Workplace Breastfeeding Awards
Introduction to Laos Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Awards
With efforts by government and many development partners, breastfeeding rates in Laos have steadily increased from 40% in 2011 (LSIS-1), to 70% in 2023 (Lao PDR National Nutrition Sentinel Surveillance – June 2023). While these overall increases have been positive, there are on-going challenges from Breastmilk Substitutes (powdered milk products) and other factors.
Additionally, rates of breastfeeding for working mothers are much lower. In July 2022, SUN CSA Laos conducted a survey on breastfeeding, which found that only 30% of breastfeeding staff had breastfed at their workplace, and 61% of staff didn’t know their workplace breastfeeding policy.
SUN Laos member organisations are aware of the challenges and working to improve breastfeeding rates. In partnership with the Government of Lao PDR, as well as other stakeholders in the SUN Laos, including international donors and the UN, civil society organisations are looking for solutions and working to mitigate these challenges.
To celebrate improvements in workplace breastfeeding rates, SUN Laos has developed an annual ‘Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award’.
The awards are given based on a workplaces’ policies and practices that support staff to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6-months and to continue to breastfeed once they have returned to work.
The scoring is based on the SUN CSA Laos “10 steps to support breastfeeding staff in your workplace”.
There are several levels of Awards:
BRONZE: 3 points out of 10.
SILVER: 4-7 points out of 10.
GOLD: 8-10 points out of 10.
PLATNIUM: 8+ points for “10 best practices” and 5+ points for “Breastfeeding room items”.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A BREASTFEEDING-FRIENDLY WORKPLACE AWARD:
To receive an Award, any Lao workplace can fill in the survey.
The Awards are open to any workplace in Lao PDR, including businesses, international and Lao civil society organizations, government departments and other development partners.
To get an offline copy of the survey, please send an email to the SUN CSA Secretariat at: email@example.com or go to this link.
Surveys can be filled in at any time during the year. Most workplaces will be asked to submit their forms between 1st June to 10th July.
Survey results will be reviewed, and workplaces contacted to confirm details.
Awards will be made during the World Breastfeeding Week in 1-7th August each year.
To improve your workplace’s award level, it is suggested each workplace review the criteria and try to complete more of the criteria before submitting your survey form. Many criteria are no cost or low-cost.
If you want to discuss the criteria and ask how to improve your workplace breastfeeding policies and practice, please contact the SUN CSA Secretariat.
The criteria was developed based on best practice suggested by workplaces in Laos.
The criteria includes the following:
- Adopt a written Breastfeeding policy & promote-share with staff annually.
- Provide lactation breaks during work hours (2 x 30-minute breaks suggested).
- Provide a private space to express milk or breastfeed.
- Provide information to pregnant staff and support them to make a breastfeeding plan for returning to work.
- Train managers & supervisors on rights of staff to Breastfeed and how to provide support.
- Create a supportive work environment (encouraging staff to continue to breastfeed).
- Offer flexible work arrangements (WFH etc.).
- Consider 6-month paid maternity leave.
- Limit field travel & pay for a carer when travel is needed.
- Offer lactation support/counselling to staff.
Criteria for Breastfeeding rooms includes:
- Window shades and door lock for privacy.
- Comfortable chair and cushion.
- Refrigerator (to store milk).
- Drinking water.
- A sink and cleaning equipment.
- Hot water for drinking and sterilizing/cleaning.
- A toilet-ensuite.
- Toys for children.
- Priority access for the mother to use (if shared space with meeting room etc).
- Breast pump for loan.
Current Awards for “Laos Breastfeeding Friendly Workplaces” include:
- Bronze Award
Association for Community Development (ACD)
Sustainable Agricultural and Environment Development Association (SAEDA)
- Silver Award
Association for Mutual Assistance (AMA)
Association for Development of Women and Legal Education (ADWLE)
SUSTAINABLE ASA MOBILIZING DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (SAMDA)
Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
Khao Kai Noi GI Management Association of Xieng Khouang Province
The Association for Green
Women Mobilizing for Development Association (MHP)
Caritas Luxembourg in Laos
Catholic Relief Services Laos
SNV Netherland Development Organization
Rural Community Development Association of Champasak Province
Swiss Red Cross Laos
- Gold Award
Khong District Community Development Association (KCDA)
Community Development Association (CoDA)
World Vision Laos
Plan International Laos
Green Community Alliance
Save the Children International Laos
- Platinum Award
Community Association for Salvation and Environment (CASE)
The Promotion of Family Health Association (PFHA)
CARE International in Lao PDR
Association for Rural Mobilisation and Improvement (ARMI)
JSI Research and Training Institute, lnc
Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS (APL+)
People with Disabilities Development Association of Xiengkhouang (PDDA)