Video: Two students come out on top in the 2020 ActionAid Speech Writing Competition National Final

  • Date: 26/06/2020
  • Author: Jo-Ann Ward

Photo (L-R): Tara McLaughlin and Edel Colgan

Tara McLaughlin, a student at The Grammar School in Co Sligo and Edel Colgan, a student at St Leo’s College in Co Carlow won the 2020 ActionAid Speech Writing Competition.

The final, held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, was attended by over 70 people – with attendees hailing as far as the United States and Greece.

The finalists delivered their passionate speeches in front of a panel of esteemed judges:

  • Saoirse McHugh (Green Party & Climate Activist)
  • Shane Keenan (Policy Lead – Gender Equality, Irish Aid)
  • Órla Ryan (Journalist with the
  • Dr Ciarán O’Carroll (Climate Scientist & Extinction Rebellion )

The speeches, which all looked at the intersection between climate justice and gender equality, were judged on delivery, writing skills, and understanding of the topic.

“Exceptionally high standard”

While all the finalists demonstrated a keen interest in women’s rights and climate justice, there could only be two winners.

Due to the exceptionally high standard, the judges were faced with the difficult task of selecting two winners.

Edel Colgan and Tara McLaughlin stood out for their critical thinking, depth of research, originality and outstanding delivery.

Women’s Rights Programme

The competition is part of ActionAid’s Women’s Rights programme, funded by Irish Aid. The programme promotes engagement with the Irish public to raise awareness about global issues.

ActionAid’s Women’s Rights Programme, nominated for a Dóchas Innovation Award in 2018, works to end early girl marriage, prevent gender-based violence, gain land rights for women and help children receive an education. 

ActionAid Ireland uses a Behaviour Change approach in Ethiopia, Kenya and Nepal. As a result, the approach is helping participating women and girls, men and boys, and traditional and cultural leaders to move away from damaging behaviours.

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