General

Laos promotes trainers on parenting package for improving quality life of children

(KPL) The Lao Women’s Union in collaboration with UNICEF in Laos held a training of trainers on the parenting package, aiming at improving the quality of life and future prospects of children in Laos.

The five-day training programme was begun on February 3 in Vientiane in attendance of officials from several ministries of Education and Sports, Health, Interior, Labour and Social Welfare and the Lao Front for National Development and provincial representatives from Bokeo, Savannakhet and Attapeu.

Vice President of the Lao Women’s Union, Ms Bouachanh Sihanat said that the objective of this programme is to create quality trainer teams for promoting awareness of parents across the country by working with Lao Women’s Union in provinces and districts.

She called on participants to pay all efforts on discussing and sharing ideas in order to create awareness for parent to understand more on taking care their children as well as community participation.

Deputy Representative of UNICEF Lao PDR, Ms Beate Dastel said that Parenting Package is designed to engage parents and provide them with the knowledge and tools they need to enable nurturing care. By collaborating with our government counterparts, UNICEF hopes to influence and transform the lives of children by building positive parenting practices within families and the wider community.

The things children experience in the first years of life have a powerful impact on their health, potential and productivity as adults. Proper care, protection and the way in which children are parented from birth, powerfully influences brain functioning, intellectual development and social adaptability in ways that impact the family, community and ultimately the national economy.

There is increased understanding of the importance of investing in the early years in Lao PDR and a commitment in government to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) related to early childhood. The Government of Lao PDR has introduced several initiatives designed to improve early childhood outcomes. According to LSIS, there were significant improvements in the quality of life for Lao children between 2011 and 2017.

Nevertheless, significant challenges remain and are a major focus for the Lao PDR parenting strategy. Despite considerable progress in improving the quality of life and future prospects of children in Lao PDR, significant gaps exist in early childhood care and development. The LSIS-II highlighted inadequate immunization coverage, poor nutrition, poor sanitation and hygiene, inadequate access to or participation in pre-primary education, declining birth registration, poor infant stimulation and high levels of physical punishment. Disparities are high, with rural households and families where mothers have little education facing significant disadvantages.

While addressing these issues require further attention and investments in health, education and social protection institutions, it is the home and family that have the most significant influence on child development. Raising a child is a complex, multi-faceted process that involves many decisions, actions and responses. Like parents everywhere else in the world, Lao parents have a strong wish for their children to grow up happy and healthy. They want to make the best possible choice for their children’s growth.

Everyone in the room here today has a valuable part to play to help empower parents to adopt healthy behaviours that contribute to their children’s optimal early childhood development. The people you train will go on to empower the primary implementers piloting at community level.

Together, we will help reach families and children throughout our pilot provinces over the next six months, and throughout the rest of the country over the next few years. Ultimately, the outcome of this programme will be used to help build the case for more effective policies and increased investments in improved parenting for early childhood development in Lao PDR.

The foundation of a nation’s human capital is established in early childhood because it is one of the two key windows of opportunity to build the human capital of the young population. And now, it’s time for us to seize the opportunity.

UNICEF is committed to continue working with the government of the Lao PDR and looking forward to witnessing behaviour change and positive development in families and communities.

Source: Lao News Agency