National Speech

Writing Competition

About ActionTalks

The ActionTalks national speech writing competition is now open!

  • Open to all students aged 14-17. Enter by submitting a written speech by Monday 17th of January 2022
  • Five entrants from each region (Leinster, Munster, and Ulster/Connacht), 15 in total, will be selected for the regional finals. To take part in the regional final, the 15 finalists will be asked to submit a video of themselves reading their speech.
  • Two winners from each region (six in total) will be selected to go forward to the national final and will receive a €50 One4All voucher each
  • National first prize: €500 voucher for the winning student and a €100 voucher for their teacher.

Topics in the ActionTalks Speech Writing Competition

  1. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of unpaid work in the home (e.g., childminding, caretaking, household functioning), with women often bearing the brunt of this work. How can we redistribute unpaid work in a way that is fair for everyone?
  2. During the Covid-19 pandemic, incidences of gender-based domestic violence rose, both in Ireland and internationally. What can Ireland do?
  3. Unfair access to vaccines has meant that those living in the poorest countries will suffer the worst effects of the pandemic. The inequalities exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of global solidarity and international aid. Discuss.

What we are looking for

Finalists will come up with innovative, well-researched, and creative speeches. They will effectively connect their own unique perspective of growing up in a pandemic to global issues.

The regional finals

This year for the first time there will be regional finals, held online in February 2022.

The final

The final will take place in March 2022. Each finalist will be asked to deliver their speeches virtually to a panel of esteemed judges.

About ActionAid

ActionAid provides long term support to the poorest and most marginalised women and children in developing countries, so they can overcome the obstacles holding them back. Its Women’s Rights Programme, funded by Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs, works to eliminate violence against women and girls by engaging with women and girls, as well as men and boys. Throughout 2020 the programme has also been supporting communities in Nepal, Kenya, and Ethiopia to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs, programmes are funded by Irish citizens and are part of Ireland’s important global role in overcoming poverty and inequality.

The Rules

  1. ActionTalks competition is open to all secondary students aged 14 to 17.
  2. All speeches should be typed with the students name and school at the top of the page and submitted by a teacher on behalf of the student via email to
  3. The speech length should be 600 words approx. and take five minutes to read.
  4. References can be submitted as appendices.
  5. Speeches must be unique, plagiarised speeches will be disqualified.
  6. Each entrant must fill out the following short survey, available here.
  7. By submitting a speech, the student and school are giving permission for the speech and the student and school name and image to be publicised on the ActionAid website and in third party publications. Only finalist speeches will be published.
  8. Deadline for submission is Monday 17th of January 2022.


We asked our colleagues in Nepal, Kenya and Ethiopia to give their take on this years topics.

Watch Sujeeta Mathema, Director of ActionAid Nepal, talk about how the pandemic has highlighted the importance of unpaid care work. Susan Otieno, Director of ActionAid Kenya then discusses how incidences of gender-based violence rose during the pandemic. Finally, Lamrot Fikre, Head of Programmes at ActionAid Ethiopia, discusses vaccine inequity and the impact this has had in Ethiopia.

The 2021 Competition

Labhraidh Costello, a student at Mercy Secondary School Mounthawk, Tralee, scooped the first prize at the 2021 ActionTalks final with a very inspiring speech. 

The competition received 170 entries in 2021, the highest to date. The final was held online with over 50 people tuning in from across the world to support the talented young people. The judging panel included:

  • Saroj Pokhrel, Programme Policy Manager, ActionAid Nepal
  • Vicky Dillon, Gender Equality Policy Lead, Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Abby Ryan, Coordinator, Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence.

While all finalists demonstrated a keen interest in women’s rights and an exceptional understanding of the topics; Labhraidh stood out for her originality, dept of research and critical thinking and scooped the first prize of a €500 One4All voucher for herself and the same for her teacher.



2021 Winner Labraidh pictured with her Trophy

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