KWO’s Women Exchange Program

Goal: to encourage women of different backgrounds to share their concerns and exchange information and ideas.

About the Project:

The Women s Exchange with MAP started in 2001 and many women took part in a number of sites along the border area. Now, KWO runs regular Women’s Exchange meetings in Mae La Oo and Mae Ra Moe camps.

The meetings involve women from different ethnic and religious groups, to encourage open dialogue and cooperation. Participants have included Burmese women from the Burmese Women s Union (from Mae La Oo camp) and Karen women from KWO and KYO. They also included individuals representing NGOs and other CBOs.

The KWO Women s Exchange program is run in conjunction with the BWU. The monthly meetings were hosted by each organisation on an alternating basis and took place one month in Ma Ra Mo and the next month in Mae La Oon. At the meetings, the women exchanged information about their communities, raised concerns about issues in their sections in camp and shared information about their respective organisations.

The women also discussed specific topics identified at previous meetings like:

  • young people and development
  • young people and health education
  • women s health
  • women s vocational skills for income generation
  • personal care & hygiene
  • exploitation and human trafficking

Published by Karen Women Organisation

The Karen Women Organisation was formed in 1949 and has a membership of over 64,100 women. KWO is a community-based organisation of Karen women working in development and relief in the refugee camps on the Thai border and with IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and women inside Burma. Since our formation in 1949 we have expanded our focus from one of purely social welfare to try to encourage an awareness of Women's Rights and to promote women’s participation in the community decision making and political processes. The objectives of the KWO  To assist women in the endeavour to be free from all forms of oppression.  To promote and empower women in all spheres of life, including education and general living standards.  To encourage women to participate in the struggle for freedom, democracy and equality.  To develop women's knowledge, ability and skills, including political and organizational skills.  To achieve the rights of women and equal status with men.  To promote and maintain Karen culture and traditions.  To improve the well-being of women and children and to increase their access to adequate health, education and welfare services. KWO aims to empower women through offering various capacity building trainings to teach skills, build confidence and create new opportunities so that women will be better able to solve problems. We are working hard to educate ourselves and our communities so that we can work more effectively and advocate for our struggle on the international stage. We believe that women’s contribution is an essential factor in the peace-building and national reconciliation processes of Burma.

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