Mingalarbar! Welcome to the May 2020 Edition of the GEN Monthly Newsletter. May was a productive month, even there were restrictions and barriers of a Covid-19 pandemic. GEN has accomplished a series of interview videos about the impact of Covid-19 on gender, GEN thrived to organize the live panel discussions with interesting topics with experts that hit the highest viewership and engagement records in GEN history. Moreover, GEN has developed IEC materials to promote Covid-19 and Gender issues with ethnic languages, sign languages and disseminated via members’ organizations and GEN’s online platforms; Facebook pages, YouTube and website.

Every month, we request a GEN member, or SC members or GEN-CU staff to provide a greeting letter that reveals how impact their lives of being part of GEN. This month, we request Daw Thuzar Tin, the director of Women’s Federation for Peace which is an active NGO/CSO member of GEN to share her thoughts and experience with GEN.


I am Daw Thuzar Tin. First of all, may I wish you safety and good health during this world pandemic Covid-19 period. I’m the director of Women’s Federation for Peace – WFFP. WFFP was formed in 2009 and is an NGO working towards equal rights for women and justice for survivors of violence.

Since 2018, WFFP has become a member of GEN. Since the involvement starts, we can feel the respect and transparency that GEN has on its members. GEN gives a hand to small organizations like us by conducting capacity building workshops and delegate tasks based on relevant gender scope for which we thank GEN. Valuable ideas and IECs that GEN provides for International Women’s Day, Labor Day, 16 Days of Activism campaigns; elimination of violence against women; and gender equality are indeed priceless. Not only that, but GEN has also opened the Gender Resource Center where good quality educational books and papers are available and GEN members get free access. It’s also proud to see the crisis response of GEN during this pandemic. In 2019, GEN gave the most active member award to WFFP, and WFFP is ready to support GEN and its ongoing tasks. Our best wishes to GEN for more success in gender advancement for the country with the members.



GEN’s Highlights

GEN's Response to Covid-19

To reinforce the response against Covid-19, Gender Equality Network donated 50,627,750 MMK worth face masks, hand sanitizers, face shields, and PPEs with the support of LIFT. In addition to Yangon, these donation items were delivered to the Departments of Social Welfare (DSW) at Yangon, Mandalay, Myitkyina, Hpa-An, Women Hospitals at Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi, IDP camp in Chin state, LGBT Network and MALI & PWD. The respective GEN’s regional coordinators located in Myitgyina, Taunggyi, Mandalay and Hpa-An were conveying donations to the regional DSWs. This is the second time of GEN’s contribution and more donations will be coming up soon. Many thanks to LIFT for making this donation possible to combat Covid-19.

Live Panel Discussions

Gender Equality Network conducted a series of panel discussions via Zoom platform and live stream on GEN’s Facebook page every Saturday since May 16. So far, there were three live programs named Covid-19 and Domestic Violence, Covid-19 and LGBT, and Domestic Violence and Laws Q & A. In live programs, GEN invited the experts from the relevant fields and participants were actively engaged. In order to promote these Live Panel Discussions and collect the questions that relevant to the upcoming Panel discussion, GEN created Facebook events. It was such a productive program of GEN and gained vest public engagement; over 3K to 4K unique viewers and over 2K – 3K engaged in Facebook Live alone.

Covid-19 and Domestic Violence Live Panel Discussion (Viewership – 4.2k / Engagement – 3.6k)

Facebook Link - https://web.facebook.com/watch/?v=2620905998180618

Youtube Linkhttps://youtu.be/e2TcA9ztbnY

Covid-19 and LGBT Live Panel Discussion (Viewership – 3.8k / Engagement – 1.9k)

Facebook Link - https://web.facebook.com/watch/?v=293238988385364

Domestic Violence and Laws Q & A session (Viewership – 3k / Engagement – 2.9k)

Facebook Link - https://web.facebook.com/watch/?v=553319128887524

QUIZ Program

Also, GEN initiated a weekly fun quiz program with informative facts via GEN Facebook Page since. The quiz questions were based on the issue of Domestic Violence, LGBT and Women Participation in the Political field. More than a hundred audiences regularly participated in every quiz program and it was an effective public awareness tool to gain public interest and was informed in a short time.

Covid-19 and Gender Impacts Interview Series

Since Covid-19 is affecting people across the world regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, and nation, Gender Equality Network conducted a series of interviews with the experts from relevant fields to better understand the impact of of those who are more vulnerable than others. The following interview topics were conducted in this month;

Covid-19 and Persons with Disability

The impact of Covid-19 on those who need different accessibility for a certain type of disability. To be able to know the different challenges and impacts of these people, GEN contacted interview with Sayama Soe Moe Oo, Country Coordinator of ABILIS Foundation and also serve as communications focal for the emergency committee of people with disabilities in responding Covid-19. 

Facebook Link - https://www.facebook.com/genmyanmar/videos/689506165147861/

Youtube link - https://youtu.be/YX-yae1Gxps

Covid- 19 and Female Health Care Worker

During Covid-19 period, those who are facing greater risk and challenges are healthcare workers. They are serving at the front line in combating pandemic day and night where the risk of potential infection is very high and experiencing social discrimination at the same time. Since most of these healthcare workers are women, they are having an additional burden in professional and family lives. In order to understand more about their situation, GEN contacted interview with Dr. Ei Mon Mon Kyaw (Specialist AS (O&G), Yangon Central Women's Hospital).

Facebook Link - https://www.facebook.com/genmyanmar/videos/332674604367988/

Youtube link - https://youtu.be/sjEHmSGHvhw

Covid-19 & Sexual and Reproductive Health

In order to reduce the spreadness of Covid-19 infection, the services of the Sexual and Reproductive Health are limited and women are difficult to access these kinds of services. Gender Equality Network contacted Dr. Sid Naing (Country Director, Marie Stopes Myanmar) to understand well about why the Sexual and Reproductive Health services are limited and the impact on the women for the lack of services.

Facebook Link - https://www.facebook.com/genmyanmar/videos/2547573502238110/

Youtube Link - https://youtu.be/WOCqtdPT3Io 

Covid-19 and LGBT

The LGBTs are one of the vulnerable groups who are experiencing discrimination and having challenges in many ways during the Covid-19 pandemic. GEN conducted an interview with U Tin Ko Ko, the program manager of Kings N Queens organization to be able to understand more the situation that LGBT people were facing.

Facebook Link - https://www.facebook.com/genmyanmar/videos/559617461419451/

Youtube Link - https://youtu.be/uLgqZLdZEWo 



Interview with the Director-General of the Department of Social Welfare (DSW of MSWRR)

In order to know how the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement (MSWRR) is responding Covid-19, Director of Gender Equality Network, Daw May Sabe Phyu, made an interview with the Director-General of the DSW, Dr. Daw San San Aye. This interview conveys the details programs and services of how MSWRR Covid-19 such as providing psychosocial support via helpline phone by well-trained staff. The interview also revealed how MSWRR collaboration with development partners in conducting research on domestic violence, initiating gender-based violence and the advancement of women program. The interview gives the information to GEN members and development organizations of better understand in collaboration with government especially in Covid-19 responding and gender-based violence initiation.

Facebook Link Part 1 - https://www.facebook.com/genmyanmar/videos/3126591334064495/

Facebook Link Part 2 - https://www.facebook.com/genmyanmar/videos/1376670242519694/

Facebook Page Training

As a capacity-building activity for GEN's subgrantee, GEN holds Facebook page training on 25th May 2020 and 52 attendees representing 47 Civil Society Organizations from Taunggyi, Myitkyina, Mandalay and Hpa-An have attended the training. The training provided information on how effectively utilize Facebook page for social transformation by understanding all the useful features of the Facebook page, how to promote organization profile, how to engage online campaigns, and how to get M&E data. It was a productive training by hearing the feedback and follow up questions of the participants.

Online Meetings

Although GEN-CU staffs are working from home, we try our best to communicate and coordinate online. We regularly carry out regular GEN Coordination Unit staff meetings, Orientation sessions for newly recurited staff via Zoom platform, and have regular monthly SC meetings.

Update News

GEN is currently preparing the Proposal on "Improving Support and Opportunities for Deported Migrants and Returnees in Mon and Karen states and Tanintharyi region" to be submitted to LIFT for Call for Proposals on "Reducing the vulnerabilities of internal migrants to labor exploitation and poor health and nutritional outcomes in the peri-urban areas of Yangon".



Members’ Highlights

WaterAid Myanmar's team, one of GEN's member organizations, participated in a bracelet campaign to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28. Team members made their own bracelets of 28 beads, including five red beads to represent the menstrual cycle, and shared photos of the bracelets along with personal reflections on what Menstrual Hygiene Day means to them.

An overview of GBV referral pathways during the Covid19 pandemic is now online here, which includes national and state/region level numbers operated by civil society organizations and also the DSW operated hotlines. Please let International Alert (May Thazin Aung – mthazinaung@international-alert.org) know if you would like to update any details or add further pathways. We know that family violence is increasing in this pandemic - kindly share widely with your stakeholders and partners to ensure any victims of GBV can see easily where to access support. 


GEN’s support in Others’ work

On 7 May 2020, GEN participated in a zoom meeting organized by the Department of Social Welfare for the first meeting of the Myanmar National Committee for Women (MNCW) to review and coordinate the activities of the members in responses to Covid-19. The meeting discussed how to respond to Covid-19 and support in order to reduce the impacts on women during the crisis.


On 7 May 2020, Director of GEN joined a zoom meeting with Consultants about the Finalization of Network Strengthening report. The report aims to assess how to strengthen the network to be more interactive and increase participation of the members.

On 21 May 2020, GEN participated in the meeting of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) Development Partners Meeting to share updates about the member's activities in response to Covid-19, new GEWE Coordination Structure, the status of Technical Working Groups, NSPAW implementation and PoVAW law process.


On 23 May 2020, the National Advisor of GEN participated in the Advisory meeting of the Women Voice and Leadership program of the Embassy of Canada. Reviewed the status of the implementation of activities by the implementing partners and also reviewed the additional grant for Covid-19 response provided to the implementing partners to respond to Covid-19 in their respective project areas.


On 9 May 2020, Director of GEN attended CEDAW Alliance Meeting along with the members of GEN, WON, and WLB. The meeting discussed how individual organizations and each network have been working on Covid-19 response and plan to organize CEDAW review workshop in July.


On 19 May 2020, Director of GEN joined a CSO leaders consultation workshop via zoom platform. The purpose of the workshop is for Strategic Networking between CSOs and Network Leaders. According to the agenda, (1) identifying urgent issues that need to be expanded and addressed. In the meeting, the CSO leaders discussed in small groups on a subsection of Women, Gender, Disable, Conflict, IDPs, EAOs, Peace, Labor: Migrant worker and Factory worker, Agrarian: land, agriculture and environment, Freedom of expression, media and Telecom, Extractive industry, and FDI, investment, Research, and advocacy.


On 19 May 2020, Director of GEN joined a zoom meeting with DFID for learning their strategy & COVID-19 response for Myanmar. In the meeting, DFID presented their strategy on the Covid-19, and CSO leaders discussed the risk and opportunities that came out from Covid-19 crisis.


On 28 May 2020, the Director of GEN joined the webinar series on Gender Mainstreaming in Covid-19 Response to save Economies as a speaker, organized by Business Coalition for Gender Equality (BCGE). It took almost two hours webinar with five outlines: (1) Why is gender needed? (2) Relations between Gender & Economy, (3) What is Gender Mainstreaming? (4) How can integrate gender mainstreaming in Covid-19 response? (5) How mainstreaming gender will save/contribute to economies? About 80 people have participated.

On 29 May 2020, the Director of GEN joined a meeting which was organized by Myanmar National Committee on Women (MNCW). In the meeting, (11) women organizations/networks discussed how to improve employment opportunities for rural women and migrant women.




Featured Resources

Covid-19 and Domestic Violence Awareness short video clip
One of the impacts of quarantine and lockdown for the spreadness of Covid-19, increases domestic violence. This is an awareness-raising video to promote the education of prevention and protection of domestic violence. The information of hotline phone numbers to access emergency help is included. This resources were supported by LIFT and UNFPA. 

NSPAW Animation Video

The National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women (NSPAW) was developed for the advancement of women in Myanmar and it will take a 10-year period from 2013-2022 to implement. The National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women (NSPAW), which was developed with the objectives of ensuring the fulfillment of women’s rights, the advancement of women and gender equality, is based on 12 priority areas. Gender Equality Network created this animation video with the intention of explaining what is NSPAW to the general public. We hope it entertains and educates you.

Youtube Link - https://youtu.be/H4D9vGCGRiI 

Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)

We would like to share the video collaborated by Gender Equality Network and UNFAP on Comprehensive Sexuality Education. This video intends to introduce the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) with the general public which will educate the reproductive health rights, healthy lifestyle, and how to avoid sexual violence physically and virtually to adolescents and youth. It is a useful tool for those who are working in the areas of Girls and Women Empowerment, Gender-Based Violence, Reproductive Health, Life Skill Education, and Youth Development.

Youtube Link - https://youtu.be/S8PppEGIo60


Covid-19 and Gender Advocacy Brief in ethnic languages

Covid-19 and Domestic Violence Poster Ethnic language

Covid-19 Poster from LIFT Strategic partner (ethnic languages)



Information Sharing

1. Cora Weiss Fellowship for Young Women Peace Builder

The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) is pleased to announce its fifth annual Cora Weiss Fellowship for Young Women Peacebuilders. The Fellowship year will commence in October 2020 and end in October 2021. GNWP will cover roundtrip airfare from the country of origin to New York and health insurance. It will also provide the Fellow with a stipend to cover room and board, local transportation, and other personal expenses for one year. The deadline for application is July 15th, 2020 and please see details 

2. Invitation: Best practices and learning from local women peacebuilders around the world 

You are formally invited to join the lively conversation focused on sharing best practices and learning from local women peacebuilders around the world organised by UNDP, UN Women, WILPF and ICAN. Please see the details in the attached file. The consultation will run until 30 June, 2020 and please click the link to join the conversation: www.sparkblue.org/wpsrecovery



SnapShot of GEN-CU Staff

 Here are some snapshots of GEN-CU staff sorting and carrying the donation items for the Covid-19 response.