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“I started to see the rise in violence and the lack of opportunities for women and girls with disabilities in my community,” said Ximenes, who was elected as chief of Dilor, in the municipality of Viqueque, around 100 kilometres south-east of Dili.
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Through UN Women’s Safe Baucau and Safe Markets Initiative, has been giving the municipal authority technical advice on preparing a draft budget for 2023. With help from the Secretary State for Equality and Inclusion, UN Women and TOMAK have been training municipal officials on doing gender-responsive budgeting, including exercises on analyzing the budget and integrating specific gender-responsive items into it.
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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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Bento is among the 450 parents across three municipalities (Bobonaro, Viqueque and Ermera) to have benefited from the Connect with Respect (CWR) programme implemented by Alola Foundation and Mane ho Vizaun Foun under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative since February 2021. The programme provided training to parents on positive parenting, where they learn critical skills for developing respectful family and gender-equitable relationships.
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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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Thanks to a UN Women programme, hundreds of schoolchildren and their parents in Timor-Leste have learned how to treat each other with greater respect in the classroom, at home and in the community. UN Women works with educational institutions, civil society organizations Alola Foundation and Mane ho Vizaun Foun (Men with a New Vision) and the Ministry of Education to run the Connect with Respect programme on preventing violence against women and girls by promoting healthy relationships in 15 schools in three municipalities of Timor-Leste.
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Under the Together for Equality project, UN Women works with public institutions, local authorities, communities, civil society organizations and the media to prevent and respond to violence in public and private spaces. UN Women has partnered with the media outlet Timor Post on gender-sensitive reporting, the Baucau Municipal Authority on Safe Baucau and Safe Markets, and the National University of Timor-Lorosa’e (UNTL) in Dili on the Safe Campus Initiative.
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Naw Moh Moh Than, 18, aspires to become a teacher but she has had her journey disrupted several times. When she was in secondary school, armed conflict in Kayin State forced her and her family to flee to a displaced persons camp. With the help of one her teachers, she resumed her schooling in the nearest town but then the COVID-19 pandemic forced all the schools to close since the start of 2020. Still, Naw Moh Moh Than remained determined. She joined a sewing training that UN Women organized in the camp and made cloth masks that humanitarian groups bought and distributed to women across Kayin State, which is mostly populated by the Karen ethnic minority.
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The Timor-Leste National Inclusive Education Policy (2011) has the objective that all residents of the country “should receive equally, an education of good quality appropriate to their individual abilities and should gain the necessary knowledge, capacity and skills – suitable vocation – to support themselves and their families and to participate in all areas of national development,” and the National Education Strategic Plan (2011).
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Since February 1, women and girls have been at the frontlines as leaders of civil society organizations, civil servants, activists, journalists, artists and influencers exercising their fundamental rights to express their hopes for the future of their country. Even before the coup, women, who make up 75 per cent of Myanmar’s healthcare professionals, were at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. Now, during a tragic surge in COVID-19 cases, many women continue in their activism and serve their communities while also assuming significant responsibilities as caregivers for sick family members, and for their children’s home-based learning.
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The unseen strands: looking at the state of violence and gender in Timor-Leste. Message from the former Head of Office for UN Women in Timor-Leste on the state of violence against women in the country. With this progress around us, we have been reflecting on violence, especially violence against women and girls that still makes the news and our Facebook feeds, in places with familiar names, such as Lahane, Kutet or Rai Kotu, and in familiar settings, such as homes, orphanages, schools, on the street, in taxis, markets, offices and even social media.
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Upon her return to Myanmar in 2019, she invested her savings of MMK 200,000 (USD 122) in her online business. “Doing business was not really in my plan while I was in Thailand,” she said. “But I knew that I am good at using phones and social media. I knew the area and some people. When I returned to Myanmar, I felt certain I could start my online shop. I am still young and can get around easily to take orders to customers, especially with my motorbike,” she said.
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After 11 years away, Aye returned to Myanmar in 2014 pregnant and with around 10 million MMK (USD 6,075) in savings. She spent most of that on a house and used 1,500,000 MMK to start her sewing business in 2015. She felt that she was at her best when sewing, and also felt confident that she had learned to be punctual, systematic and disciplined. Ni Ni Aye says she dreamed of starting a clothing business back in Thailand ever since she started working in Thailand. “I remitted half of my salary to my parents and I saved the other half for my dream business.”
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Just one day after Cyclone Seroja hit Dili in April, killing 41 and displacing 4,022, members of the LGBTI community and a joint force from local non-governmental organization Arcoiris set up a community kitchen to provide food and drinking water to more than a thousand people in their neighbourhood of Bidau, in the east of the capital. As the torrential rain swept away belongings and houses, the spirit of solidarity remained firm, as food, clean water, women’s hygiene kits, and essential household goods were supplied to more than 200 families, including material to rebuild houses.
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We call upon Myanmar’s military and police to ensure that the right to peaceful assembly is fully respected and that demonstrators, including women, are not subjected to reprisals. We further call on the military and police to respect the human rights of women who have been arrested and are currently being detained and reiterate the calls for the immediate release of all detainees.
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As the world marks International Women’s Day, women across Myanmar are once again demonstrating their leadership and agency following more than one month of political instability and violence in the country.
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Four UN agencies: UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA and IOM through the generous funding of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Timor-Leste with the State Secretariat for Equality and Inclusion (SEII) launched today a four-year USD 7.7 million project titled “Together for Equality: Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Timor-Leste” to enhance efforts for all women and girls in Timor-Leste to enjoy their right to live free from gender-based violence, and access quality essential services.
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On 9 February 2021, there were several reports from Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and other cities in Myanmar of demonstrators having been injured by security forces in connection with the peaceful disobedience movement sweeping across the country. It was later confirmed that Ma Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing a 19-year old woman, who was shot in the head by security forces, was the first reported victim of this violence.
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Gemma joined UN Women Timor-Leste’s Communications and Advocacy Internship program for 6 months. This program is designed for enrolled university or higher education students and recent graduates that aims to increase their knowledge on the work of UN Women in the areas of gender equality and women empowerment. Successful candidates can also learn about the UN system as well as experience a bigger picture of being in the development sector.