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The Philippines Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed an agreement in 2014 to end the protracted conflict in the Bangsamoro region of the southern Philippines. But while the agreement included provisions on empowering women, women and other groups including indigenous peoples, people living in conflict-affected areas and former combatants are at risk of being pushed to the margins.
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2016 was the year I embraced who I am, it was the year I joined the equality for all movement, and it was the year I asked myself who am I? My name is Thida Kuy, I am Cambodian, I am the Co-Founder of Loveisdiversity and I am a LGBTQ+ activist.
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My name is Sinoun Poev. I am 26 years old and I am from Cambodia. Currently I'm a project coordinator of Collective Action to Support Women's Right with Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT), a local NGO in Cambodia. This project aims to link the community and civil society to government by increasing women and youth participation and leadership in decision making processes in Cambodia.
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There is a Cambodian proverb: “A man is gold; a woman is a white piece of cloth.” The implication is that gold (men) can be made clean and shiny if dropped in mud, but the cloth (women) is stained and ruined. This saying mirrors the sentiment of generations in our country’s society and their view on female sexuality. This portrayal of women’s sexuality is one example of how women often lack their sexual rights and autonomy.
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Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have not stopped Francisca Lofranco Tagalog, a community leader from Cebu City in the central Philippines, from helping women and children who experience domestic violence. “We have faced some new difficulties in our operations,” says Tagalog, 60, who leads the organization Bantay Banay (Family Watch). “But it did not stop us from doing the things we normally do for the community.”
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For the hundreds of families in the coastal communities of Barangay Tanza 2, the always-ready area Administrator, Irma Bantique Glomar, is the one to seek out if something needs fixing. “If something goes wrong, always ask Admin,” they like to say. And with a little help from UN Women, “Admin” has been instrumental in fixing the dilapidated wooden-plank walkways that traverse the community, connecting households and connecting the community to the main road outside.
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A little more than a year after its creation, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is facing its latest threat to peace and security: the COVID-19 pandemic. Grievances associated with the pandemic, including inequitable access to healthcare and social support, are fueling community tensions, driving discrimination and hate speech, and reigniting violent conflict between clans and with government forces.
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Twenty-one years ago Pacita “Bing” Fortin pursued a career in social work despite her father’s reservations. “Social work is a profession,” she explains. “People think that a social worker merely hands out relief goods, but that is a misconception.
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Pamela Grace P. Español-Solano is one of nine female doctors volunteering at a COVID-19 facility in southern Philippines.
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Christian Ewert is President of amfori, a global business association for open and sustainable trade. amfori groups over 2,400 retailers, importers, brands and associations of more than 40 countries, with a combined turnover of more than 1 trillion euros. amfori recently signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which UN Women and United Nations Global Compact developed to guide private companies to create gender-equal workplaces.
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On the road winding into Chreng village in Cambodia’s Pursat province, a group of boys are playing volleyball on an arid plot of land as villagers watch and cheer. Around the corner, 24-year-old Lang Sokang is knee-deep in mulch, unearthing weeds and planting herbs in her garden. Her younger sisters are perched precariously on a wooden platform that serves as a makeshift greenhouse. The girls are carefully transplanting the saplings into little organic cups. In two weeks, the saplings will be ready to be planted in the ground. The sisters tend to the garden after returning from the rice fields in the morning. While they work steadily, a group of men from the village are drinking nearby in merry revelry.
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“Livestock and rice fields of villagers were damaged,” recalled Kanha, “but the drowning death of a 7 year-old girl was heart-breaking for me.” The girl’s death brought grief to the community in Kampot, the southern Cambodia city where Kanha is Deputy District Governor. When a disaster hits, boys and girls, and men and women have distinct vulnerabilities, and this shapes the way the experience and recover from a disaster. One such vulnerability is gender inequality.
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Maica Teves, Executive Director of SPARK! Philippines, was primarily focused on women’s economic empowerment until she teamed up with other organizations to create a Filipino version of the #MeToo campaign to address gender-based violence. Through collaboration with SPARK!, UN Women, Empower, and the Embassy of Sweden in Manila, the #RespetoNaman (Respect Me) campaign was born.
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Every morning at 10 a.m., Sok Sopheap sets off to run errands and pick up her two grandchildren from school in Tropang Thom village, southern Cambodia. Sopheap is in her 50’s – a stage in life when many women in her country might slow down – but like many local women, she is bearing an increasingly heavy burden as a result of climate change. Like other villages in Takeo province, Tropang Thom has been in the grip of an oscillating water crisis.
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Following decades of struggle for peace in southern Philippines, the Bangsamoro Organic Law was ratified in July 2018. The law creates a new political entity to replace the existing autonomous region, which is home to 13 ethno-linguistic groups in Mindanao. On 22 February 2019, the transitional authority took their oath of office, swearing in the new government’s Chief Minister, Cabinet and Parliament...
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Gerifel Cerillo is the coordinator of Tanggol Bayi, the Association of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines. In February 2019 she attended the Regional Civil Society Strategizing Workshop in Bangkok for the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women and Beijing + 25 Review. This year’s CSW is focused on social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. Cerillo’s organization works mostly with the urban poor in and around...
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It was a reunion for the fifty-five Bangsamoro women leaders last 26-27 October in Cotabato City - women former combatants from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) meeting with their sisters from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); young women from the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi meeting those from Maguindanao, Lanao provinces and North Cotabato; and Badjao women of Basilan meeting the Tedurays of Maguindanao....
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Filipino women, civil society, and political institutions are working hard towards achieving sustainable peace in the Bangsamoro, in the Philippines. After a complex history of conflict, colonialisation, and a long struggle for independence, the Filipino and Moro people are fighting for gender equality and peace. The Philippines, and the Moro people, suffered through colonisation by the Spanish during the 16th to 19th centuries, including in the Moro-Spanish wars. These...
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“For the first time, in so many years, I was finally able to share my own experience of armed conflict to other people, to other women; I was relieved,” said Noraida Abo, Executive Director of United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UNYPHIL-Women) during a partners’ workshop held on 28-29 September 2016, in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental in the Philippines. Noraida is just one of the individuals, along with their respective organizations...
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In the past two decades, an annual average of 172,000 Filipino women have left the country as migrant workers, in the quest for decent work and adequate income.