- Technology

Advocating for girls’ education in local communities through airwaves

COVID-19 has resulted in widespread disruption to people’s lives. Particularly, it has disrupted children’s learning due to the closing of schools.

Realizing the need and urgency to ‘keep girls in the picture’, UNDP Lao PDR and UNESCO, in partnership with the Ministry and Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT), and Plan International Laos, today launched a project on “Championing girls’ and women’s education in COVID-19 recovery through community radio in the Lao PDR”.

The project was launched with a training session for 30 young women community radio volunteers and community radio station staff from Nakai District in Khammouane, Houne District in Oudomxay, and Ta-Oi District in Salavan to train and mentor the participants on crafting key messages and radio programmes to challenge gender stereotypes and promote gender equality, and advocate for girls’ education.

Co-chaired by Mr. Somsavath Phongsa, Director General of Mass Media Department, MICT, and Mr. Seán O’Connell, Head of Governance Unit at UNDP, the training focuses on analyzing social and gender norms to promote girls’ education in rural communities.

The training aims to facilitate an understanding of the differences and similarities between genders, as well as exploring the social and cultural norms that colour our understanding of gender.

“This project will support community-led advocacy by young women and girls to ‘keep girls in the picture’ in COVID-19 education recovery efforts, resulting in the broadcasting of gender-responsive radio programming, including to rurally based people speaking ethnic languages”, said Mr. Somsavath Phongsa, Director General of Mass Media Department.

“Girls’ education is crucial for Laos to recover from COVID-19. Central to this will be reaching girls and young boys in rural and remote areas from different ethnic groups. UNDP’s ‘Enhancing People’s Participation through Community Radio’ project is the perfect vehicle for this initiative. We are delighted to partner with MICT, UNESCO and PLAN to contribute to the empowerment of young girls and women,” said Mr. Seán O’Connell, Head of Governance Unit at UNDP.

Under the Community Radio project, MICT and UNDP have increased access to information for rural and remote communities, including through local languages. The project has helped to communicate key messages on safe migration, COVID-19 prevention, combatting gender-based violence and agricultural development to 12 communities across the country. UNDP and MICT welcome opportunities to explore collaboration with new partners to strengthen and grow community radios in the Lao PDR.

Source: Lao News Agency