Empowering Survivors: Inauguration of Protection Shelters for Victims of Gender-Based Violence in Lao PDR

11 December 2023 in Bolikamxay, and 13 December 2023 in Chaampasak, Lao PDR –  The “Counseling and Protection Centre for Women and Children” takes a momentous step in bolstering the well-being of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) survivors with the official opening and handover of protection shelters in Bolikamxay and Champasak provinces.

This initiative, a cornerstone of the “Safer Cities” vision, is dedicated to elevating the health, safety, and overall welfare of individuals residing in isolation facilities, community centers, and at-risk communities in Lao PDR. Made possible through the generous support of the Government of Japan, and led by UNFPA in collaboration with UN-Habitat, this project marks a significant stride towards creating safer spaces for those affected by GBV.

The Counseling and Protection Centre for Women and Children, in alignment with the “Safer Cities” concept, aims to fortify the response to COVID-19 and mitigate the enduring risks of Gender-Based Violence. This comprehensive approach includes the provision of sustainable WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) facilities, enhancements to isolation facility structures, gender-responsive support and health services, and the creation of women-friendly spaces.

The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been profound, and Lao PDR has not been immune. Amid the pandemic, reported cases of violence against women surged worldwide, reflecting the heightened socio-economic concerns of the time. While the pandemic may have subsided, the looming threat of gender-based violence persists.

These newly inaugurated centers symbolize hope for those who have faced or continue to face the real and potential threats of GBV. Managed collaboratively by the Lao Women’s Union (LWU) in partnership with provincial governments, it is estimated that 350 women and children will receive support in the first year of operation, with ongoing assistance projected for 500 women and children annually.

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