Overview of Lao PDR
World Vision recognises that vulnerability of children is very high in Lao PDR.
A report released by UNICEF in 2018, Measuring Progress on Child Wellbeing in Lao PDR, reported that approximately 70% of children aged below 18 in Lao PDR experience at least two form of deprivation, with consequences for lifelong productive and social participation, 50% of children are suffering from three or more deprivations at the same time, and only 12% of children experience no deprivation at all. 25% of Lao mothers/caregivers of children aged 1-14 believe that physical punishment is necessary and a high prevalence of child marriage is observed with one in three women aged 20-49 married before they reach the age of 18, with 7% married before age of 15.
Nutrition & Health
High needs are observed in maternal and child health with high rates of malnutrition observed in children under 5 years (Stunting 33%, Wasting 9% and underweight 21%)1, a Maternal Mortality ratio of 185.0, and Adolescent Birth Rate of 65.4 – all the highest prevalence in the East Asia region.
In Education, the mean years of school is 5.3 years and the low spending in education is reflected in low education quality and learning. While the average student spends over 10.8 years in school, he/she learns the equivalent of only 6.4 years during that period. Student comprehensive learning outcomes are concerning with on average, only one in three Grade 3 students meeting literacy standards2 and nearly 40% of children under the age of 5 - a crucial period for neural development - having no access to early learning opportunities.
Food Security & Livelihood
While agriculture is the main source of livelihood in Laos, food security remains challenging, especially for districts affected by unexploded ordnance (UXOs), with more than 2 million tons dropped between 1964 and 1973 with 30% failing to detonate. The impact of these on poverty is clear, with 42 of the 46 poorest districts affected by UXOs.