We, the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) strongly believe that a sustainable peace process cannot be achieved in Karen State and Burma without delivering justice to women survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), and encouraging the holding to account of perpetrators of human rights violations. KWO assists women survivors through managed casework, including physical and emotional support and related advocacy. We also serve an important function in cataloging and collating data on human rights violations against women, so that these are made visible and women survivors are acknowledged.
The Strengthening Women Survivors (SWS) project aims to strengthen and empower women survivors of violence in post conflict transition period in Karen State, Burma. This is done through several different ways including meetings, training, exchanges, forums and events.
In 2018, SWS activities took place between January and November in eight townships with 117 beneficiaries. These activities included a capacity building workshop on gender equality and women’s rights with participants from Doo Pla Yar and Doo Tha Htu districts.
It also included participating in the launch of the AJAR joint report, ‘Speaking Truth for Peace,’ as well as a movement building workshop. Three survivor exchanges took place in September, October and November. Survivor exchanges include trust building activities where they are able to share their experiences through team building, discussions, storytelling and lifestyle mapping.
Five data-collection workshops through a participatory action research approach took place in 2019 between June and October in five townships. A survivor gathering was also held toward the end of 2019 with the 145 beneficiaries. The significance of the data collection workshops and training is that it helps the survivors to open up about their experiences in a safe environment. These exchanges show that they are not alone in their hard times. With their consent,
with the data collected we can use this as evidence for advocacy in getting recognition of the role of women leaders in conflict.
KWO is an ethnic women’s community-based organization that empowers women so they have capacity and power to solve their own problems and participate in decision-making that will affect their lives.
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