Welcome to the December 2020 Edition of the GEN Monthly Newsletter. A year has again passed, and everyone would agree that 2020 hit us hard. Nevertheless, despite unprecedented challenges, GEN was able to move forward with quick momentum thanks to donors, partners, SCs, members and CU staff. GEN would like to express gratitude to each and every one of you for your contribution to GEN.
Every month, we request a GEN member, or SC members or GEN-CU staff to provide a greeting letter that reveals how being part of GEN impacts their lives. This month, we request Dr Phyo Thet Lwin from Myanmar Partners in Policy and Research (MPPR), an active NGO/CSO member of GEN and the winner of Active Member Award 2020 for NGO/CSO category, to share his thoughts and experience with GEN.
My name is Dr. Phyo Thet Lwin.  I am Program Manager of Myanmar Partners in Policy and Research (MPPR).  MPPR is a local organization promoting the rights of women and young people.  We use sexual and reproductive health and rights and GBV as entry points for discussions of gender equality and rights.
In GEN, I am among the minority of male members. Most members are women, and I am often one of a few males attending meetings and events.  In MPPR, we find male engagement in gender equality of a paramount importance.  We train and develop not only female champions in the community but engage male volunteers and leaders in our work for gender equality. 
Members of MPPR believe that to build a gender equal society, it is essential to consider the socially constructed notions of gender, not only of femininity but also masculinity. Men continue to dominate important decision-making processes while women’s contributions are undervalued.  Men are less involved in caregiving of children, elderlies, and those vulnerable, and instead, remain to be the primary perpetrators of violence.  Why is this the case?
Research in the field of gender has identified many ways in which patriarchal gender norms, particularly masculinities, can drive social and economic inequalities, risk taking, conflict, and insecurity. Traditional gender roles emphasize men to be a breadwinner through economic activities while relegating domestic obligations to ‘women’s work.’ The larger social and economic structures undergird gender inequality in the workplace and home through higher income for men. The images of masculine men in societies continue to associate masculinity with violence.  Social and cultural norms define what it means to be a man. 
Working for gender equality is often assumed to mean stressing the roles, needs, and right of women and girls.  While it is essential, MPPR considers it insufficient.  Truly addressing gender inequality requires male involvement. If we want to make a real change with a true gender perspective, we must engage men in critical examination of the roles and day-to-day experiences of men and boys, just as we must with women. I consider my role in GEN to be one of these men who promotes this perspective. 


GEN's Highlights

16 Days of Activism Campaign

In December, 16 Days of Activism campaign which started in mid-September reached to its peak point. In this month, other competitions such as Movie Review Competition and Cover Song Competition continued as the last competitions of the campaign and the winners of the previous competitions were announced on Facebook. The works of the winners were showcased on the 16 days of activism and Forever White Ribbon Facebook pages with the remarks of the respective juries. In addition, celebrities reinforced the 16 Days of Activism campaign by conveying the key messages and theme through photos. For video materials, a theme song and ethnic language videos were produced.



Online Discussion

On 19th December 2020, GEN organized an online discussion titled “Is Violence Against Women personal or family problem?” via Zoom platform and live stream on Facebook. GEN invited speakers from gender and women organizations to deliver different insights on this pressing issue. This online discussion reached a variety of audiences and gained good engagement. GEN would like to thank all the speakers and moderator for your contribution.


White Ribbon Quiz Live Show

As the major activity of the campaign this year, GEN organized the Quiz Show in collaboration with Mizzima Media. The first episode was aired in November and the second and third episodes were aired on 2nd and 9th December respectively on Mizzima TV Channel. Famous Singer May Thu Kyaw, Writer and Influencer Dr Phyo Thiha who is also the winner of Champion for Gender Equality Award 2020 and Founder of Kings N Queens LGBT organization and Miss Ma Myat Noe Phyu participated as hosts of the show, along the presenters from Mizzima Media.

Facebook Frame

In order to promote campaign theme, the Facebook Frame of the campaign was created. Then, to increase public engagement, Facebook frame contest also took place from Nov 16 to Dec 10. Over 700 participants involved in the activity by using the Facebook frame on the regarding period and 20 participants were selected out of them by the Comment Picker Application to deliver phone bill reward.


Thanks to our donors – LIFT, UNFPA, IDRC and Trocaire for supporting the campaign.

Advocacy Training

Gender Equality Network organized an Advocacy Training from 2nd to 4th December 2020 for Thazin Community Development Institute (TCDI) and Sami Fellows Organization’s (SFO). Sayarma Khin Ma Ma Myo facilitated the training and shared the practical strategies which can be applied in the ground. After the training, the participants gained a better understanding of what advocacy is, what are the advocacy strategies and how to apply them. This training is supported by Christian Aid.

Women Leadership Training

In collaboration with Dagon University Women Committee, GEN organized the 3-day women leadership training from 22nd to 24th December 2020. Sayarma Daw Shwe Shwe Sein Latt facilitated the training through group discussions. University students from different regions attended the training. This training is supported by Trocaire.

Policy Dialogue Workshops

Four policy dialogue workshops were organized in December via Zoom in four project areas: Kachin, Kayin, Shan and Mandalay. CSOs from four regions, Department of Social Welfare, General Administrative Department, Department of Immigration, Police Force, Department of Planning, and Members of Parliaments attended the workshops and there was a total of 95 participants. The aim of the workshop is to seek gender-related issues in the region in order to change the policies and implement gender-related activities by the collaboration of CSOs, local authorities and MPs. This activity was supported by EU.

Members’ Highlights

Fish for Livelihoods Project launches in Wetlet and Namsan townships By Brac Myanmar

The fish for Livelihoods project, which aims to increase income and nutrition, is also implementing projects in Wetlet and Namsam townships. Currently, community orientation and pond location surveys are underway in Wetlet and Namsan townships. The project is supporting 940 Fish Farmers in Madaya Township, Khin Oo Township, Taunggyi Township, Wetlet Township and Namsan Township.

Project provided fish species, nutrition awareness activities and technical training in Madaya, Khin Oo and Taunggyi Townships in 2019-2020. Our Benificiaries farmers were supported Monitoring & Sampling of Nutrition Development Activities throughout the year.

As a new project site, Community Orientation, Farmers Group Formation Participatory Community Appraisal activities have started in Wetlet and Namsan Townships. The project supported (600) fish farmers in Madaya, Khin Oo and Taunggyi Townships. A total of (104) women were involved and provided them with nutrition activities, fish sampling and other technical awareness activities. The Fish for Livelihoods project is being implemented by BRAC Myanmar and funded by World Fish.

Religions for Peace-Myanmar (RfP-M)

Religions for Peace-Myanmar (RfP-M) works with different religious groups on peace and social development program in Sittwe and Kyautphyu, Pyay, Yangon, Myitkyina and Lashio. Geographically, RfP-M focuses on Rakhine State, Yagon region, Bago and Ayeyarwaddy Division, Kachin State and Northern Shan State.  The RfP-M always values and stands for peaceful coexistence and tolerance amongst inter/intra religious and ethnic community, as well as social and political harmonization between different community and institution.

Regarding women's rights and gender equality, we would like to highlight the ongoing project in Sittwe and Kyaukphyu, Yangon, Bago, Myintkyina and Lashio. The project's fundamental objective is to strengthen, promote peace, empower, create socio-political space, and support the leadership skills of women from different religions and ethnicities.

Importantly, we focus on the perception of women and their role in politics and reconciliation, the vitality of women involvement in social and political space, and the inclusiveness of women's voices. In addition, the Religions for Peace-Myanmar is also implementing and facilitating women's capacity building in leadership skills, conflict analysis and reconciliation, peacebuilding, gender equality, legal rights awareness, social cohesion, and other development trainings at RfP-M project’s areas: Rakhine (IDP Camps), Yangon, Bago, Ayeyarwaddy, Kachin (IDP Camps) and Northern Shan State.

16 Days of Activism by Mandalar Yaung Sin

For the 16 Days of Activism 2020, Mandalar Yaung Sin held the essay, short stories and poem competitions. A lot of contestants participated and prizes including first prize, second prize, third prize and two special prizes were awarded by the juries committee. In addition, in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare, regional organizations led by Women Committee, online events, awareness raising seminars, talk shows were held for the 16 Days of Activism Campaign.

GEN’s support in Others’ work

Paralegal Network Meeting

On the 8 December 2020, GEN's Director presented about GEN’s experiences of networking at Paralegal Network Meeting organized by My Justice in the afternoon.  The meeting was attended by more than 100 participants from 8 States/Regions working on different thematic issues such as Women, Youth, Children, Gender, LGBT, PWD Labor, Migrants and CSO Strengthening, Land, Environmental and Natural Resource Management Justice Center and Paralegal Network.


Ceremony of Soroptimist International Yangon Charter

GEN's Director provided a speech at the Ceremony of Soroptimist International Yangon Charter by zoom on the 12 December. Myanmar was marked to be the 13th country in the Federation of the Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific, and the first Soroptimist International Club chartered in Myanmar. Soroptimist International of Yangon is the dynamic team of women helping to educate, empower and enable women and girls to reach their full potential. The members consit with powerful and effective advocates of women’s and girls’ rights.

Virtual Stakeholders Meeting for better cooperation to end Violence against Women

On 10 December 2020, GEN’s Head of Program gave a presentation about recommendations for better cooperation among social partners in the virtual event, named “Virtual Stakeholders Meeting for better cooperation to end Violence against Women”, organized by Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Population.

Consultation Meeting

On the 11 December, GEN's Director joined as a resource person at consultation meeting for development process of GESI (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Policy) of MIT Gender Studies Center by zoom in the morning.


“Strengthening Women’s Role in Building and Sustaining Peace: from Commitments to Results” Conference

GEN’s Steering Committee, Daw Nang Phyu Phyu Lin, participated in the panel discussion of an International Conference on “Strengthening Women’s Role in Building and Sustaining Peace: from Commitments to Results” held recently in Ha Noi, Viet Nam virtually on 8th Dec 2020 as a GEN representative.

Ma Ok Bu program

GEN’s Training Coordinator participated as one of the speakers in the Episode 1 of Ma Ok Bu program by IDLO which was aired on 10th December 2020. This program focused on the barriers preventing to seek justice in reporting the prevalent violence against women during the Covid-19 period, the need for law and policy and the experience and perspective of justice seekers. This program was held on Zoom application and live on Rule of Law Myanmar Facebook page.

Link - https://fb.watch/2hy8tt1H6W/


“Gender Integration in Forest Management Practice: What are the key issues and what activities can allow integration?” Webinar

GEN’s Head of Policy Advocacy participated as a speaker in a webinar on “Gender Integration in Forest Management Practice: What are the key issues and what activities can allow integration?” organized by RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests in Myanmar on 28th December 2020. She provided an overview of gender equality policy provisions in Myanmar and discuss its application in the environment and community forestry sector policies and practice.

16 Days Activism Event & Human Rights Day Round Table Discussion

On the 10 December, GEN's Director joined as a panelist on 16 Days of Activism event organized by Christian Aid by zoom in the morning. In the afternoon, she joined virtual ound table discussion on Human Rights to mark International Human Rights Day with human rights activists organized by US Embassy.




Women, Peace and Environment (CESLJ) Webinar

On the 16 December, GEN's Director joined as a speaker at Women, Peace and Environment (Climate, Environment and Stability Learning Journey) Webinar organized by UK Government's  Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) by zoom in the afternoon. She shared about the importance of Women’s leadership in peace building and climate change adaptation and mitigation, the case of Myanmar. In the discussion, they focused on the gendered impacts of climate, conflict and the important of women leadership.  Almost 50 participants were attended.

"It Starts With Mee" Campaign

On the 18 December, GEN's Director joined “It Starts With MEE” campaign virtual launch in the morning. It Starts With MEE campaign is a Myanmar energy efficiency awareness campaign. It aims to educate households and businesses on practices and technologies that lead to the efficient use of energy for economic, environmental and social benefits. GEN Director shared Why is energy efficiency important? And How can we start? 

UPR Pre-Session 37

UPR Pre-Session 37 was held virtually on the 7 December 2020 and it was opened by the Myanmar Permanent mission to Geneva. Five CSOs representatives made their video statement and GEN’s Co-Chair presented the recommendations on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Myanmar at the session.

Advisory Group Meeting of the Women's Voice and Leadership

GEN Advisor participated in the Advisory Group Meeting of the Women's Voice and Leadership on 14 December 2020 to review operational matters related to the project.

Network Sustainability

GEN Advisor and staff of GEN Coordination Unit participated in the 3-days workshop on "Network Sustainability" organized in collaboration with DCA-NCA from 21-23 December 2020.

Featured Resource

16 Days of Activism Theme Song

To promote the 16 days of activism campaign, the new theme song was developed and launched on Dec 10, the last day of the 16 days of activism global campaign and the Human Rights Day as well. The famous composer, Seint was hired for composing and arrangement of music production process. As the singers, Mee Noe, Sofia Everest, May Thu Kyaw, and Nant Chit Nadi Zaw were involved.

Facebook Link - https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=145519420339798 

Ethnic Language Videos of 16 Days of Activism Key Messages

For the purpose of better accessibility, the key message of the campaign was delivered in eight ethnic languages and disseminate these videos via the Forever White Ribbon Facebook page and youtube channel of GEN within November and December 2020. The selected speakers were requested to provide video message in their ethnic languages. Care Myanmar allowed to use their illustration in the video.


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=870382867101862

Youtube - https://youtu.be/J43O4_ddEV8


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1130687077387689

Youtube - https://youtu.be/DzjDZKCoTCg


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=441207653538678

Youtube - https://youtu.be/jqe23uoFDB8


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=493435088284782

Youtube - https://youtu.be/B4q4PuXeGcc


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=857963884993075

Youtube - https://youtu.be/pMFEgGta77w