Australian Ambassador to Laos, John Williams, left, shakes hands with the representative of Care International
(KPL) The Australian government has provided over 6.4 billion kip (USD 787,000) for the “Standing Up, Speaking Out” programme through Care International and the Lao Women’s Union.
The objective of the programme aims to reduce violence against women in the Lao PDR through prevention and increased access to community-based response mechanisms.
This programme will support ‘change agents’ to contribute to changing social norms about Violence against Women and to change attitudes that perpetuate the problem.
It will also empower men and women, including community leaders, to take action to prevent and respond to Violence against Women in their communities.
“I hope it will produce more of the evidence and knowledge on the importance of social norm change in the Lao PDR,” said Australian Ambassador to Laos, John Williams.
The two-year programme will be implemented in 10 villages in Sekong, 10 in Phongsaly and 20 in Vientiane.
This builds on the success of the first two-year phase of “Standing Up, Speaking Out”, which sparked significant conversations on social media when 10 prominent Lao men took a stand against violence against women.
He said that over 30% of women in the Lao PDR have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence in their lifetime, according to the 2014 National Study on Women’s Health and Life Experiences, by the National Commission on the Advancement of Women and the Lao Statistics Bureau.
Violence against women is unacceptable anywhere, anytime.
Eliminating violence against women, everywhere, is a priority of the Australian government, and a central part of its foreign policy and overseas aid programme. It is a vital dimension of its work to promote gender equality globally.
Violence against women has a profound and devastating impact on its victims, on communities, and society as a whole.
Violence against women is a symptom of gender inequality, and takes many forms, but underlying it all is the idea that women and girls do not have the same importance and rights as men and boys.