Last month marked the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict – a time to continue the push for an end to conflict-related sexual violence around the world.
This is exactly what International Alert has been doing in Myanmar through our project that supports various awareness raising training sessions. Together with our partners Thingaha Gender Organization (TGO), Phan Tee Eain (PTE) and Kings N Queens (KNQ), we are creating a space for sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) to be discussed and addressed openly across a country where it remains a widespread but poorly understood problem.
The trainings have been attended by 135 local people, service providers, civil society and local authorities alike – groups all eager to develop their knowledge around SGBV and prevent it in their own neighbourhoods. They have joined the local networks set up by the project where information about SGBV issues can be shared and updated.
Through encouraging better collaboration between the above groups, the local networks will also develop and implement action plans for preventing this form of violence in communities, as well as raising awareness about national and international legislation.
“It is necessary to advocate for policy reform to government authorities to address gender responsive action”, commented one participant from a PTE training session.
“By attending SGBV awareness raising training, we realised that each and every transwoman and gay person has gender-based violence experienced within their family and society since they were young”, reflected another participant from a KNQ training.
These activities are part of our Supporting Safer Communities project, which is improving understanding of SGBV among women, men and LGBT persons, who are all affected by it differently. The project focuses on six locations across Yangon, Shan and Mon state and Bago Division.
We will also be working with media to tell stories emerging from this project and with Members of Parliament to advocate for improving legal protection from SGBV, while findings will be shared internationally to encourage community-based measures to preventing SGBV that engage men, women and sexual and gender minorities to be taken up more widely.