Pavina Thephithuck (BABSEACLE Legal Fellow)
In August 2013, I had the chance to go with the team from Phayao University to help with the workshop on “The Right to Access Information”. The workshop was for community leaders and was to be held in the south of Thailand, in areas such as Phuket and Surat Thani Province. I learnt a lot from the experience, especially how to organise workshops for government officials, as I have only been an educator to secondary school students and taught in rural villages before this. It was quite different to what we do in Laos.
In this workshop, the educator was a lecturer from the Law faculty of the University of Phayao. The goal of the workshop was to let the participants know about their right to access information. For example, if they need to know ‘How long the road will be under construction’ they can ask for this kind of information to be told to the community leader who will relay the answer to them. One of the main differences between this workshop and workshops in Laos was that before the start of the workshop we handed out textbooks. These textbooks were for the participants to review all of the information, just in case they had a problem with remembering what they had learnt in the workshop. After the workshop, everyone received a certificate from the staff for participating, stating the topic that they had learnt in the workshop.
Since coming back from the workshop, I have been thinking about ways for the CLE at the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the National University of Laos to publish a similar textbook to give to their participants in the future.