Jessica Gill, Form IV, has been selected as winner of ActionAid’s National Speech Writing Competition this year.
The competition final was held in the Royal Irish Academy (RIA). Nine finalists delivered their speeches in front of a panel of judges: Alan O’Neill, CEO, Men’s Development Network; Winifred Ikhine Akinyemi from Irish Aid; Elaine Prendeville, Editor, The Magazine at The Sunday Business Post; and Seona McLoughlin, Coordinator of the Irish Consortium of Gender Based Violence.
Winning finalists Jessica and Sooad Saleh will travel with their teachers to visit Kenya to see first-hand ActionAid’s Irish Aid funded women’s rights programme this summer.
“This is my third year being involved in the ActionAid Speech Writing Competition and again I am truly impressed by the standard of speech writing and delivery. All students showed excellent analysis of the challenges faced by ActionAid and other NGOs in developing countries, as well as a lot of research into how development projects are making a difference around the world, particularly to women and children. Congratulations to Sooad and Jessica, who had the edge in terms of their understanding of the issues and application to the project.” said Rodney Rice, Chairman of the ActionAid Ireland Board and former RTE Broadcaster
Over 120 students entered the competition, aged 14 to 17, from over 30 schools across the country. The speech topics were focused on women’s rights in development and ranged from areas such as women in leadership and equal distribution of resources.
The Irish Government, through Irish Aid, funds ActionAid’s Women’s Rights programme in Kenya, Malawi, Nepal and Vietnam. ActionAid uses this funding to work with vulnerable communities to prevent girls from marrying young and then dropping out of school as a result and to prevent gender based violence.
Congratulations to Jessica from all at BGS. On the day, her passion for human rights was clearly demonstrated in a wonderful display of research, creativity and critical thinking.
Thank you also to Jo-Ann Enright, Siobhan McGee and everybody at Action Aid Ireland for a very worthwhile competition.