Skip to Main Navigation
FEATURE STORY March 2, 2021

Leading the Way in Lao PDR: Chandavone Sinamonty


For International Women’s Day 2021, we’re sitting down with women across East Asia and the Pacific who are taking on leadership roles and working towards an equal future in a COVID-19 world. Chandavone Sinamonty has always believed in working for her community, using her gifts as a communicator to keep people informed. As a volunteer radio host in the remote district of Lakhonepheng in southern Lao PDR, Chandavone saw the dangers that wrong information and rumors posed when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived — especially for women. She made it her mission to spread accurate news and “bring knowledge”.

How did you begin as a radio announcer?

I volunteered at Lakhone Pheng District radio station in 2015, the year they started. I watched how they run programs for about a month before I got the chance to host my own program. I really enjoy it and am proud to be able to use my voice to bring useful information to society. Working in radio allows me to communicate useful information, especially to those who cannot read and the elderly.

How were you able to use your radio work to help during the COVID-19 pandemic?

During the COVID-19 outbreak, I was part of a campaign to raise awareness about COVID-19, including the quarantine of people traveling from abroad, social distancing, hand-washing, and warning the audience about false information, so that people would not panic. I did some research, and tried to spread correct information to listeners, so they would not be misled by false news online.

Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for women in Laos?

The main risks were contracting the virus, and losing income because many women could not go to work as in normal times.  For me, it was difficult to travel to the radio station because people were restricted from entering and leaving their villages.

The theme of International Women’s Day this year is 'Women in Leadership' - is there a female leader that inspires you? Why do they inspire you?

The woman who inspires me is Madam Pany Yatortu, because she is a woman with a broad vision who plays an important role in Lao society. Pany Yatortu, of the Hmong ethnic minority, is one of the most senior politicians in Laos. She is President of the National Assembly (parliament) and has previously served as Chair of the Central Bank.

What do you think needs to be done to ensure more women end up in leadership positions in Laos?

Women need to develop their knowledge and skills, and to combine that knowledge with a good strategy for ensuring that women play a greater role in society.

Do you have any advice for women in Laos?

I want all Lao women to develop their knowledge, self-confidence and intelligence, so that people can respect and believe in them. Women should have a good vision of how to make decisions and, most importantly, they should preserve Lao cultural traditions.

If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?

Ambitious, brave, and caring

What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I will seek to learn more, to develop my knowledge and present that knowledge and information through my radio program. I hope to be a good broadcaster so that I can communicate that knowledge to the audience.


**The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank Group and its employees.