The month of August has been an eventful one for us here at KNWO with lots of preparation and delivery required for our gender-based violence advocacy projects aiming for the enhancement of a protection system addressing Gender-Based Violence in the Kayah State.
Following on from our review and feedback workshop at the end of July (see previous blog post) we have several new initiatives and improvement schemes so that women and girls in their communities are able to recognise, prevent and respond to gender-based violence (referred to as GBV for the remainder of the article).
However, first we began the month with a staff outing to Mya Le, also known as Man Lar, Village of Demoso Township to attend the Karenni National Resistance Day ceremony. This was the first time local organizations in the Karenni State congregated to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Karenni National Resistance Day. Leaders of ethnic armed organizations, different ethnic people from the Karenni State, respective civil society organizations, NGO’s and local residents attended the ceremony.
Mid-August saw the implementation of our promised 24/7 help-line designed to respond to GBV victim’s needs, provide them with advice on how to react to a GBV case and refer victims to paralegal facilitators or to the KNWO case-management team. This help-line has been implemented in conjunction with the Finnish Refugee Council (FRC) and it is one of the outputs sponsored by the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO). Following a workshop to sensitize staff and create the guide-lines of the services as well as discuss practical operations of how the help-line will operate KNWO has employed two new staff members to operate the phone-line. Phone-line centre staff will work closely together with safe-house staff to ensure the needs of victims are responded to sensitively, urgently and compassionately.
The help-line marks a huge improvement to the accessibility of KNWO’s services for victims and we’re hopeful that this 24/7 confidential advice, help and assistance support will really save lives for those suffering from violence at home or in their community. KNWO’s help-line number is 09400089702 which can also be found in the ‘Get in Touch’ section of our website and on our Facebook Page. If you or anyone you know is suffering GBV please contact our staff – it’s confidential and we are able to offer free advice, as well as access to health care, legal aid and counselling.
On the 19th – 23rd of August some of our staff members made their way to refugee camps at Ban Nai Soi for our 6 monthly central committee meeting. The meeting occurred to review current activities at Camp 1 and Camp 2. KNWO runs several different programs at these camps to improve on the protection of women and children and the improvement of livelihoods for those in the camps. The meeting discussed feedback on current challenges within these programs and discussed ways to improve them.
The Education Advocacy Team (EAT) members as always got to have their say in contributing to our program structure and also had the opportunity to receive their official KNWO work identification badges.
This month also saw two different GBV training programs; first amongst non-state Karenni Mobile Health Clinic (funded by PACT Myanmar) and the second amongst staff at Loikaw General hospital (funded by FCO). The training was conducted by KNWO staff on GBV health related issues with the idea of sensitising health-staff and making sure they were able to effectively address the needs of GBV victims. The training included an exploration of gender stereotypes and cultural gender expectations, materials designed to understand and consider GBV victims’ perspectives, as well as basic psychosocial techniques to deal with the mental health issues GBV victims face.