More Than 1 In 20 Adolescent Girls Never Attend School

More than 1 in 20 adolescent girls have never attended school and 1 in 5 adolescent girls have dropped out of school in the Lao PDR, according to a UN study.

The study conducted by the United Nations Population Fund suggests that nearly 2 in 10 girls aged 15-19 are married and more than 1 in 10 girls aged 15-19 have begun childbearing.

There are 1.4 million adolescent boys and girls (aged 10-19), 21.9 per cent of the population in the country.

Nearly half of adolescent girls miss opportunities of fulfilling their potential because they are not in school. Most of them come from poor families and live in rural areas.

Adolescence is a crucial period in a girl’s life time. Supporting her to go safely through this time, helping her to learn and develop and preventing child marriage would dramatically improve learning outcomes for thousands of girls, said Mr Visanh Somphong, Director General, Non-formal Education Department, Ministry of Education and Sports.

Adolescent girls deserve to be healthy, happy and safe. They deserve to have opportunities to develop their talents and capacities so they can fulfill their goals. When adolescent girls are given proper tools and support, they can develop to their full potential and shape their own lives, support their families and their communities.

However, in the Lao PDR, like in many other parts of the world, adolescent girls remain behind in development efforts. They often fall between interventions that focus on mothers and children, the special needs of adolescents are often overlooked and limited data is available on the age group 10-19.

Once we provides all adolescent girls with opportunities to learn, they will start blossoming and the achievement of the national and global development agenda will be within our reach, said Ms Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative Laos.

In 2016, Noi was introduced to put adolescent girls and their specific needs at the forefront of the development agenda in the Lao PDR. Most importantly, Noi serves as a reminder to not leave adolescent girls behind in the SDG Agenda, as it was the case for the MDGs.

Under this broader Noi 2030 vision, UNFPA implements the Nang Noi-girls’ Group intervention with the aims to create as a supportive environment for girls in which they can develop their talents.

The Non-Formal Education Department of Ministry of Education and Sport, with support from Village Focus International and the United Nations Population Fund organized a meeting to validate the 10 first sessions of the Nang Noi-Girls Groups Programme content in Vientiane on Jun 6, 2018.

The Nang Noi-Grils’ Group Programme focuses on the most vulnerable girls and provides them with the necessary social, health, economic and cognitive assets in a playful manner.

The programme supports girls to make healthy choices in their live and informs her about consequences early marriage and pregnancy.

In the programme Noi will be with her peers and together they learn about important life skills that enable them to think about their future.

Source: Lao News Agency