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UNICEF gives boost to protection of women and children
 
Vulnerable women and children across the country, who are at risk of all forms of violence and trafficking, will benefit from increased protection services after Unicef provided essential supplies to the Lao’s Women Union (LWU) on Thursday.
The items donated included vehicles, IT equipment, and hygiene and recreational kits.
These will be distributed to key departments including the Department of Planning and International Cooperation, Department of Women in Development, National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children, and two Counselling and Protection Centres in Vientiane and Luang Namtha province. 
 The donated items will benefit more than 1,000 women and children and enable them to receive comprehensive support and protection while staying in shelters. LWU staff are working to protect women and children at the central and community levels, including in Luang Namtha and Attapeu provinces and Vientiane.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, LWU President Dr Inlavanh Keobounphanh said “Women play an important role in maintaining a family’s wellbeing to ensure that family members, especially children, are healthy physically, mentally and socially, so that they can actively participate in learning and skill development.”
“With continuous support from Unicef as our long-term partner to provide this equipment, the LWU will make the best use of these resources as a means to build capacity and enable caregivers to perform the important roles given to them in  protecting women and children.”
“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the LWU shelter has provided services to over 387 women and children, helping to reduce their worries and anxiety and making them feel safe during their stay in the shelter,” she added.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted children in Laos in many ways. Confinement, school closures, and the limited availability of social services caused children and families increased stress and led to an increase in domestic violence alongside other risks such as child marriage and online harm.
Unicef Representative Dr Pia Britto said “The central LWU plays a key role in building the capacity of staff to provide supervision and monitoring support to local branches of the Women’s Union for the wellbeing of whole families, especially to support children’s development so they can achieve their full potential.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a health as well a social crisis in Laos as well as in other countries, making women and girls, especially from low-income families, more vulnerable,” she added.
“The loss of employment, and lack of access to information, healthcare and social services, have heightened the risk of them becoming victims of violence, exploitation, neglect, abuse and trafficking,” Dr Pia said.
 Unicef is working closely with the Lao government and its partners to provide the support and protection that social workers need and deserve, so they can continue their work and services for vulnerable children in the face of Covid-19, a Unicef press release stated.
 Unicef is calling on governments to designate social service workers as essential service providers in the Covid-19 response, and to provide them with adequate funding for salaries, supportive technology, protective gear, and training.


By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
September 15,
2020)


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