ADWLE celebrates National Women’s Day 20th July 2019

Lao National Women’s Day 20th July 2019

Celebrated on 21 July 2019 at Dongbang village, Xaythany District, Vientiane Capital

Laughter and applause echoed as more than 270 villagers from ADWLE’s 15 target villages in Xaythany District and representatives from the Vientiane branch of Lao Women’s Union participated in Lao National Women’s Day celebrations organized by ADWLE. The event was supported with funding from Voice and Bread For The World.

To kick off the celebrations, we provided t-shirts for all so that they could join in the morning aerobics dance.  Our slogan of the day was “Good health because of no violence“. Aerobics is an activity that is good for health and it was great to see all participants enjoying and having fun together. For many of them, it was their first time to experience it.


After aerobics, village authorities gave an official welcome and highlighted the background and significance of National Women’s Day and ending violence against women. ADWLE Director Inthana Bouphasavanh spoke about ADWLE and and its plans for future projects in the villages. Other activities on the day included:

1.  A speech about history of  National Women’s Day, this year being the 64th year anniversary – by  Mrs. Vanvilay Vongsavath Vice-President, Lao Women’s Union of Xaythany District

2. Traditional Hmong dancing by volunteers from Nasala village


3. A ‘role play’ competition between 2 teams of newly married couples who have participated in ADWLE’s pilot workshops on GALS (gender action learning system). The teams acted out the key lessons they have learned about gender equality and mutual respect between men and women.


4. ADWLE’s mobile legal clinic and paralegals were on site to disseminate information about laws on gender-based violence and offer free legal consultation

It was clear from everyone’s smiles and laughter that they enjoyed this celebration.

“I arrived at 7am to get a shirt. This year was special because we had aerobics.  I was so happy with the day’s activities. I learned about gender equality, anti-violence against women, protecting women and children, and about ADWLE and their projects. I will tell other people about what I learned today, and will use the knowledge in my daily life” – Mrs Hieng, Nasala Village

“I was very happy to attend the celebration. The aerobics was new for me. The acting by the newly married couples was very interesting because it helped me understand more about gender equality and I could see the couples were more harmonious after learning with ADWLE. I want ADWLE to do activities in other villages in the next year and everyone to feel comfortable to attend the activities” –  Mr Porjoua Yan, ThadindengTai Village

ADWLE chose to carry out projects in these target villages due to their remoteness and ethnic diversity as well as reports of gender inequality, low levels of education, particularly among the female community members, and incidences of gender-based violence. We are pleased to see that our interventions are helping to increase gender equality and empower women and girls.

For more photos of celebrations, see below:

Warm-up stretches before aerobics

Participants follow the aerobics instructor

ADWLE Director, Mrs Inthana Bouphasavanh, addressing the audience

Enjoying the Hmong dancing

Role play on gender equality

Oppotunity for questions and comments

ADWLE Celebrates International Women’s Day

Laughter and applause echoed through the streets as 900 villagers from four villages in Xaythany District, Vientiane Capital, participated in International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations organised by ADWLE.

Speeches and introductions were given as village members introduced the background and significance of IWD and ADWLE Director Inthana Bouphasavanh spoke about ADWLE and future projects it would be carrying out in the villages.

“The celebrations were a success as families from both Hmong and Lao ethnicities worked together and supported each other during the activities which is a step towards breaking down gender stereotyping and tackling discrimination,” said Law Manager and Program Coordinator Chao ThaoChongpao.

Three main activities were held; first, a cooking competition where six families had to prepare three meals in 30 minutes and a team of judges decided which family won.



Second, families participated in a piggy back race where the winner was the family whose husband could carry his wife then his child across the line first.



Finally, a competition of ‘Golf sao barn’ (Lao-style golf) took place which involved hitting a ball with an eggplant that was dangling from the waist.

The children went first followed by the wife then the husband and the first family to complete the activity won.



Following the activities, each family which participated was given a prize and different representatives of the family were called up to receive the prize.



To mark the end of the celebrations, a Q&A session was carried out where ADWLE staff asked members of the public questions on women’s rights and national laws relating to women.


“This year, IWD was so fun; not only did husbands and wives participate, but their children were also involved and everyone was smiling and laughing,” said ADWLE Program Officer Malita Keopaseuth.

Celebrations were held on two separate days in the two areas where the communities are located.

ADWLE chose to carry out projects in the villages due to their remoteness and ethnic diversity as well as reports of gender inequality, low levels of education, particularly among the female community members, and incidences of gender-based violence.

This was the first of a series of activities, funded by Bread for the World, that ADWLE will be running in the four villages over a two year period.

For more photos of the celebrations, see below:








ADWLE Director Delivers the Guest Speech at the Annual Australian Alumni Function

ADWLE Director, Inthana Bouphasavanh, was invited to deliver the guest speech to over 300 alumni at the Annual Australian Alumni Function on 10 March 2016.

Inthana received the Australia Awards Scholarship in 1994 where she did a Masters of Arts in TESOL at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, between 1994 and 1996.

Her story was the feature article of Issue No 3 of the Laos Australia Institute Newsletter.

“I am very excited and proud to have received the Australian Scholarship which gave me a chance to develop myself professionally and personally and inspired me to work for women’s rights,” said Inthana.

The theme this year was “Australia and Laos: Building Bridges to a Brighter Future”; this was reflected in the diverse alumni members who attended working in a variety of sectors, including civil society, Government and businesses.

The Australia Awards are funded by the Australian Government and aim to provide educational and development opportunities to successful applicants as well as to continue to strengthen ties between Laos and Australia.

For further information, please visit:



International Womens Day

ADWLE to Celebrate International Women’s Day

ADWLE will celebrate International Women’s Day on 6 and 9 March with four of its target villages.

A series of activities will be run aimed at promoting community participation and family unity, in particular the role that women and girls play in the family unit.

“I am looking forward to seeing the solidarity among family members, how they divide labour roles during the activities and to see how the family works together in order to try and win the competitions,” said ADWLE Director, Inthana Bouphasavanh.

The villages are located in a rural area of Vientiane Capital and are made up of Hmong and Lao ethnicities.

This is the third time that ADWLE is celebrating International Women’s Day.

ADWLE staff media training

Media training for ADWLE staff

ADWLE staff are undergoing their second week of media training.

The training covers the importance of an organisation’s public profile, as well as that of an individual’s professional profile, what role social media plays in maintaining that profile and the technical aspects of website management.

“I understand better that LinkedIn is a marketing tool to sell oneself as well as to promote the work of ADWLE which is important for us to learn,” said ADWLE’s Law Manager, Chao ThaoChongpao.



The training will go on for five weeks after which the staff will have a deeper understanding of, and ability to use, the Association website and social media sites.
ADWLE’s Gender Advisor Anja Wiersing organised the training in collaboration with ADWLE director Inthana Bouphasavanh. Media trainer and advisor Dan Garlick from Gender Development Association (GDA) is facilitating the training.

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.