Celebrating the 58th anniversary of Lao Women’s Union with a walkathon in Luangnamtha, Lao PDR.
Photo: WFP/ Mingngakham Pangnasak
Both young and old came out to play at Lao Women's Union Day!
LUANGNAMTHA PROVINCE - Staff from WFP's Luangnamtha Sub-Office participated in a ‘walkathon’, along with more than 200 residents from seven surrounding villages, to celebrate the 58th anniversary of the Lao Women’s Union. Setting out from the Provincial Cultural Hall at 6:00am, walkers carried a banner which read “Promoting Mother and Child Health on the occasion of the Lao Women’s Union 58th anniversary”.
Lao Women’s Union (LWU) is one of WFP’s cooperating partners in Lao PDR. Established in 1966, LWU promotes development needs, the status and role of women and unity amongst women of different ethnic groups and social strata throughout the country.
Celebrations began with the early morning ‘walkathon’ through Luangnamtha, starting and finishing at the Provincial Cultural Hall. Following the walk, an official ceremony was held with speeches from LWU representatives and high-ranking officials from Luangnamtha province. The "mother and child health" theme selected for this year’s anniversary event is considered a widespread issue in the country.
“We have been working with the Lao Women’s Union for over a decade now,” shared Air Sensomphone, Head of WFP Luangnamtha Sub-Office. “At the district level, LWU helps us monitor our programme activities. In villages, they tell people about our education and nutrition programmes.”
Board of the Luangnamtha Provincial Lao Women’s Union. Photo: WFP/ Mariko Hall
Over 40 percent of Lao children under five years of age have stunted growth as a result of undernutrition. Stunting is an intergenerational problem - malnourished mothers are more likely to bear malnourished children. To combat this, WFP works together with LWU on the Mother and Child Health and Nutrition programme (MCHN).
WFP's MCHN programme takes a comprehensive approach to preventing stunting by targeting children in their first 1000 days of life. In community health facilities, WFP provides pregnant women with a nutritional supplement called ‘Nutributter’, as well as glutinous rice, to serve as an incentive for them to attend check-ups regularly. Children 6 - 23 months are given 'Plumpy 'doz' to ensure their diets have essential nutrients for healthy growth.
“This event recognizes the importance of women in Lao PDR and make us happy to celebrate today,” said Khampheng Luangleusay, Chief of Provincial LWU. “This will encourage women, especially those in the province, to contribute more to the communities. Thanks to all our sponsors who support us, and thanks to WFP for recognizing the importance of our day by celebrating with us.”
Based in Dubai, Mariko is a Communications Analyst for the IT Emergency and Preparedness branch. Prior to joining WFP in 2009, Mariko worked in Public Relations where her projects included an award-winning education campaign in Sudan.