Empowerment

The Pa-O Women’s Union (PWU) operates training and advocacy programs designed to empower women of the Pa-O ethnic minority in the Shan Province of Burma to assume leadership positions in their villages, regional government and non-governmental organizations. These programs include:

  • Internships. The PWU Internship Program prepares Pa-O women for advanced education and for positions on the PWU staff. Eighteen women have completed the program since 2004, and most have gone on to complete additional training programs, and eventually work at PWU.
  • School for Pa-O Women. The addition of the School for Pa-O Women in 2009 is allowing young women to be better prepared to assume leadership positions in their communities. Upon completion of the ten-month program, the students return to their villages inside Burma to employ their newly-gained education and organization skills. After serving in their communities for at least a year, they become eligible to apply for PWU internships.
  • Community Organizing and Advocacy. The PWU periodically dispatches staff members into Burma to share information about the organization with people in the Pa-O villages. While there, they document cases of human rights violations and violence against women.
  • Community Training. PWU provides training for women in local communities and inside Burma in Peace Building, Human Rights and Women’s Rights, Burmese History and Current Events, and Women’s Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention.
  • Organizational Capacity-Building. Every year, PWU staff members attend training sessions to learn how to improve the organization. They’ve attended Training of Trainer (TOT) sessions, strategic planning workshops and management skills training, which are offered by partner organizations like the International Rescue Committee (IRC), WLB, and Altsean-Burma.
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