The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) joined the Lao Youth Union (LYU) and other partners to mark International Youth Day on 12-13 August, with the theme “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.”
This year’s theme amplifies the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind.
Accelerated actions are required to build youth capacity for making informed decisions that lead to a balanced life and fulfilled rights, on matters of sexual and reproductive health so they can pursue education, live free from coercion and violence and contribute to the workforce to realize the demographic dividend.
International Youth Day raises awareness of solidarity and collective actions that can leverage the full potential of all generations.
The celebration was led by LYU and was held at ITECC Mall. Multiple activities led by youth including drawing, dancing, exhibitions and debate competition. Panel discussions on urgent issues included Youth engagement to support LGBTIQ community, sexual and reproductive health and well being as well as youth engagement in protecting the environment. A first aid workshop was along with blood donations was also organized.
Mr. Monexay Laomoaxong, Secretary General of Lao Youth Union said, ” Youth is the first driving force for development and economy. They are at the age of learning and experiencing. Our role is to provide a conducive environment to access education and encourage them to be part of the social and economic planning.”
Additional celebrations led by the Vientiane Youth Center (VYC) were organized at Lanexang avenue under the theme: Youth create impact for parents. Youth led booth exhibitions of local products from women, vulnerable groups and LGBTIQ youth.
The afternoon panels were discussed to health and mental health issues, drugs use and youth aspirations and dreams. Through this exchanges, youth can be better prepared to have conversations with parents and gatekeepers.
Laos has a young population with over half of the population below 25 years of age. Youth are the driving force for the economic development, social welfare and prosperity of the country now and in the future.
UNFPA Representative to Laos, Ms. Mariam Khan, said during the celebration, “Today’s youth are talented, hopeful and capable. Promoting youth leadership and participation is a cornerstone of UNFPA’s work. UNFPA and partners invest in skills development, knowledge acquisition to make informed choices about their bodies, lives, families, and communities.”
VYC Volunteer, Mr. Souksavanh Siphinit, said “Youth need sexual and reproductive health information but they can be shy and hesitant. I feel proud as a young peer to support them to have access to the right information and services at VYC which provides youth friendly service without judgment, respecting privacy and confidentiality and ensuring care without discrimination.”