Inthana Bouphasavanh

Inthana Bouphasavanh

Inthana Bouphasavanh

Inthana Bouphasavanh is one of the founders of ADWLE which was officially established in 2012 as a Non-Profit Association in Lao PDR. She has been working as the Director of ADWLE since 2011. Her goal is to promote gender equality and women’s rights in an effort to encourage Lao women and girls to become agents for change and to uphold and exercise their rights individually and within their family and community.

Inthana is passionate and committed to advancing women’s rights. She has worked for over 10 years in the field of gender in a variety of professional roles. Her work at ADWLE builds upon her previous professional experience conducting trainings on gender related issues and CEDAW. She strongly believes in working with educational institutions and the community in order to promote behavioural change and encourage respect for the dignity of women. As the Director, Inthana is responsible for ensuring that ADWLE professionally delivers on its programs, is reliably and sustainably funded to do so and is fully accountable to its donors. She is also a main public face of the organisation, promoting its work locally, nationally and abroad.

Inthana has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the National University of Laos, Vientiane, and a Master’s degree in Teacher’s of English to Speakers of Other Languages from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. Inthana won a prestigious Australia award scholarship and studied in Australia in .

We say NO to violence against women

ADWLE Celebrates Ending Violence Against Women Day

4th December

Over 300 students participated in activities co-organised by ADWLE and the Sub-Commission for the Advancement of Women (Sub-CAW) to celebrate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Four Secondary Schools based in Vientiane Capital took part in the celebrations: Ho Chi Minh, Thadkhao, Phiawat and Chanthabury.

We say NO to violence against women

Each School performed a theatre piece which tackled different situations of gender-based violence, including rape, human trafficking and domestic violence.

At the end of their performance, one student from that school sung a song.

Students were also invited up onto the stage to participate in gender-based violence themed games, including a Q&A where they were asked questions about different aspects of gender-based violence.

We say NO to violence against women

“We are thrilled with the number of students who took part in today’s events,” said Phayao Phimmasone, Gender Manager for ADWLE.

“The room was filled with so much excitement and enthusiasm to get involved in the activities,” he said.

Two speeches were given by Mr. Somphou Kepanya, the Director of Vientiane Capital Educational and Sport Department, and Mrs. Souphone Volavong, Head of Sub-CAW, who talked about the background and purpose of ending violence against women day.

We say NO to violence against women

ADWLE aims to raise awareness among the Lao youth about gender norms and gender-based violence in order to promote gender equality.

“We hope that the future generations of Laos will have a deeper understanding of gender-based violence and become active in the fight against it,” said Inthana Bouphasavanh, Director of ADWLE.

This is the fifth consecutive year that ADWLE has been involved in coordinating activities to mark the day.

Each year a different Province is selected: Champasak Province (2014), Vientiane Capital (2013), Khammouane Province (2012) and Savannakhet Province (2011).

Integrating gender into teaching

ADWLE advances gender equality in education at Champasak University

19 June 2015

A further six faculties at Champasak University have received gender training from the Association for Development of Women and Legal Education (ADWLE), in an effort to empower its female students and improve attendance.

On 18-19 June 2015, ADWLE conducted a workshop for staff from the following faculties: Law and Political Sciences, Economics, Agriculture, Science and Mathematics, Education and Engineering, in a bid to ensure gender and women’s rights were consistently integrated into teaching practices and curricula.

ADWLE Director, Inthana Bouphasavanh, said statistics showed there were more male than female students enrolling in the University.

“The objective of the workshop was to integrate a gender dimension into teaching in an effort to improve female university attendance and to encourage female students to take on leadership roles,” she said.

“We want to challenge this mindset which categorises the genders through a very narrow lens: men are seen as leaders and women as wives.”

Integrating gender into teaching

A total of 20 teachers, of which half were women, attended the workshop which was lead by the head of the Sub-Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mrs. Bouaphan Latthida.

“When the teachers were asked how many had heard of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), only one teacher had, which demonstrates a clear need to carry out such workshops,” said Mrs. Latthida.

Since 2014, ADWLE has been training teachers from the law faculties of Champasak University and the National University of Laos, in Vientiane, on gender, CEDAW and women’s rights and how to integrate these concepts into their teaching.

Evaluation of 6 target villages

2,037 villagers attend raising awareness sessions on women’s rights

15 July 2015

Over 2000 villagers, of whom more than half were women, participated in raising awareness sessions held by the Association for Development of Women and Legal Education (ADWLE) between January and July 2015.

In July 2015, ADWLE completed its one year project working with, among others, six villages in Champasak Province to promote gender equality and an increase in rural women’s political participation.

“ADWLE is thrilled at the success of the project, with numbers exceeding our target of 300 participants,” ADWLE Director, Inthana Bouphavasanh, said.

12 Village Volunteers (VV) were trained to raise awareness in their villages about gender roles, labour division, national and international women’s rights laws and conventions and the protection of women and girls from human trafficking.

During the evaluation, VV stated: “Many villagers are aware of their rights and understand the women’s role and they both help each other to earn an income for their family which reduces incidences of fighting.”

Villagers themselves were grateful for the sessions saying that they now “understand how to apply a gender dimension into their families by treating women equally when it comes to decision making.”

Some villagers even said that they would vote for a female chief of village in an effort to empower women and to give them an opportunity to participate in the development of their villages.

The promotion of women’s rights within villages, particularly rural and ethnic minority communities, is one of the pillars of ADWLE’s work.

To date, the projects have been well received by the beneficiaries who have asked for continued assistance from ADWLE to disseminate knowledge and skills on laws related to women in order to have a deeper understanding of their own rights, family law and women’s rights.

Legal aid clinic opening

Women now have access to free legal assistance

6th November 2015

Since opening in early July this year, Lao PDR’s first legal aid clinic for vulnerable women has been deemed a success with 20 cases received so far; three cases of rape and 17 cases of physical and emotional abuse within the family.

The clinic, which is managed by the Association for Development of Women and Legal Education (ADWLE), provides a range of services including free legal assistance and support through the court system for female victims of gender-based violence, particularly those of Hmong ethnicity, general legal advice to the community for men and women, and outreach into targeted villages to raise awareness on women’s rights.

ADWLE Director, Inthana Bouphasavanh, said the clinic was one of the Association’s key projects and was pleased to have received support from international non-government organisations’ HELVETAS and the Swiss Agency of Development and Cooperation to make the clinic a reality.

“The legal aid clinic will be the first model run by a NPA (non-profit association) in Lao PDR and will be an appropriate place where women can exercise their rights to access the justice system,” she said.

Customary law, in the form of village mediation, is the dominant form of justice mechanism used and is deeply embedded in the psyche of communities.

The court system is seen as expensive, complicated and time consuming.

ADWLE aims to remove at least two of those barriers by offering free legal advice and assistance through the court process.

“When there is a legal clinic set up, men can learn more about domestic violence laws which will reduce gender-based violence in the family and in the community.

The clinic will primarily target the Nongsonghong village and five surrounding villages where ADWLE has deemed incidences of gender-based violence to be particularly widespread.

One principal lawyer and nine assisting lawyers will be responsible for handling the cases and paralegals are being trained in the target villages.

It is envisaged the paralegals will become the first point of contact for many of the clinic’s clients before being referred to the clinic.

Opening of the legal aid clinic

Opening of the legal aid clinic

The legal aid clinic was officially opened on Friday, 3 July 2015, and guests included: HELVETAS-Laos Director, Mr. Bong Munsayaphom; Vientiane Judicial Department Vice-Director, Mr. Thongsanh Keopaseuth; Deputy Prosecutor, District Level, Mr. Vithagna Sophavanhdy; the legal aid clinic principal lawyer, Mr. Manolinh Thepkhamvong; and members from the Sub-Commission on the Advancement of Women, village mediation unit members from six villages, civil society organisations and community members from Nongsonghong village.