Thanks to a contribution of $7.9 million from the Government of Canada and close to $400,000 from Oxfam Canada, more than 20,000 crisis-affected women and adolescent girls in Myanmar will be able to increase their access to resources and decision-making power through the Women Leading Durable Solutions (WLDS) project.
The project will be implemented by Oxfam Canada in partnership with Oxfam in Myanmar and three local women’s rights organizations in the country. It contributes to the Government of Canada’s strategy to respond to the Rohingya and Myanmar crises announced on June 20. The strategy aims to support communities in transitioning from crisis-response to advancing durable solutions in Myanmar in order to address the medium and longer-term needs of refugees and other crisis-affected populations.
“Conflict, growing inequality and escalating humanitarian needs require us think differently about how we work with communities to uphold their rights. By challenging harmful social norms and women’s exclusion from decision making spaces, this innovative new project will not only advance the rights of women and girls, but also contribute to peaceful coexistence of communities in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, ” said Lauren Ravon, Oxfam Canada’s Executive Director.
Women and adolescent girls in project communities, particularly in Rakhine State, will be supported to participate and take on leadership roles in governance structures within their communities, all while promoting more positive attitudes and behaviours towards women’s rights and peaceful co-existence. The project will improve access to essential services and resources, such as livelihoods and business support training, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) support services. Local women’s rights organizations will strengthen their capacity to advocate for the inclusion of diverse women and marginalized groups in decision making spaces on peace, recovery and development.
Over its five year duration, Women Leading Durable Solutions (WLDS) will place particular emphasis on working with vulnerable rights holders, particularly adolescent girls and women and from underrepresented groups. WLDS will strengthen positive relationships, understanding and trust by integrating efforts to combat racism, exclusion and discrimination towards those with intersecting identity markers such as gender, religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, disability and income. The project employs a three-pronged approach to advance women’s empowerment by integrating humanitarian assistance, long-term development and peace and security to meet women’s needs, mitigate their vulnerabilities and address the underlying drivers of conflict.
“Thanks to the support of Global Affairs Canada, Oxfam and our partners have an opportunity to test out new approaches to integrating humanitarian assistance, long-term development and peacebuilding while opening space for women as agents of change,” Ravon said.
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