October 23, 2013
VIENTIANE – A photo of child being vaccinated in a hospital in Luangnamtha has won the “Laos in Focus – picturing the MDGs” photo contest. The winning photo was taken by Mr. Siththisak Phaninhuan from Luang Namtha. The runner-ups are Mr. Midphasong Mingnakhone and Mr. Thipphakone Manyvong, both from Vientiane.
The announcement was made today by United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. Minh Pham at a press conference held at the Lao Journalist Association to mark the UN Day, celebrated on 24 October. Mr. Pham said that the winning photo “Captures well the increased emphasis that needs to be given to mother and child heath in Laos”.
Mr. Anouparb Vongnorkeo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was one of the judges in the panel that chose the winners, said in a statement that “Improving mother and child health is critical for achieving the MDGs in the Lao PDR and attaining the related targets has been given top priority by the Government and its development partners. This picture reflects it all, a mother's genuine love and care for her child's health and the particular attention that needs to be given to children, who are the future of the entire nation.”
The contest also included a special mobile photo category for young people, where the winner was chosen by the public vote on the social network site Facebook. The winning photo in this category was taken by 22-year-old Dethnaphonexay Xoumphonepakdee from Vientiane. His photo, which received 1382 votes, is linked to the MDG 7 that calls for environmental sustainability. The contest sponsor Beeline chose a photo taken by Ms. Khamla Sonenapha, 18, depicting two children walking to school on a rural road, as their favorite.
Speaking at the press conference Mr. Pham explained that the UN Day is observed globally every 24 October to celebrate the founding of the United Nations in 1945 to promote peace and security worldwide. “The socio-economic development component was added later to the UN mandate as it is a prerequisite for ensuring peace and security in any country”, Mr. Pham said.
He also spoke about the Millennium Development Goals that are off-track in Laos: “The development challenges that Laos really needs to focus on include malnutrition, infant mortality, maternal health, high drop-out rates in schools and clearing the unexploded ordnance (UXO). “
The press conference was also attended by Ms. Christina Lasasimma who is the National Goodwill Ambassador for IFAD, a specialized agency for the UN dedicated to eradicate rural poverty.
“It’s a challenge for us to reach the general public and particularly the young people not just in cities such as Vientiane, but also in the rural areas of Laos”, said Mr. Pham. “UN Goodwill Ambassadors such as Christina help us to bring our messages the young generation of the country”, he added.
An award ceremony for the ‘Laos in Focus’ photo contest winners will be held in November at a date to be announced. A selection of photos from the contest, including the winning pictures, will be exhibited at various venues throughout November and December in Vientiane.
About the Laos in Focus photo contest:
The photo contest was launched in September to mark the publication of the Lao MDG progress report. It aimed to focus on the key development issues in Lao PDR such as poverty, nutrition, maternal health, education, women’s empowerment, diseases, environment and unexploded ordnance (UXO). It also aims to raise awareness of the MDGs particularly among the young people in this country.
More than 150 photos were submitted by Lao photographers to either the “General Entry” category of the contest, which was open for all Lao people, or the mobile photography category “Young Snapper”, which was open to those under 25 years.
The winners for the General Entry category were chosen by a panel of judges including Mr. Minh Pham, the UN Resident Coordinator; Mr. Anouparb Vongnorkeo, Deputy Director General of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Vice President of Lao Journalist Association Michel Somsanouk; as well as GMB Akash and Tessa Bunney, two award-winning photojournalists.
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