What is Essential is Invisible’: Empowerment and Security in Economic Projects for Low-Income Women in Four Mekong Countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam)

This research project, using both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, focused on women’s economic empowerment and social protection projects in four Mekong countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. It involved an exploration of the gaps between the level of policy makers and intended beneficiaries in terms of their conceptions of the ideas of empowerment and security and their perceptions of what is happening on the ‘ground’. In addition, the research examined under what conditions empowerment (as locally defined) and an increase in a sense of security (again, as locally defined) came as a result of economic empowerment and social protection projects, and under what conditions there was no such apparent benefit – or even negative effects – in spite of the well-meaning intentions of the projects. One key finding is that empowerment is not a single recipe, it needs to be contextualized, and that for a large number of low income women in the four countries, empowerment was a social or relational process, an aspect of empowerment often neglected by donors and development practitioners.

Keywords Economic Empowerment, Income, Gender, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam

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Understanding Barriers and Working Pathways to Women’s Political Participation In Myanmar

The aim of the project is to assess the extent and forms of women’s participation in the political sphere in Myanmar, and explore barriers and enabling factors. We define participation beyond just actions that influence or support governments to taking part in collective decision-making in a broad sense. Previous research has demonstrated low levels of women’s representation in national, subnational, and community governance, and explored the social and cultural norms that bar women from taking leadership roles.1 This research will extend these insights to analyze the pathways to participation across multiple levels of governance: (1) National parliament, political parties, and social movements; (2) State/Division parliaments, government offices; and (3) District, township, and village groups. Using the concept of pathways will allow us to utilize and study women’s personal path to political power, to understand what can undermine at any point upward mobility in the political system and what can facilitate or provide entry points or further engagement at different moments in a woman’s life.

Keywords Gender, Political Participation, Equality, Myanmar

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Capacity building of gender and development studies at Yangon University of Economics

This project contributes to capacity building of YUE for qualitative research. It consists of graduate education at AIT, curriculum development of gender and development at YUE, qualitative research training workshop and small research projects, and joint supervision of students. As the result of the project, YUE now runs a gender and development studies graduate course.

Keywords gender, qualitative research, policy, Myanmar, graduate education

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Curriculum Development Workshop

Curriculum development

Workshop

The curriculum development workshop was designed to introduce participants to gender concepts and relevant discussions. Two gender modules on social protection and social policy were also covered to showcase how gender perspectives could be integrated in to exiting courses in the program. Participants then analyzed case studies and did exercises to understand and translate the theoretical concepts from the introductory sessions to grassroots Myanmar context. In addition, needs assessment was done on research capacity building to help design future workshops and group research project plans.

Keywords gender, qualitative research, policy, Myanmar, graduate education

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Myanmar Forestry University and WCS visiting AIT

Special Lecture for Visiting Students and Faculty from Myanmar Forestry University, and WCS staffs

“REDD+ Rules, Drivers and REDD+ Activities”

presented by Dr.Nophea Sasaki, NRM Faculty

On 17 October 2018, Dr.Nophea Sasaki NRM faculty was teaching REDD+ to a group of students from Myanmar’s Forestry University and Staff of WCS who visiting at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

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