Mingalarbar !
Welcome to the September 2020 Edition of the GEN Monthly Newsletter. Since the beginning of September, the number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar surged. The second wave hits harder than the first wave, resulting in a mandatory stay at home. We at the GEN-CU are currently working from home and staying strong in this unprecedented situation. We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this critical period.
Every month, we request a GEN member, or SC members or GEN-CU staff to provide a greeting letter that reveals how impacts their lives of being part of GEN. This month, we request Sayarma Khaing Zar Lin from ActionAid, an SC member of GEN representing the INGO category, to share her thoughts and experience with GEN


Mingalarpar ... 
I am honored by having this chance of greeting to you all. My name is Khaing Zar Lin. I am the Head of Program, Policy and Advocacy, and currently, the Interim Country Director of ActionAid Myanmar while our Country Director, Mrs. Araddhya Mehtta, is on leave until December this year. By the proportionate representation of the three categories of the Gender Equality Network membership (5 from NGO/CSOs: 4 from INGOs: 2 from Technical Resource Persons), I became one of the eleven elected Steering Committee members in 2019.  
I could say I grew up along with GEN’s establishment and growth over a decade as it originated from the Women’s Protection Technical Working Group in response to Cyclone Nargis, the time I join ActionAid with its community-led, women-centred emergency response and recovery program. Yes, ActionAid is still proud to be a grounding and founding member while all the past and present members of the network are all drivers of the change agenda and achievement as GEN today. For instance, GEN continues to secure the strategic space as a member of the Myanmar National Committee on Women (MNCW), contributing to the transformational change from within.  
The consistent focus of GEN, driven by the collective mission to achieve gender equality and social justice by transforming discriminatory systems and structures, norms, and practices, resulted (i) the development of Gender Resources Centre, (ii) Advocacy and Campaigns that have impacted not only at the local and national levels but also contributed to the global commitment towards gender equality, (iii) several evidence-based researches and publications documented by and for all of us thriving for why gendered norms, policies, and practices have disadvantaged some people than the others, and (iv) last for this letter but not the least as capacity building supports as part of the network role is also well appreciated and acknowledged by the members and other local organizations in and outside the network. Of course, there is still a lot and a long journey ahead.  
Looking forward, I trust all the members individually and collectively as Gender Equality Network, institutional donors, private foundations, activists, all individuals and organizations committed to the world of equality and justice shall continue to survive and stronger in responding to and in adaptation to living with the coronavirus global pandemic. 
From this monthly newsletter, I hope you will see, feel, and act all possible ways to continue promoting gender equality innovatively utilizing the digital platforms that GEN is already being transformed and adapting to continue our commitments. 
Enjoy reading, stay safe, and let’s continue to be socially connected while we are physically distant for the moment!

GEN’s Highlights

GEN’s Response to Covid-19

As a response against Covid-19, Gender Equality Network donated 13 items of supplies (Surgical and Reusable face masks, PPE gown, Face shields, Rubber hand gloves, KN-95 and N-95 Mask, etc.) which are worth 30,101,000 (20,331,000 + 9,770,000) MMK to the Social Welfare Department in Rakhine State and Dr. Nay Lin Htun, who will help to distribute the items in Rakhine State, in July and August. These supplies will be delivered to the 8 public hospitals in Sittwe, Maung Daw, Buuthi Taung, Ponner Gyun, Myae Bon, Min Pyar, Kyauk Taw and Pauk Taw townships in Rakhine State which is the second most-infected region with Covid-19 in Myanmar. Dr. Nay Lin Htun from Rakhine led to work with the regional hospitals for the supply donation and GEN does appreciate his contribution. This is the first time donation for Rakhine State and more donations will be made there as soon as the transportation re-open. Since the Covid-19 pandemic started in Myanmar, GEN has responded to it by donating the protection materials to the places that are in need, and donations to Rakhine state were made when there was the very first case of Covid-19. Many thanks to LIFT, Christian Aid, and Trocaire for the support to make these donations.


Online Discussion


On 4th September 2020 GEN organized an online discussion titled “Sexual Harassment” via Zoom platform and live stream on GEN’s Facebook. GEN invited experts from PSEA field, gender and law as the speakers and one of GEN’s SC members, Sayarma Khaing Zar Lin, acted as a moderator. This online discussion reached a variety of audiences and gained significant engagement: 6.5K Views. A lot of questions were raised from the participants in Zoom and Facebook and the discussion served as a medium in answering the peoples’ questions about sexual harassment. Other interesting online discussions will be organized in October and we invite you to stay tuned.

Facebook Link - https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=324285875475214 


16 Days of Activism Working Group Meetings

GEN organized the 16 Days of Activism working group meeting on 1st and 18th September to prepare for the upcoming campaign. GEN members and 16 Days of Activism working group members attended the meeting. Due to the current pandemic situation, 16 Days of Activism will be organized through online with a variety of competitions: Tik Tok competition, Short Stories competition, Essay competition, Cover Song competition, etc.

Members’ Highlights

Update from WaterAid Myanmar

WAMM noticed that it is very important to have private bathrooms and secured toilets for women and girls living in the Quarantine Centers and access to water for hygiene purposes. Therefore, in September 2020, WaterAid Myanmar provided necessary WASH facilities to 21 Quarantine Centers in Yangon. WAMM installed wash stations, separate bathrooms for men, women, and female-friendly toilets in ThinGyanKyun, Mingalar Taung Nyunt, Pazundaung, Tarmwe, ShwePyiThar, and HlaingTharyar in collaboration with Covid-19 Response Committee in each township.



Update from Marie Stopes International Myanmar

September is a month of very significant for the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women as two special days: 26th September, World Contraception Day, and 28th September, International Day for Safe Abortion are commemorated across the world. In Myanmar, the Ministry of Health and Sports and some organizations working on public health usually organize activities in honor of World Contraception Day. In fact, Sexual and reproductive health is not just a health matter, it is a crucial area to be more integrated and resourced in the broader efforts to move towards gender equality and a more developed nation. Every girl and every woman have the right to health and to do what she chooses with her body, her sexual life, and her fertility. These rights affect her personal development, her livelihood, her participation in society, and determine whether her family, community, and country thrive. When every girl and woman can decide what to do with her body, her life, and her future, the world will be a better, stronger, and safer place.

GEN’s support in Others’ work

CEDAW Alliance Review Workshop

On August 29 and 30, GEN's Director joined CEDAW Alliance Review Workshop with the Head of Policy & Advocacy Units and Head of Program Units. In the meeting, Women’s Organizations Network (WON), Gender Equality Network (GEN), Women League of Burma (WLB) and CEDAW Action Myanmar (CAM) were attended.

UPR Report Launching Event

On 30 August, Daw May Sabe Phyu joined the 2020 UPR Report Launching Event, organized by Burma/Myanmar UPR Forum, which was held in Yangon. The report was prepared by the Burma/Myanmar UPR Forum of a 29-member civil society group, and the Myanmar Child Rights Coalition, a 15-member organization. The report will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council with a report of the Myanmar Child Rights Coalition.

Myanmar National Committee on Women (MNCW) Meeting


GEN participated in the second meeting of the Myanmar National Committee on Women (MNCW) on 7 September 2020, led by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to discuss the activities implemented and the activities to be undertaken until the end of 2020 by the four Technical Working Groups under NSPAW implementation.

UNDP Global Initiative on Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) Launch & Panel Discussion

On September 10, the Director of GEN Joined as a panelist in UNDP Global Initiative on Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) launch & panel discussion for Gender Equality in Myanmar Public Administration organized by UNDP. GEN Director discussed a case study of Myanmar which measures the role of Myanmar women in the civil service. The leadership and participation of women in civil service are important for truly inclusive development and democratic governance. The Launch lasted for about two hours.

Virtual Conversation with Secretary Clinton & Ambassador Melanne Verveer

GEN's Director joined a virtual conversation with Secretary Clinton & Ambassador Melanne Verveer in the late afternoon on September 14. GEN`s Director shared the brief reflection on the greatest concern for advancing progress for women and girls in this moment and thing that could do most effectively going forward. Fifteen Global Women Leaders and Eight Generation Equality Leaders were attended.

Stand Up with Our Voice 2020 campaign

On September 9, GEN’s Director participated as one of the Campaign Ambassador for the Stand Up with Our Voice 2020 campaign and please see the talk show on a link provided. The purpose of the campaign is to support fair elections for female candidates in the 2020 elections with our voice. Please see the discussion at https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=646138419612407

Local Women’s Voices for Peace

On September 24, GEN's Director joined a panel discussion on Local Women’s Voices for Peace organized by Coady Institute and Noble Women's Initiative via Zoom in the morning. She shared about GEN's experiences for advancing women`s participation in the peace process in Myanmar.


Online Conference on End SGBV

On September 28, GEN`s Director joined an online conference on End SGBV: Strengthening commitments to prevent, respond, and protect against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Humanitarian Crisis.

PoVAW Law Coordination Meeting

GEN`s Director joined Zoom meeting for PoVAW Law Coordination meeting organized by Harvard Law School on the morning of September 29, attended by Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), Women`s League of Burma (WLB), Akhaya, Burmese Women Union (BWU), Legal Clinic Myanmar (LCM), Salween Institute for Public Policy, Harvard Law School and Gender Equality Network.

UPR Diplomats Briefing

On September 29, GEN’s Co-Chair Daw Nwe Zin Win presented recommendations for UPR report on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment at the UPR Diplomats briefing organized by UPR Burma Forum together with GEN`s Director. About 70 participants attended. (14 Embassies and 20 CSOs)

Online Press Conference for Stand Up with Our Voice 2020 Campaign

On September 30, Daw May Sabe Phyu joined an Online Press Conference for Stand Up with Our Voice 2020 campaign.


Submission of the 6-month report to DSW

Gender Equality Network (GEN) submitted a 6 months report (January-June 2020) to DSW to contribute to the consolidated work plan of Technical Working Groups of NSPAW.

Consultative Meeting

GEN, AGIPP, and UNWOMEN held a consultative meeting on 17 September 2020, to share the respective work plan of the 3 organizations with the aim to avoid duplication and promote cost-effectiveness and wider geographical coverage in implementing NSPAW-related activities.

Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) meeting

GEN participated in the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) meeting to discuss the activities in response to Covid-19 and GEN presented on the Open Letter to call on the Government of Myanmar and Partner in Development to meaningfully include women's rights organizations in the gender-equitable implementation of the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP).


Featured Resource

GBV and Law Poster

As a response against the increasing domestic violence during the Covid-19 period, Gender Equality Network reprinted the law poster which is originally published by Care Myanmar and Legal Clinic Myanmar. This reprinting is permitted by the owners and the poster raises awareness about the existing laws to report the violence and sexual harassment. 

Download link - https://genmyanmar.org/research_and_publications 

16 Days of Activism Pamphlet

GEN has re-designed and printed the 16 Days of Activism pamphlet which includes the history of the individual days. Unlike the previous pamphlet, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day was replaced on November 29.

Download link - https://genmyanmar.org/research_and_publications 


Champion for Gender Equality 

Episode 1: Ma Nandar

Gender Equality Network and Mizzima Media have collaborated to produce and broadcast a program called "Champion for Gender Equality". This program will present the champions in Myanmar who are working towards gender equality. The first episode features Ma Nandar (Founder, Purple Feminist Group). To watch the full episode, please go to https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=365573517790860