Uniting with Courage and Creativity Against Violence in Myanmar
By Daniela Westphal Huber, Program Manager
It takes courage to speak up against violence and doubly so when your country is ruled by a repressive military regime. In Myanmar, over 100 people answered the call, traveling from seven different villages in northern Shan state to attend a local organization’s event raising awareness of violence against women and girls this past International Women’s Day. The event (pictured above) gathered village and youth leaders and community members for a discussion of video clips that told the stories of women facing harmful customary practices and overcoming gender norms.
Violence against women and girls was also the theme of a song and music video produced by a community network in the Rakhine language. The video campaign raised awareness and encouraged compassion for the lives of women in camps for internally displaced people—regardless of their ethnicity and religion. The region has a history of violence along ethnic lines, including ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, and discrimination and violence against women is a driver of conflict. Feedback on the video campaign showed that it touched people’s hearts and inspired them to take action on those values in their own communities—and it has been viewed tens of thousands of times so far:
Both these activities are part of the inaugural cohort of our Creative Influencing Campaign—the main advocacy component of our Watering the Banyan Tree project in Myanmar. The project has supported peacebuilders with training and dialogue since the military coup. Participating organizations are now applying what they have learned in the workshops. They are using their creativity to craft messages, then plan and launch influencing campaigns that expand their reach by using new and different approaches.
More from our work in Myanmar: