global COVID-19 pandemic with unprecedented socio-economic aftermath. Young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions the pandemic has caused, and many are now at risk of being left behind in education, employment, well-being and social engagement. It was noted that the project seeks to address these challenges and intends to engage young people to drive economic and social development as change-makers themselves.

The Russian Ambassador to Lao PDR, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Kalinin, congratulated the UNDP for the successful launch of the project. He also consented that young people have a great potential to drive economic and social development, and the project would provide a timely intervention to support young people in Lao PDR. He also stressed the importance of the project for Russia in the sense of contribution to the sustainable development, the establishment of the partnership and mutual learning.

The Project Launch gathered representatives of all Lao partners as well as development partners. The project has a duration of 24 months, until 2022.

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Aksonethip Somvorachit, Communications Analyst at UNDP Lao PDR

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