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Women Lack Understanding of Gender Equality: Project Report

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The Vientiane Commission for the Advancement of Women and Mother and Child Affairs needs to create greater understanding of gender equality

among women in target districts of a project that aims to promote and create capacity development towards equality between women and men.

It is also noted that the rate of poverty reduction and progress made in gender equality differs considerably between urban and rural areas.

This was the view of participants at the National Sharing and Exchanging Meeting held yesterday as part of the Capacity Development for Citizen-led Inclusive Development project, an initiative funded by the European Union.

Among those present at the meeting was the Vice Mayor of Vientiane, MrSyhounSitthileuxay.

Mr. Phonesavanh Sethanapaisanh of the European Union Delegation to Laos thanked Oxfam for its contribution to this partnership, along with civil society organisations such as Oxfam’s partners MHP, PADETC, and LDA.

Also speaking at the meeting, Head of the Secretariat of the Vientiane Commission for the Advancement of Women and Mother and Child Affairs, Ms Souphone Voravong, said the project aimed to build women’s understanding of ways to improve their livelihoods and how to play a greater role in planning and decision making in their local communities, promote gender equality and greater opportunities for women, and contribute to poverty reduction initiatives.

She said the project had provided information on the importance of gender equality to local communities in Sangthong district but had struggled to make progress. Many of the ethnic groups in these villages are poor, especially in Napor, Nasa and other villages.

Associate Country Director Oxfam Laos, MrAntoninoFaibene, said Oxfam’s participation is the essence of the Citizen-led Inclusive Development project that recognises the fundamental role of active citizens, local governments and civil society organisations in contributing together as equals to the development of communities across Laos. It is indeed the objective of our partnership to contribute to increased citizen-led development and inclusive local governance, he added.

To do this, Oxfam imagines local authorities, non-state actors and communities engaging in participatory governance for inclusive local development; increased capacity, trust and cooperation between local authorities, non-state actors and communities leading to improved local governance; and learning good practice on inclusive and participatory development that can influence policy makers.

This is why poverty reduction that also tackles disparities within the country is a priority on the national agenda, MrFaibene said.

The 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan integrates the first Sustainable Development Goal to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, he added.

This is much needed as poverty is unevenly distributed in Laos as confirmed in a recently released report by the Lao Statistics Bureau, titled: Where Are the Poor?

The report highlights that poverty is widespread in mountainous areas along the border with Vietnam, while Savannakhet and Saravan provinces have more poor districts than other provinces.

Source: Vientiane Times