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Asia and the Pacific region is particularly vulnerable to physical impacts of climate change. Associated with pre-existing gender inequality, climate-related risks are multiplied for women, girls, and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) in the region. Bobae Lee is a Regional Gender and Climate Change Expert serving with UN Women Asia and the Pacific Regional Office. Her assignment is fully funded by the Government of Korea. "I have been volunteering ever since I could walk. My father used to bring me when he was going to take care of people with disabilities and orphans. He learned how to serve others from his parents
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After enduring years of domestic violence during her marriage, Naw Bway Khu wanted to support women in similar situations. Following her husband’s death in 2002, she spent two years working for an international NGO that cared for people living with HIV/AIDS before starting Meikswe Myanmar. Initially she accommodated women in her own home before establishing the centre in Lashio, and later an orphanage.
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Benedicta Golu, 37, is teaching young women and children in Bougainville island in Papua New Guinea not only how to play soccer but also how to help keep peace in their communities. Golu, a former midfielder for the Bougainville team and now a certified coach, had attended a training UN Women organized in October 2021 on how to promote peacebuilding, human rights and gender rights.
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With funding from the Government of Australia, UN Women has trained a group of 14 journalists in Papua New Guinea on how to help promote gender equality and women in leadership, and prevent violence against women and girls during elections. Violence typically flares around elections in Papua New Guinea. Votes are currently being counted from this month’s general election.
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Helen Henao, a vendor at Alotau market in south-eastern Papua New Guinea, attended a financial literacy training given by UN Women, and she sees good days ahead. “The training opened our eyes to see opportunities for our businesses to grow,” she said. “With these skills, I see myself as a powerful businesswoman in the next five years.”
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About 100 people with disabilities from all provinces of Papua New Guinea gathered in Port Moresby to review the National Disability Policy (2015-2025), and some of them talked about the problems they still faced in their daily lives. The National Capital District Diff-Abilities Advocacy Agency, a non-government organization, organized the 27 June-1 July event with support and funding from UN Women and the Government of Australia.
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Myanmar’s population is facing a double crisis from the COVID-19 and the military takeover of February 2021, which is steadily wearing out their social and economic resilience.
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To help fix the acute gender disparity in national political leadership in Papua New Guinea, UN Women is supporting training of a second group of female local politicians so they can rise up in the ranks. Politicians of district and provincial governments are being trained at the Political Academy for Women, which UN Women started last December in partnership with the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance. The Governments of Australia and New Zealand fund the project.
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When the lockdown came, Periwanga, 39, had been doing tailoring and selling traditional meri blouses at the market for only a year after leaving her previous job as a teacher. “This was a brief period, but it really affected us,” she recalled. “Police was ever on standby to stop people from accessing the market. Customers were only allowed to buy from big shops.”
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UN Women developed COVID-19 guidelines for the safe houses and gave training on the guidelines to 117 workers providing services to survivors staying there. To ensure the availability of quality services, UN Women supplied 23 safe houses in 16 provinces with food vouchers, reusable face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) and information technology equipment such as laptops and internet dongles. Rose Martins, 37, married for nine years and with three children, sought refuge at Salvation Army House of Hope in Port Moresby last August after a quarrel with her husband.
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On March 8, Papua New Guinea joined the rest of the world to mark International Women’s Day under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable future tomorrow.” With support from UN Women and its donors, several activities were organized across the country.
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Hundreds of women and men joined a march on the streets of Port Moresby to kickstart celebrations to mark International Women’s Day. The "Walk for life' event was officiated by Governor Powes Parkop and attended by country representatives and staff from the United Nations in Papua New Guinea. Other dignitaries were from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Australian High Commission.
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More than 100 civil society and human rights activists and members of faith-based organizations discussed with government and development partners this and other challenges of efforts to promote gender equality and human rights in Papua New Guinea. UN Women and the Consultative Implementation & Monitoring Council, a government agency, organized the 10 December forum with funding from the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. The main event was held at APEC Haus in Port Moresby, and satellite events in Lae, Goroka, Mount Hagen and Kokopo cities.
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Ko Aung Lin, a 36-year-old famer and a member of the Mro ethnic group, lives in Ah Htet Myat Lay village, Ponnagyun Township, in Sittwe of Rakhine state in Myanmar’s far west. He is the only man among the 10 volunteers chosen in Rakhine for a joint project by UN Women and United Nations Population Fund to prevent violence against women and girls and help survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions delayed the start of the project.
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Rakhine State, Myanmar – Daw Aye Mu had always wanted to learn how to expand her small business making snacks in western Myanmar. In July 2021, she was selected to attend the UN Women and World Vision Start to Improve Your Business (SIYB) training, along with a cash grant from partner organization Meikswe Myanmar. She explains how the opportunity was a stroke of personal good fortune amid difficult times for her country.
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Barbara Tanne is the president of Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF) in Bougainville island in eastern Papua New Guinea. The federation is implementing a UN Women project to build the leadership skills of young women. In a late 2019 referendum, the people of Bougainville voted overwhelmingly for independence. [Q] How are gender stereotypes affecting young women in taking leadership positions in PNG? [A] People have held strong negative views about women’s leadership, that “women cannot be leaders, women can’t be the fore runners.”
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Lilian Laki is a tailor in Wewak market in East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, and her family’s dreams are a step closer to reality thanks to a little help from UN Women. Laki is one of the 311 women vendors who benefited from UN Women’s Markets, Economic Recovery and Inclusion programme. The programme provided the women with training in textile designing and sewing, baking and food handling, and linked them to micro-banks for savings and affordable finance.
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Sophie Teio, 24, a former volunteer with SANAP WANTAIM, a UN Women campaign against violence, runs an organization that encourages youths in Papua New Guinea to make their communities better. "While working under the SANAP WANTAIM campaign … I coordinated several campaign activities, which involved reaching out to communities and schools. We used to showcase short drama skits on ending violence against women..."
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Veronica Tamar Simogun is the founder of the Family for Change Association, which addresses domestic violence in Papua New Guinea. In 2017, Veronica won the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award for the East Asia Pacific region, in recognition of her advocacy for the rights of women and children who are survivors of violence.
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Together with my siblings we grew up watching our parents arguing most of the time. My mum suffered both financial and verbal abuse. I did not like what was going on, but I did not know how to help. There are so many human rights violations and abuse happening every day in the community.