WPS Fellow’s Project in Myanmar
Ms. Aye May (Advanced Security Cooperation course 14-3) established a local NGO called Northern Shan State Women Organizations Network (NSSWON) comprising 23 local organizations in 2015. The NSSWON offers capacity building programs on women’s leadership; gender-based violence and human trafficking awareness and support for victims; women’s rights based advocacy for legislative reform; and WPS education.
In 2018, the NSSWON successfully conducted a historic workshop to improve civil-military relations in Myanmar. This was the first time a local ethnic minority NGO was permitted to discuss Myanmar’s democratic transition process. Funded by USAID, the event was officially authorized and registered with the assistance of the Myanmar DKI APCSS alumni network. Four DKI APCSS alumni also served as speakers and facilitators. Over 100 women from 11 different ethnic minority groups attended the event. The participants developed realistic action plans and specific activities they could implement to develop common understanding and build trust between their ethnic communities and the local military and militia units operating in their areas.
NSSWON is leading the #Timesup movement in Myanmar. The movement is aimed to encourage and motivate women to take on leadership positions within the community and to change laws that impede women’s full participation in all governance aspects of the community.