Gihan Abdalla has been a business and news anchor for more than 20 years. She is featured on a primetime program on the economy that covers local problems and government performance, investigating such issues as government corruption, Egypt’s increasing poverty ratio, the main reasons for inflation and the role of the central bank in controlling the stability of the Egyptian economy after the revolution. She is interested in labour rights and the high unemployment that has resulted from the closure of thousands of factories, as well as such issues as the gasoline shortage and electricity cuts that resulted from political instability.
Goal: To create a program that investigates the economic challenges facing Egypt in 2014.
Gender and Policy
Action Against Hunger
Harriet Adong works to help women and girls displaced by the war and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence to overcome poverty and develop sustainable livelihoods and economic empowerment. She works with community advocacy groups on issues of response, protection and gender-based violence at the grassroots, district and national levels through campaigns, community dialogues and community drama advocacy.
Goal: To strengthen the livelihood of women and girl survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in northern Uganda by educating them about their human rights, financial management and gaining skills to reinforce agricultural and livestock production and income diversification at the community and household levels.
Program and Research Officer
Center for Gender and Social Transformation, BRAC Development Institute
Marufa Akter joined BRAC Development Institute (BDI) as a program officer of the South Asian Regional Secretariat for Women Parliamentarians (SARSWP) in September of 2012. She specializes in public policy. After completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international relations at the University of Dhaka, Akter completed a second master’s in public policy from the University of Erfurt, Germany. Her professional areas of interest are conflict management and transformation, and nonprofit management. She is pursuing a postgraduate certificate course on conflict transformation and peace building across cultures at the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont. Before joining the Secretariat, Akter was at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Dhaka for two years. She worked extensively in the capacity development of government and nongovernment sectors on formulating policies relevant to local development.
Goal: To design a training program for women members of the parliament in South Asia and to set up a regional network on gender justice.
United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
Jane Alao is a programme officer in the Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, where she supports the mandate of the mission in the areas of recovery integration and peace building. She advocates for delivery of services, including land and basic needs, to returnees, and supports reconstruction and peace building, working closely with the relevant state ministries and commissions. In peace building, Alao seeks to ensure that there is a coexistence and peaceful interaction between the host community and returnees and any other displaced persons in the state, also ensuring that women get access to land. She has attended workshops in post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization initiated by UNMISS, as well as training programmes to enhance conflict prevention and peacemaking in Africa initiated by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. Alao is pursuing a master’s in conflictology in Spain.
Goal: To assist in the efforts to build a reformatory center that will rehabilitate street children and reintegrate them in to schools, which will also protect young boys and girls from suffering abuses, such as gender-based violence, that they face on a daily basis in the street.
ACHOL WILLIAM AMOI
Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly
State Legislative Assembly, South Sudan
Achol William Amoi initiates and endorses bills for the state governor’s consent and serves as a custodian of the laws passed by the Assembly, ensuring their proper implementation. She also is a member of the women’s caucus in the Assembly, where she works closely with women’s groups advocating for their social, economic and political rights. Currently, Amoi is engaged in promoting adult women and girls’ education. With the increase of street children in the state, she organized a fundraising activity to embark on rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for these vulnerable children who are mostly separated from their parents or orphaned. With other women in the Assembly, she advocates for policies to address these problems.
Goal: To engage in elaborate adult education programmes that will help women acquire new skills and vocations that will provide them with economic opportunities for self-empowerment and advocate against discriminatory laws and harmful traditional practices. After the war, women have risen up and are hungry for education, in spite of their age and the poverty that still keeps them down.
Legal Aid Commission of Mullaitivu
Silvester Anetvini has conducted many awareness and training sessions for the empowerment of women through her work as a point person dealing with issues related to women and children in the Legal Aid Commission. She has written articles published by the law students’ association of the University of Jaffna and has participated in many legal case conferences with people and government staff working for women and leadership trainings. She has represented women victims in many court cases. In addition, Anetvini attended a train the trainers program conducted by Care International.
Goal: To empower women and men to reduce gender-based violence, preferably through mediation and referrals, and to educate people about their rights. Also, to conduct training sessions for newly married couples to help change men’s attitudes about women’s roles in the home and society.
Reaksmey Arun is the executive director of Strey Khmer, where she works with women to raise awareness of their legal and human rights, to engage women in leadership and political participation, and to provide access to different forms of justice for victims of state-based violence against women inflicted as part of illegal land grabbing and forced evictions. She is involved in a range of civil society and social justice coalitions. She is writing a research paper on women’s migration for her master’s in international relations.
Goal: To extend economic empowerment to women who have lost their livelihoods through forced and illegal land grabs by working with a group of women on the development of a sustainable mushroom-growing project that will provide a living wage for each of the women involved in the project. The group’s goal is to support the capacity building of this project so that it can also be rolled out to other communities.
WIN PYAE PYAE AUNG
Union of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Win Pyae Pyae Aung earned a master’s in biotechnology and is pursuing a postgraduate diploma in political management at the Myanmar Development Resource Institute. Aung’s work involves creating a rights-based approach to development, especially in the area of basic consumer rights. She seeks to improve the country’s food policies and to promote knowledge sharing and international networking.
Goal: To reduce poverty and improve national health and well-being by increasing access to education, jobs and food.
Oxfam Great Britain
Shabnam Baloch works in Hyderabad in the Sindh province, where she is responsible for humanitarian, conflict transformation and advocacy efforts. She works closely with local communities, civil society organizations and other stakeholders and has been working with women leaders in different situations, such as tribal conflicts, disasters and development. She frequently writes for leading English dailies.
Goal: To create gender-sensitive strategies, focusing on women’s issues to reach women in conflict areas and document their stories.
Manager of Gender Mainstreaming
Sungi Development Foundation
Khadija Begum started working toward women’s empowerment as a student. She volunteered with activist groups that focused on eliminating violence against women. After completing two master’s degrees—one in international relations and one in political science—she began a career as a field worker and has worked for more than 14 years mobilizing women to organize and speak up for their rights. Begum currently works for a national NGO, where she manages issues pertaining to gender mainstreaming. Efforts involve the political participation of women, conflict resolution and peace building, social cohesion and improvement in social service delivery through advocacy with relevant government departments.
Goal: To foster the political participation of women in third-world countries, devising new strategies to overcome cultural and security challenges.
Women and Child Rights Project
Htaw Chan has launched many programs as the coordinator for the Women and Child Rights Project, including giving documentation training to women and doing research on women’s justice. Chan attended the Mon Women’s Conference in March 2014 and was particularly interested in learning about involving women in politics. Chan is currently in Mawlamyine, Myanmar, conducting research on women’s justice.
Goal: To support and encourage women’s involvement in the community, and to assist women in developing confidence so that they feel empowered to become involved in peace building. Chan hopes to tap into a global network of women who face similar issues so that they can share ideas and experiences that will help her develop projects within her own community.
Joanna Dhanabalan‘s commitment to empowering vulnerable people and her passion for developing communities has led her to shift focus from the corporate world to nonprofit development. Armed with an engineering degree, Joanna has worked in the IT and publishing sectors. She served in South Sudan with VSO as an advisor, building capacity for the State Ministry of Education by mentoring and transferring technical expertise to improve the delivery of basic services. She also taught sociology at a development college in South Sudan. Her community work is designed to foster local solutions so that disadvantaged people can have a voice, take action and make participatory decisions. She is an advocate for child rights and peace building, and for creating awareness of issues related to cultural practices that impair the education of girls, youth and women. She uses her enriching experiences to challenge young professionals in India to step up, share skills and fight poverty.
Goal: To empower and rebuild vulnerable women’s lives in India and bring about transformational development by mentoring and building capacity for women community leaders to maximize their participation in the development process.
EVELYN ARIYARATNAM DISSANAYAKE
The Training Nest
Evelyn Ariyaratnam Dissanayake is the executive director of The Training Nest and founder of the Asian Press Institute. Through these roles she has worked with women, young girls and children to ensure that they enjoy equality and all forms of human rights, and are treated in a dignified manner, free from all kinds of violence and abuses. She has conducted various programmes related to these causes, and has attended international programmes and sessions, including the International Network for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights committee session at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. In addition to founding the Asian Press Institute web wire, Dissanayake has written newspaper articles and authored three books, including a novel and short stories. She has degrees in human rights, international relations and human resources management and is a visiting lecturer at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration. A main objective for Dissanayake is to encourage vulnerable groups of women and girls to speak out for themselves and for their rights in order to bring change.
Goal: To work on educating and promoting young girls as human rights defenders and to create leadership amongst them in order to develop them as community advocates among different affected communities of the country. Also, to get people to be engaged and connected to remedial institutions and to fight against violence and corruption by advocating for human rights and anticorruption, thus uplifting the lives of vulnerable communities, especially women and girls.
Health Coordinator and Head of Programs
Rufaida Health Foundation
Wafaa Eltayeb is responsible for the Rufaida Health Foundation’s health and mental health programs and works with people with disabilities, AIDS, or who are drug users. Eltayeb raises donor funds and works in partnership with UNICEF, CHF, UNFPA and WHO. She performs monitoring visits in Darfur, where they have health centers. She has also worked for UNICEF as a health and training coordinator for the DDRS program for North Sudan. Eltayeb has worked to create training manuals for psychologists and social workers who work with children, and for those in government, ministries and nongovernmental organizations. Her educational experiences include doing research at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, as well as courses in various countries, including Norway, Sweden, Spain and Ghana.
Goal: To ensure that women know their rights, especially in cases of gender-based violence, and are able to safely report violations. To also work on changing harmful attitudes and practices, such as early marriage, circumcision and domestic violence.
Child Protection Officer
Save the Children International
Lailuma Faheem recently joined Save the Children International’s Nangarhar office as a child protection officer and child safeguarding provincial focal point. Previously, she was the deputy managing director for the Resources and Skills Improvement Organization and she was also a project manager for the Afghanistan Women Council. She has been a women’s rights activist in the eastern region of Afghanistan, which is considered the most conservative and conflict-ridden area of the country. She has held senior positions with both national and international NGOs as well as UN organizations. As a staunch advocate of human rights, Faheem dedicated time and energy to spur improved outcomes from various projects during her career with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Relief International, the UN and the Afghan Women’s Council. She established a humanitarian NGO to empower women. Through her efforts, she has involved community leaders and religious figures and has worked to motivate conservative people to advocate for women’s rights. Among future projects is a plan to implement a food-processing project in a rural area.
Goal: To establish a network that links Afghanistan women with women from around the world, particularly those from post-conflict areas, to share common experiences and strategies in promoting women’s leadership skills, and to build a network of religious figures and women working on rights issues.
Women Empowerment Program Coordinator and Peace Volunteer
Society for the Promotion of Education and Awareness (SEAP Pakistan)
Sadia Farid holds two master’s degrees—one in women’s and gender studies and one in political science. She has been working in the social development sector for more than five years and is a peace volunteer with SEAP Pakistan. She recently led an intercultural study tour to Nepal in which she was involved in promoting peace building and interfaith harmony.
Goal: To conduct research documenting the impact of terrorism and religious militancy on men and women and to work for women’s rights, especially because women are more vulnerable to the impact of conflicts due to their lower social and economic positions.
Project Coordinator, Human Trafficking
E’ Sudanese Organization for Development and Rehabilitation (SODR)
Thouiba Galad did her master’s research on the effect that human trafficking in East Sudan has on women. She is preparing to publish an article on the subject. Galad has attended trainings on conflict resolution and has made presentations on the current situation in East Sudan, where she was raised.
Goal: To assess the impact of the East Sudan peace agreement on the community and study the challenges of implementing the agreement. She aims to empower women from the Beija region, increasing their access to education and economic opportunity.
Qadims Lumiere, School and College/ Paiman Trust
Bushra Hyder runs a private school in Peshawar, the only one in Pakistan to include peace education. She also trains others in conflict resolution, peace building, leadership and interfaith dialogue. Hyder was one of 10 Pakistani women selected for Goldman Saks’ 10,000 Women Entrepreneurs Project, and helps train young people to develop their entrepreneurial skills and market their finished projects.
Goal: To help young people from conflict-ridden areas of Pakistan start their own businesses and find local markets for their products.
Teso Women Development Initiatives
Betty Ikalany has worked as a social worker for more than 10 years, dealing especially with vulnerable community groups, including women living with HIV/AIDS. After finishing a master’s degree at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University in the Netherlands, Ikalany formed an organization with a group of women who were also concerned with the increasing levels of gender-based violence, especially against women and girls. The organization works to reduce violence in communities, and Ikalany partners with the local government to sensitize communities about prevention of gender-based violence and linking survivors to support services. She conducts trainers in programs for gender-based violence prevention and support, which has resulted in decreased cases of violence.
Goal: To create a project that addresses girls’ and women’s menstrual management needs by making affordable sanitary supplies available in rural low-resource settings. This will help girls stay in school, improve their reproductive health and generate income for those who will be trained to make the sanitary pads. This will also boost community development as these women become active contributors to society and emerge as future leaders of the nation.
National Youth Federation Nepal
Sushila K.C. coordinates empowerment programs for young women and has worked with young people in her community, starting with her childhood activities in the Child Club to her current work as a founding member of the National Youth Federation Nepal. She completed a master’s degree in sociology and is pursuing a bachelor of laws degree.
Goal: To empower young women in Nepal.
VAN THI KHANH LE
Manager of Technology Information/Consultant
Science and Technology Information (NASATI), Ministry of Science and Technology
Van Thi Khanh Le‘s work has two main aspects, one for governmental management, including composing the governmental decree and legal texts on the activities of science and technology information, and the other for public service as the director of the Vietnam Technology Information Center, where she has been responsible for promoting technology transfer, including activities to link scientists and entrepreneurs through a technology exhibition, seminars and forums; to advise enterprises to choose the appropriate technologies; to support the business planning of technology innovation; and to manage the technology information exchange portals on energy saving, and on provincial science and technology. As a member of the executive committee of the Vietnam Women’s Union, she supports rural women to enhance the ability of economic development by technology information. She received a bachelor’s degree in pedagogy in 1983 from the Pedagogic University in Hanoi, a degree in law from the National University in Vietnam in 1997, and a master’s degree in public law from Toulouse University in 2001.
Goal: To organize more training courses disseminating technology information for Vietnamese women in different provinces, particularly for rural women, in order to enhance their skills in economic development by increasing their science and technology knowledge. To set up an international network of technology information to link Vietnamese women with other women in the world for economic development.
Jennifer Liang has headed “the ant” nonprofit organization since 2006, where she works for rural development in post-conflict villages in Assam’s Chirang District. Her main areas of interest are gender equality, the development and rights of children, peace building and organizing capacity through training. She is committed to getting women into top leadership roles and to developing women leaders based on feminist principles. She was awarded the United Kingdom’s Chevening Gurukul Scholarship in 2013 and studied globalisation and leadership at the London School of Economics.
Goal: To develop a curriculum to train women leaders from villages and federations to build peace in this sociopolitically complex and violent region.
Officer of Democracy and Women’s Rights Programs
Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development (ACT Egypt)
Samah Mansur has worked for women’s rights for years. She was awarded a prize by the United Nations Development Fund for Women for the best research into fighting violence against women. In 2007, she represented Arab youth at the World Social Forum in Nairobi. In 2010, Mansur became the first Egyptian woman to receive the United Kingdom’s Chevening Fellowship, for working for democracy and peace. She helped found the Aswatna (“our voices”) coalition, which focuses on involving women in society. She also helped begin the Shoft Taharosh (“I saw harassment”) initiative to combat this phenomenon.
Goal: To raise awareness about the status of and challenges facing women in Egypt, and to recommend ways to improve Egyptian women’s lives.
Ministry of Law and Human Rights
Rini Maryam has worked for the ministry since 2006. She is involved in preparing and drafting bills, and representing her group in government ministerial meetings and in the House of Representatives. She also teaches others in the Ministry of Law and Human Rights how to draft legislation. Maryam is currently working on a bill for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee that is expected to help bring justice to victims in Aceh and Papua.
Goal: To increase the presence of and sensitivity to gender perspectives among those who draft legislation in Indonesia and globally.
Qoqnoos (Phoenix) Art and Cultural Organization
Batool Mohammadi develops educational and cultural programs, advocates for women’s and children’s rights and generates art-related activities. She aims to “raise up the voice of the least heard group of people in the Afghan community—women—and enhance their abilities as a key step in empowering women.” She has also worked with the United Nations assistance mission in Afghanistan, participated in the country’s 2010 peace jirga and given hundreds of media interviews on her work. She has studied Western philosophy and lectures at Bamyan University part-time.
Goal: To expand a communication network and create projects involving women in peace building and reconciliation processes in postwar Afghanistan.
SAW YEE MON
Sym Effect Education Services
Saw Yee Mon describes herself as a passionate social worker in addition to being a professional educator. She is a member of several social welfare groups, serving in roles ranging from being a regular member to being an executive committee member. Among the groups she has been the most active in making contributions to and taking part in leadership roles is the International Friendship Group (IFG). Mon is also affiliated with several cultural and religious groups. Further, she founded a network for youth in Myanmar to help them engage in community activities, and serves as an educator, private tutor and reader in economics and Buddhism.
Goal: To share and obtain information from fellow participants; to create a strong network of mobile facilitators who encourage youth of different backgrounds and cultures to join in the community service programs in order to exchange approaches and assist one another in creating a global culture.
AZEETA RAFAAT MOURTAZA
Gender Justice Advisor
Oxfam Great Britain
Azeeta Rafaat Mourtaza served as vice president of the Right and Justice Party until July 2012; she cofounded the organization in 2011. She also worked as a gender justice advisor for Afghanistan Oxfam International, with the purpose of advancing participation and leadership of women in Afghanistan, and to develop women’s rights in all areas of society. Prior to 2012, Mourtaza served in several capacities, including senior researcher at TADBEER; as a member of the Afghan Parliament, representing the Badghis province; as deputy chair of the Anti-Narcotics Committee in Parliament; and as chairwoman of the Youth Caucus Committee. Additionally, Mourtaza has served as an interpreter and translator for the medical community and as a teacher of girls’ education.
Goal: To work toward overcoming an attitude that is widely held among women in Afghan society that they cannot play a productive role in generating income or financially supporting their families. To work with traditional elder women leaders to participate in the provincial consultations to build their confidence and make them view themselves as change agents for spreading the idea that women can actively run their own lives. These traditional elder women, who are respected and reputable in the eyes of community members, have the power to influence change.
Rwanda Development through Capacity Building Institute
Marcelline Mukakarangwa has organized training sessions and conducted research on women’s leadership since 2009. She formerly was in charge of civil-service litigation, helping people solve problems without necessarily going through the court system. In addition, she has helped prepare civil-service and labour law as a way to fight injustice against women in the workplace.
Goal: To sensitize women, through trainings or seminars, about their role in the socioeconomic development of Rwanda.
Eurasian National University
Saltanat Mukash is an international and financial economist also trained in diplomatic studies. She has served in the Kazakhstan ministries of foreign affairs, transport, environmental protection and trade and industry, and was a negotiator in United Nations structures including UNESCO.
Goal: To finance work in the field of peace building, transitional or restorative justice and economic development.
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
Irene Nakasolya trains women from East African and neighboring countries in human rights education. These women then create social change, improving security and protection and inculcating a culture of human rights in their countries. She also coordinated a learning exchange visit that allowed women from East Africa and South Asia to share best practices for improving human rights for women.
Goal: To help female human rights defenders improve their effectiveness in conflict areas.
Centre for the Study of Human Rights, University of Colombo
Kushangika Nawaratne has a master’s degree in public law and training in social science research methods. She has designed educational and research training programmes related to UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which acknowledges the undue impact of war on women and the crucial role that women can play in conflict management and peace building. She hopes to develop her capacity as a researcher and trainer in the field of women’s and children’s rights.
Goal: To develop programs to protect and promote economic, social and cultural rights of women affected by conflict. These will include research on the impact of conflict and two training courses to involve women in conflict management and resolution.
THI HUYEN LINH NGUYEN
The State Records and Archives Department of Vietnam
Thi Huyen Linh Nguyen works for the International Cooperation Division of the State Records and Archives Department of Vietnam, which is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Her role is to enhance and promote cooperation in efficient records management and archives between Vietnam and other countries.
Goal: To organize an exhibition on war and conflict, using materials from archives around the world.
Human Rights Officer/Women’s Rights Activist
Lydiene Nkongho has a degree in law and wrote her master’s thesis on “Evolution of the Jurisprudence on Rape in International Law.” She has been instrumental in promoting women’s rights in Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali. In particular, she advocates for educating girls, against sexual and gender-based violence and for the political empowerment of rural women. She currently encourages women and girls who have been raped to seek justice through the new transitional justice process.
Goal: To empower women in Mali to participate in the country’s transitional justice process.
WAI WAI NU
Women Peace Network Arakan
Wai Wai Nu was a former political prisoner and a woman from the persecuted community of Rohingya; as such, she has dedicated herself to working for human and women’s rights. In 2012, she founded the Women Peace Network Arakan for the rights of marginalized women, as well as Justice for Women, in support of equality and justice for all women in Burma. With these two organizations, she has performed advocacy work on behalf of women’s rights and impunity, women’s empowerment trainings, women’s rights trainings, basic legal education and peace-building activities. She also has been attending many women’s forums and meetings, both locally and internationally. She recently earned her law degree and is focusing on justice issues for women.
Goal: To promote and protect women’s rights and access to justice for women, and to work especially for transitional justice for the women from conflict-affected areas.
First Micro Finance Agency, Aga Khan Development Network
Miral Omran‘s role as an operations officer is to regulate one-on-one encounters between loan officers and clients, and to standardize operating procedures that ensure transparency and equity. She intends to pursue a master’s in public administration with a specialty in governance. She also wishes to reach what she considers an optimal form of governance in which social responsibility and profitability align. She is a graduate of the American University in Cairo, where she studied economics on a fully funded leadership scholarship, and she attended a semester abroad at the University of Chicago.
Goal: To test the validity of a hypothesis that developmental NGOs harm the people they seek to help, as NGOs remain committed to sustaining their own funding in terms of maintaining managerial and employee levels. Omran hopes to identify the validity of this hypothesis and explore how social and financial goals can be met together through communication with women working in public service in areas suffering from different conflicts.
NU MYAT THEINGI OO
SweSone Media Group
Nu Myat Theingi Oo has published and written news and articles concerning women and youth as the CEO and chief editor of The Chic Magazine and director of SweSone Media Group, which publishes six periodicals, including daily newspapers. She participated in Youth Camp for Asia’s Future as a national leader and International Women’s Forum Myanmar, initiated by Women’s Forum for Economy and Society, France. Having received a scholarship to study at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, she attended the gender studies program at the American Center and won first prize in the Basic Diplomatic Skills Course by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar. Oo also serves as a guest speaker on many TV and radio programs, including Women Panels. She is a medical doctor; volunteers as a joint secretary in Writer Doctor Society, Myanmar Medical Association; and is a member of the Myanmar Women’s Entrepreneurs Association.
Goal: To develop the project “Women’s Rights in Expression” after the Institute, to boost women’s confidence in themselves and therefore enable them to upgrade their lives and rights to express themselves. To change the mindset of Myanmar people from thinking that women are the weaker sex, through written articles, talking at public events, and making television and radio appearances. To make the role of women an international concern through a global network of women.
International Affairs Advisor
Colombian Agency for Reintegration, Office of the President
Natalia Oviedo has more than seven years of experience working with the Colombian government, the NGO sector at an international and national level, and foreign governments. She is currently an international affairs advisor with the Colombian Agency, where she is responsible for reintegrating ex-combatants of illegal armed groups into society. She also coordinates international strategy to increase support and contribute to the strengthening of the capacity within Colombia to engage in outreach initiatives. She attended the Universidad de los Andes and earned a master’s in international affairs from Colombia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), with a concentration in conflict resolution and economic and political development.
Goal: To network with other women in outreach and advocacy fields, and to increase experience in external relations and peace-building skills to improve the quality of life for others.
Human Rights Monitor
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
Indali Panchitkaew is a human rights monitor for UNAMI, where she regularly facilitates dialogue between assigned officers from the Prime Ministry Office and excluded or threatened political groups. She also coordinates discussions within the government, including officials from the Prime Ministry Office and other stakeholders on human rights and humanitarian issues. Panchitkaew is also a doctoral candidate of international law.
Goal: To assist with political reconstruction focusing on peace-building activities and processes of democratization. To address the long-standing political crisis and instability in Thailand, including Southern Thailand, requires addressing significant challenges, including enhancing the role of the local governance by adjusting local governance arrangements to increase the participation of locals. For effective peace building and a reconciliation road map, more efforts must be made to highlight access to justice, particularly for those affected by the state actors and non-actors during the time of conflict. To provide for increased citizenship participation, particularly for women, marginalized communities, such as any ethnic minorities, and the chronically poor, through more open dialogues with state actors and improved service delivery.
Action Works Nepal
Radha Paudel is the founder and president of Action Works Nepal, a nonprofit organization. She supports a holistic approach for rural transformation that engages individuals, private institutions and government/UN agencies in actively participating in a widely accepted and indigenous practice. She was a victim of discrimination, isolation and violation of her rights as a survivor of the war, and now stands, speaks and smiles for the marginalized. She is the writer of Khalangama Hamala, a war memoir, received the N-Peace Award, was a Women Peace Maker and a social worker for the Nepal government. She began her career as an anesthetic nurse and acquired a master’s in education and sociology from Tribhuvan University in Nepal, and a master’s in development in the Philippines.
Goal: To empower rural, conflict-affected women by increasing access to local resources such as the village council budget, chief security officers and cooperatives, and to foster the use of modern technology. To promote women’s rights, alleviate poverty, and restore peace and social justice in the Karnali region.
Strey Khmer Organization
Polet Pech coordinates programs at an organization that works specifically to advocate for women’s equality and engagement in the reconstruction of Cambodia. She oversees the delivery of projects, including a radio programme, listener clubs, economic empowerment and training and capacity building on women’s leadership and political engagement. As part of her aspiration to become a politician in Cambodia in the longer term, she is currently the general secretary of the women’s wing of the Cambodia National Rescue Party and is a member of a range of women’s networks in Cambodia that campaign on and advocate for women’s rights and social justice. Pech is passionate about supporting and mentoring young women who don’t have many opportunities.
Goal: To extend an economic empowerment project to four target areas and to educate the women in those communities on their human and legal rights, especially in relation to forced evictions and illegal land grabs. The women will also receive training on women’s leadership and will be encouraged to participate in local, district and community political processes to ensure that they are part of the decision making in their communities.
TASMIAH TABASSUM RAHMAN
Manager in Communications, Monitoring & Results Measurement
SkillFUL project, Swisscontact
Tasmiah Tabassum Rahman has been responsible for launching awareness and advocacy programs for gender mainstreaming that have helped increase enrollment of women in skills development in the rural areas of Bangladesh. As an MRM employee, she attended international conferences to be professionally trained in results-based monitoring with Donor Committee Enterprise Development (DCED) standards for the project. She will be joining a master’s degree program in evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation at the University of Oxford and plans to work toward improving policies for women in Bangladesh upon her return.
Goal: To design localized interventions mainstreaming women, featuring successful examples of accomplished women in the workforce of Bangladesh. The project will promote women in skills development as a prerequisite for an increase in employment, defying the current social structure and stigma.
American Friends Service Committee
Amal Sabawi has worked for international organizations and programs for more than 15 years. She is currently the director of a Palestine youth program in Gaza that is supported by the American Friends Service Committee. She earned a master’s in public health from Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, with a focus on health management. She also has a postgraduate certificate in conflict resolution skills from Coventry University in the United Kingdom. Among her professional interests are youth civic engagement, community development, conflict transformation and nonviolence, humanitarian work, advocacy and community mobilization. She has developed training programs for community groups, including youth, women and local committees. She is preparing to pursue a doctorate in international development.
Goal: To realize the significant role that women play in serving their communities and contributing to build a safer world.
Centre for Peace Studies, ActionAid
Mariya Salim was born and raised in a traditional but very progressive Muslim home in India; she moved to Thailand after earning a master’s degree in human rights. In Thailand, she worked on issues concerning armed conflict, refugees, interfaith harmony and Muslim women. She returned to India to work on minority rights, specifically among Muslim women, as a program coordinator at the Centre for Peace Studies through ActionAid. She has worked on issues including the relief and rehabilitation of riot survivors, and improving access to government entitlements for the marginalized. She also helped draft a national report on the present socioeconomic condition of Muslims in India.
Goal: To develop an agenda for urgent access to justice, including rehabilitation and compensation for survivors of communal violence. The Indian experience has seen perpetual suppression of the Muslim community over the years, especially of women, who are the worst sufferers of communal violence.
Chrishanthi Sithamparam is a social activist working on rebuilding communities affected by conflict in Sri Lanka through advocacy, capacity building, information sharing, coordination and networking. After participating in a women-in-peace mediation workshop organized by women across the globe, Sithamparam’s passion for peace building has taken another dimension, and she is dedicated to encouraging women’s participation in peace building. She volunteers for the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies and is also involved in peace education for schoolchildren. She holds a diploma in human rights.
Goal: To focus on a project that targets war widows and involves women’s empowerment by offering alternative business ideas that allow women to use their indigenous knowledge, providing resources to create employment in their society as well as foster interdependence between communities. The program will focus on awareness of and training in business development, entrepreneurship, technology development, social media skills and building linkages. The war widows from the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities will be connected to build trust and linkages among other communities.
Shanthi Sivanesan is a project coordinator for ZOA in Sri Lanka, and works to help families displaced by war to overcome poverty and develop permanent income streams. She works with local networks of women and girls on issues of protection, and gender-based violence at the grass roots, district, and national levels through campaigning, protests, and discussion.
Goal: To contribute to the sustainable rehabilitation and redevelopment of Sri Lanka and enable households affected by war to enhance their livelihoods by taking advantage of opportunities offered by redevelopment.
Public Information Advisor
International Development Law Organization (IDLO)
Farrukh Sultani deals with legal information, education and communication for individual behavior change and social change in her role as public information advisor. In December 2013 she organized an event aimed at encouraging schoolgirls to choose legal professions, to know their rights and to assist violated women. As a result of this event, awareness was created among male and female students from Kabul schools. She also has produced media and legal awareness materials for the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women Affairs, Elimination of Violence Against Women Unit and Legal Aid Organization of Afghanistan. Each of the media materials contains a theme designed for a specific targeted group. She completed her bachelor’s degree in January and is now preparing to earn a master’s degree.
Goal: To design a communications strategy for a two-year awareness campaign to eliminate violence against women. The project will consist of a secondary data review of existing literature on violence against women in Afghanistan followed by formative communications research in six provinces to establish women and men’s communication needs, opportunities, problems and solutions in regard to violence against women. The communications strategy design will focus on multimedia channels such as print, broadcast, social and alternative media.
Regional Program Coordinator
Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP), Thailand
Chanda Thapa oversees development and coordination of programs focusing on empowering indigenous women in Asia. In the past, as a program manager at Sankalpa, a network of 11 issue-based women’s organizations, she worked with diverse women’s groups for peace building and increasing women’s political participation. She also contributed in facilitating the drafting/developing of a National Action Plan on the protection of women and girls and participated as a government delegate in its international launching in New York in 2011. She recently completed a master’s in development studies, specializing in conflict studies at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands, having received a fellowship from World Bank. She is also a recipient of a scholarship to attend a peace research course at the International Summer School at the University of Oslo, Norway.
Goal: To learn and exchange experiences and skills from a diverse group, and develop strategies to address the needs of women in transitional countries. To build networks and allies to connect women from grassroots to a global level and look for opportunities to see the potential to find resources for women’s groups and organizations through these networks, as they are facing big challenges for sustainability.
KHIN PHYO TINT
Thidagu International Association
Khin Phyo Tint takes part in health programs and teaches nursing-aid students. Students come from different parts of Myanmar, and in addition to nursing, Tint also teaches English. In her native home of Inle Lake, she teaches English to children. She has also done fundraising and has been collecting books to open a library that will serve seven villages around Inle Lake. Tint also focuses on collaborative efforts with medical personnel to provide her local community with health education on hypertension and diabetes. She attended an 18-month educational program in nursing in Zurich, Switzerland, and she hopes to use the experience and knowledge she gained in the program to help people in Myanmar.
Goal: To develop capacity building in the region around Inle Lake to provide education and jobs and to fight poverty.