Empowering potential women leaders for meaningful participation in the peace process

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Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Myanmar plays an essential role to sustain the peace process and peace discussions even in times of COVID-19. In early June, with the support of the Joint Peace Fund (JPF), the Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the peace process (AGIPP) conducted a four-day online conference with Mon women stakeholders from 8 to 11 June 2020.

The aims of the four-day online training intend to advocate to male leaders and other stakeholders on how social and cultural barriers are limited on women in the political and peace process and to learn survey and gender analysis tools to advocate effectively.

Mi Maraoh Sorn from Mon Youth Progressive Organization is positive about the capacity building and advocacy training of AGIPP.

“I really enjoy learning strategic advocacy, principles and how to approach to the policy makers and decisions makers in order to implement the advocacy process effectively. I’ve learned that advocacy to peace and policy makers are kind of arts which we must practise in a very soft and strategic way,” she shared.

She also encourages young women to increase involvements in the peace process.

“Peace and politics matter for everyone. Yet, women and youth participation are still low in the current situations. However, I would like to really support for all women to speak out and amplify their voices, particularly for women related issues from the ground-levels. So that they won’t lose their rights in every peace and political discussions,”

Mi Eim Pakao from Mon Women’s Organization, who resides in Mawlamyine, the capital city of Mon State expressed the indirect results of lack of peace in her areas.

“Though there are no physical conflicts happening in our areas, we are facing lack of social security, jobs and regional developments. At the same time, we, as women are facing mentally insecurity and domestic violence as well. We also are losing our rights to learn with mother tongue language which all are the root causes of no peace. Those factors are becoming burdens for women to involve in the politics, social affairs and peace process” she said.

Mi Non Dar, one of the participants, is from Paung township, Mon State. She said the principles of lobbying, public campaign, public awareness activities, and how to advance the public campaign using strategic advocacy skills were the most favorite part of the training.

AGIPP held four-day online conferencing on advocacy strategy trainings which enabled 11 participants to achieve knowledge on strategic advocacy and identifying targeted stakeholders, advocacy cycle and identifying tactics for relevant topics, strategic approach to key peace stakeholders using strategic advocacy plans, how to alliance with the existing peace stakeholders, mapping policy makers, influential people and authorities to implement the advocacy skills effectively, and developing advocacy messages and tools.

AGIPP’s Project Manager, Zun Pwint highlighted the ideas behind the advocacy strategy trainings.

“We tried to choose the potential women leaders those are actively working in the peace and politics process, community developments and fighting against gender-based violence in their respective areas. Besides, they all are working closely with the ground-level women and local entities as well. Therefore, we believe that they all could apply advocacy skills back in their work which is peace making process at the community-levels,”

AGIPP has arranged the first term capacity building training for Mon women leaders from 19 to 21 September 2019 in Mawlamyine. A total of 14 participants gained knowledge the peace process of Mon State and national-level context, analysis of Mon tradition, culture and social practices from gender perspectives, research methodology and gender analysis.

The JPF has supported over 100 projects across all of Myanmar’s States and Regions. As part of its gender programming, the JPF provides assistance to organizations looking to amplify women’s voices, increase their involvement in the peace process and discussions at the State, Region and Union levels.