All SWAN staff, from both Chiang Mai and Taunggyi, travelled to Lashio in northern Shan State on the 21st March in preparation for the landmark occasion of the Shan Women’s Get-together and 18th Anniversary of SWAN’s inception. SWAN also used this important time to meet with community leaders, local authorities and EAO officials, stakeholders and community organisations. Lashio is a new working area for SWAN and accordingly, we prioritised community consultation, engaging and networking to strengthen the relationships for our future collaboration and to determine the needs of the community.
SWAN’s 4th Emerging Women’s Leadership Training (EWLT) was held in Chiang Mai over three weeks, from the 19th of September to the 7th of October 2016. The 16 emerging leaders travelled from their homes from different part of Shan State, Kachin State, Sagaing Division and Mandalay Division. Mostly they are from Kachin State – Bamaw, Sagaing Division - Homaline, Mandalay Division – Mandalay, Northern Shan State - Hsenwi, Hsipaw, Kyaukme, Nam Lan, Southern Shan State - Pang Loung, Mong Hsu, Kesi, Kho Lam, Taunggyi. Three of SWAN’s current interns also had the opportunity to attend the training as well as four of SWAN’s current staff members.
SWAN’s mission is gender equality so we work at all levels to affect this. One of our major grass-roots approaches is hosting Women’s Exchanges where we invite any woman to attend: old or young; academic or illiterate; student, worker or house manager and mother. In mid-July 2016, SWAN’s local Focal Points *, community health workers and some of our staff from Taunggyi organised a series Women’s Exchanges over 3 days in 3 villages around Kunhing in Central Shan State, Burma. These successful community forums for women’s issues attracted in total 147 women from the areas around these 3 villages.
Two SWAN staff members had the chance to attended the CREA Women’s Exchange (20-25th June 2016) in Nepal in June, 2016. Organized by CREA, a feminist organization working for women’s rights based in India, this Women’s Exchange was held in Kathmandu. Women of Burma’s various ethnic groups were represented with 7 women’s organisations from Burma participating, including SWAN.
SWAN’s Young Women’s Leadership Training for 2016 is coming to a close. Thirteen youths took part in this 3 month long training inside Shan State, Burma. This time around the training combined experts, mentors and experienced facilitators to provide a holistic leadership learning experience for these young women. Human Rights, community development, ABCD (assets based community development), democracy, Burma’s Constitution, law, women’s rights, ASEAN, research and report writing, networking and advocacy are just some of the important topics explored and practiced by the trainees.