Training of trainer's workshop promotes gender equality in the UXO sector

Vientiane 13 December 2018 - Lao Women's Union, in collaboration with UN Women and the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO and Mine Action Sector is conducting a capacity building workshop on how to promote gender rights in the UXO sector.

The training from December 11-13 at the Lao Women’s Union Training Center in Vientiane is piloting a sector specific manual which covers all phases of mine action- from mine clearance and risk education to victim assistance and advocacy.

The workshop will culminate with certifications for trainers who have proved their ability to apply their newly acquired knowledge to train UXO staff in Vientiane and in the provinces including Khammuan, Savannakhet and Xieng Khuang.

“I came from far away to attend the workshop, it is the first one I have been invited to. I am so happy for the skills I am gaining which I can bring back to my male and female colleagues in the demining teams,” a participant from Xieng Khuang province stated.

According to Lao Women’s Union, the workshop is part of a larger gender-specific project in the UXO sector, funded by the Government of Canada. Such interventions are timely, given the growing recognition that women can be victims not only as a direct result of UXO accidents, but also when their husbands, who are the main breadwinners, perish or become disabled due to a UXO accident.

In addition, this leaves the women with the responsibility of providing for the family and also caring for children and the household. Women are also active partners and role models displaying their skills and capacities in the demining work in the fields.

The objective of the workshop is in line with the priorities of the Lao Women’s Union to promote women’s rights and the Lao government’s commitment to advance gender equality in all sectors.

It also supports progress towards the National Action Plan for Gender Equality for 2016-2020 and Lao PDR’s own national Sustainable Development Goal 18 (SDG 18), to remove the obstacles that UXOs pose to national development by 2030.

Integrating gender into the UXO and mine action sector will undoubtably enhance the crucial role that UXO operators are playing in poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

This workshop a promising step in that direction. The workshop is being co-chaired by the Vice President of Lao Women’s Union, Mrs Bouachan Syhanath and Charge d’ affaires and Head of the Canadian Embassy Office in Vientiane, Mr Timothy Edwards.

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