Adolescents echo ideas about ‘my body, my rights’ to celebrate the International Day of a Girl Child

Ethnic youth and young LGBTIQ+ came and joined the debate competition event in Houayxay district, in Bokeo Province on the theme of ‘my right, my body’ to celebrate the International Day of a Girl Child 2022 (IDG). Those adolescents debated sexual reproductive health, rights, equality for girls, and girls’ leadership.

Plan International Laos, Provincial Education and Sports Services, and Provincial Women Union held safeguarding, gender equality, and inclusion training as well as public speaking and debate competition for candidates on Sep 23-25 to prepare the youth before the actual debate competition event on Oct 2-3 in Houayxay.

Acting Deputy Country Director – Programmes of Plan International Laos, Mr. Vilasak Viraphanh says, “It is significant to provide a safe space for young people to raise their voice, express their idea and showcase their competency of public speaking and defend their belief by using evidence, speaking skills, teamwork, and time management appropriately.”

Plan International has worked with children and young people in Laos to advance their rights to education, health, and equality for girls to raise their voices since 2007. We intend to benefit 1.028 million people, including 700,000 adolescent girls during the next five years. Our Country Strategy prioritises adolescent girls, especially those from ethnic communities.”

Before the debate competition event, the candidates, three young master of ceremony, and judges strengthened their capacity for public speaking and debate competitions for three days. During the training, the facilitators demonstrated the preparation steps of debating, researching resources, and how to debate. Young people observed, learned, and rehearsed the debate competition in front of their peers and chaperones.

The head of the team SakkunaLachamp highlighted skills she learned from the training. “Public speaking is one of the necessary skills for debating, and it is required to practice regularly to become naturally speaking on the stage.”

Eight debate teams from seven secondary schools in Houayxay district participated in the debate competition this year. The final round was a competition between the Sakkuna Lachamp and the Samakhi Khuephalang to win a 5-million-kip scholarship on the topic of ‘Choose to become different gender from what you’re born is incorrect. The scholarships were 11 million kip in total, a 3-million-kips scholarship for the first runner-up, a 2-million-kip scholarship for the second runner-up, and a 1-million-kip scholarship for the consolation prize.

“It was exciting and challenging to speak in public, and against our opposition. The topic is important and highlights the current situation in our country. Every human being has equal rights to be and to do whatever we wish,” says the second opposition of the winning team, the Sakkuna Lachamp.

Since 2016, Plan International Laos, with the government, and development partners, has promoted equality for girls at the IDG event that is annually held at the national level to celebrate the Nang Noi’s Framework in different themes of each year such as children’s rights, gender equality for girls, education, sexual reproductive health, among others.

Source: Lao News Agency

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