#ItsNotOkay: Standing against violence on International Women’s Day

On 8th March 2018, KNWO held an International Women’s Day celebration at De Maw Soe township, Daw Ng Kha. The event attracted a total of 170 participants from the De Maw Soe township, Loikaw township, Nan Mae Kso city, Moe Byal city and Phruso township, comprising of local women, men, youth, section leaders, political parties, and YLFC students.

Karenni National Women's Organization-7

The event was a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge about women’s rights, as well as the importance of including women in peace building processes. Topics discussed included reducing gender-based violence (GBV) and support for survivors through safe-house services and local justice systems.

Highlights of the day included a role play on women and security prepared by the YLFC (Youth Life Formation Centre) and testimonies from two local representatives about the experiences of women in their communities.

Manaw yu Hpaw Htoo, from the Lawsi village, explained that in her community many women still do not recognize the abuse they face at home as domestic violence. Even when domestic violence is recognised and reported, local leaders tend to respond with ineffective traditional methods.

She shared “The majority of community leaders are men.  They don’t provide women with opportunities to make decisions and I feel our views are not respected. We want equal rights for men and women and for both to work together.”


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To end the day, participants all contributed towards a poster to send their personal messages about the importance of women’s rights, building peace and preventing violence against women. They demanded better care and sympathy for female survivors and improved safety for their children. Many shared their sense of pride in KNWO’s work and left with a stronger understanding of where women can seek support, justice and guidance.

There is a clear desire for change in the communities KNWO supports. Through events such as these, KNWO will continue to bring communities together to celebrate women’s vital contributions and ensure women’s safety and empowerment is prioritised at every level.

Learn more about KNWO’s work to eliminate GBV here: GBV Prevention & Survivor Support