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 Ko Myo Khaing Htoo, an SC member of GEN representing an active NGO member of GEN, Phan Tee Eain, to share his thoughts and experience with GEN.
My name is Myo Khaing. I’m now involved in GEN as a GEN’s Steering Committee member representing Phan Tee Eain. Since GEN requested me to write the greeting letter for the newsletter, I would like to express about Covid-19 pandemic and GEN.
As everybody knows, the activities of our organizations were suspended since April and offices were closed temporarily due to Covid-19 pandemic. We faced situations in which the way we implement our projects can’t go back to normal. That’s when I noticed GEN’s way of implementing the activities. While other organizations were finding ways to continue implementing the activities, GEN CU Team used the social media for weekly educational programs, capacity building short courses for the members and Covid-19 awareness-raising posters to connect with the general public. That’s how GEN utilized its strength in the time of difficulty – in my opinion. And GEN was able to include different topics and experts from different fields in conducting the weekly panel discussions via Zoom.
I’d like to congratulate GEN CU members with this letter for your effort to carry out beneficial programs for the network members and the general public despite having a difficult time. I wish you more success in conducting more innovative and beneficial activities for the network members and the general public.
3rd July is the Myanmar Women’s Day and July is the month to honour the Myanmar Women. GEN also celebrated this special occasion individually and collaboratively with the Myanmar National Committee on Women (MNCW). A team of GEN including the director and steering committee members planted trees at the community centre of Pyi Gyi Kin located in East Dagon on 25th June 2020 as a pre-celebration of Myanmar Women’s Day. GEN also participated in the online activities of MNCW by uploading a Facebook frame and quiz on the MNCW Facebook Page.
To honour the Myanmar Women, GEN posted the brief profiles of outstanding Myanmar Women for knowledge and honoring their ability and contribution to our society. GEN portrayed the profiles of 12 pioneer Myanmar women who are general, Ph.D., doctor, cartoonist and etc. This program gained active engagement from Facebook followers as well.
As another activity of Myanmar Women’s Day and another way to honour Myanmar Women, GEN held an essay competition on Facebook. The essays could be about Myanmar women who have an impact on the writers in one way or another. A lot of people showed interest in the competition and GEN received a total of 68 essays at the deadline. People from different age ranges and different regions participated in the essay competition and wrote about inspiring women. The aim of this essay competition is to acknowledge the capacity and leadership skills of Myanmar women and it was promising to see the engagement and participation of competitors.
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 on those who are more vulnerable than others. The following interview topics were conducted in this month:
Covid 19 & Psychosocial Support
We are aware and have acknowledged that Covid-19 pandemic has affected various aspects of our lives: work, lifestyle and etc. Another thing that is equally important to be taken into consideration is our mental health. It is paramount to keep our mental health in check during this gloomy Covid-19 period. To understand under what situations stress is caused, how to know when stress occurs, and how to handle stress, GEN contacted Sayarma Mi Mi Thin Aung (Gender and Psychosocial Specialist) and made an interview. This interview will be presented in two parts and Sayarma Mi Mi Thin Aung shared tips on what should be done to prevent and combat the physical and mental consequences of anxiety. We hope this interview is somewhat beneficial for all of you and we thank Sayarma Mi Mi Thin Aung for this informative interview.
Youtube Link Part 1 - https://youtu.be/vJGuuojwOOo
Youtube Link Part 2 - https://youtu.be/0gZXCVOtdgA
Covid-19 and Women in Economy
Factories and business on which factory workers’ livelihood depends on had to shut down due to Covid-19 and as a consequence, there has been impacts on factory workers. To know what kind of difficulties, challenges, impacts are posed for the business owners, male workers and female workers, Gender Equality Network made an interview with Sayarma Phyo Sandar Soe (Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar) and Sayarma Phyo Let Han (Rainfall Gender Organization). This interview will be presented in three parts and GEN would like to thank the interviewees for your time.
Youtube Link - https://youtu.be/48W-lHgnnYE
As a component of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) funded “Understanding Barriers and Working Pathways to Women’s Political Participation in Myanmar” Study, GEN organized the Household survey Training at its Gender Resource Centre from 15th to 17th July 2020. Eighteen women and two men field researchers from Rural Women Network (May Doe Gabar) and Karen Women Empowerment Group (KWEG) attended the training. The training was commenced with opening remark from GEN’s Director. Research protocol reviewed and approved by the Ethical Review of Committee (ERC) of Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement was briefed by Research Manager. Research Ethics, Do’s, and Don’ts in household survey collection was explained by Prof.Franque Grimard from McGill University through zoom platform. Research Coordinator explained Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) and all field researchers learned and practiced the household survey data collection by using tablets. COVID-19 preventive measures recommended by Ministry of Health and Sport were followed throughout the training. And field research will be conducted in Chin State, Kayin State, Mon State, Magway Region, and Yangon within July and August 2020 by following the Ministry of Health and Sport recommendations.
GEN and UN Women jointly organized a second zoom meeting on Gender and COVID on 15 July, with many CSOs' participation. The GEN Adviser presented on (i) GEN updates on activities responding to COVID 19 and (ii) COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) and CSOs.
GEN and UN Women prepared survey questions for CERP and CSOs' role for undertaking a Survey Monkey to determine the role of CSOs in implementing CERP.
On 1st July 2020, GEN Director joined the AGIPP SC meeting via zoom as a chairperson of AGIPP.
On 7th July 2020, GEN Director joined a zoom meeting with UNDP together with other CSOs' leaders for how to engage with Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC).
GEN Director joined an online consultation workshop for National Study on Women’s Life Experiences by zoom jointly organized by UNFPA, DSW and CSO (Central Statistics Office) on 13th July 2020.
GEN Director joined CSO Sustainability Index consultation workshop organized by LRC at Green Hill hotel on 17th July 2020.
GEN Adviser, together with GEN team, had organized consultative meetings with CSOs in Mawlamyine on 25 July; KyawIn Seikyi on 26 July and HpaAn on 27 July to obtain their inputs for the two new projects that GEN will implement on (1) Improving Support and Opportunities for Deported Migrant Workers and Returnees, funded by LIFT, and (ii) Improving Women's Rights and Safety through Elimination of Conflict-related Sexual Violence, funded by Paung Sie Facility (PSF). On 28th July 2020, under the guidelines of MOHS, GEN`s Director, Adviser and Research Manager had a consultation meeting with CSOs in Karen State for GEN’s research projects through social distancing, and have an informal meeting with Social Minister of Karen State.
GEN’s Communications Manager, Aye Thada Hla, joined a Zoom webinar titled “How Myanmar’s Think Tanks Are Responding to Covid-19” hosted by Kivu International and IDRC on 21st July 2020 as a speaker. The purpose of this webinar is to explore the ways that three different think tanks in Myanmar are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. GEN’s representative shared GEN's experience and challenges in responding Covid-19 and adapting new situation to continue GEN's work.
Ko Win Pike Myo, Training Coordinator of Gender Equality Network, participated in the “Prevention and Protection of Violence Against Women Bill Panel Discussion” organized by the Yangon School of Political Science. This discussion took place on 11th July 2020a and the other speakers are Daw Thet Thet Aung, Daw Yuya Thu, Daw Khin Lay Nge and Daw Zarli Aye. The discussion was broadcast live on Zoom and YSPS Facebook age and the attendees were Members of Parliament, representatives from CSOs and the general public. A lot of questions and answers were raised during the discussion and GEN shared the current activities, gave suggestions on the loopholes, and presented the way forward regarding the bill.
Dagon University Students’ Union organized and broadcast the Introduction to Feminism Discussion live on Facebook on 3rd July at 10:00 am as a celebration for Myanmar Women’s Day. This discussion was led and facilitated by U Win Pike Myo from Gender Equality Network and Agatha Nu Nu from Gender Academy. University students and general public watched the live discussion and the viewership reached to 2.9 K.
On 3rd July 2020, GEN Director went day trip to Nay Pyi Taw for attending Myanmar Women`s Day Ceremony organized by Myanmar National Committee for Women. In the ceremony, the State Counsellor sent opening speech video message.
On 9th July 2020, GEN Director joined a zoom meeting representing as AGIPP`s Chair with women leaders from Women Leadership in Peace Process (WLPP) of NCA-S EAOs. Total of 37 participants including 2 male and 34 women presented at the meeting.
GEN Director joined a zoom meeting with MNCW together with other women's organizations on 10th July 2020.
On 30th July 2020, GEN Director Joined a Press Conference on PoVAW law organized by WLB with zoom. In the press conference, she shared what was the difficulties and experience to outcome PoVAW Law in Myanmar and how GEN overcame them. She also discussed why the law is urgently needed in Myanmar. More than 500 people joined the zoom press conference online.