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UNFPA Gender-Based Violence (GBV) team in Kachin will train members of Township Leading Groups (TLGs) made up of women from the community. To date UNFPA has conducted three trainings for TLGs in Myitkyina, Waing Maw and Puta-O Townships providing an overview of GBV, its roots, causes and consequences, as well as outlining guiding principles of gender-based violence and existing referral pathways. The goal is that the TLGs will share the information they have learned in the training in an informal manner in their communities as well as sensitise other TLG members in the townships. TLGs are supported by UNDP in 20 Townships across the country.

UNFPA and UNDP brought together TLGs, Self-Reliance Groups (SRGs) and staff from the UNFPA-supported Women and Girl’s Centre (WGC) in Myitkyina to exchange experiences and knowledge in their respective areas. This meeting took place on the 4th September at the Myitkyina WGC. Staff from the WGC spoke about how they provide individual counselling and psychosocial support to survivors of GBV, conduct awareness sessions on GBV and engage men in GBV prevention activities. TLG members shared their experiences about running microfinance groups, under the guidance of UNDP, to support women’s empowerment through basic financial knowledge and practice. Woman members of the microfinance group can borrow from the common fund (saved money) according to specific and pre-defined rules and regulations.

The success of this UN inter-agency collaboration was demonstrated when a member of the TLGs subsequently undertook a half-day awareness raising session on GBV in Dungan Village with 32 women participants. TLG members underlined heightened awareness of GBV and the need for prevention activities in their villages. Where GBV is most prevalent, TLGs requested that UNFPA conduct more GBV awareness training in these areas. Naw Naw, Civil Society Organisation and Media Associate at UNDP said: “TLG members now have improved knowledge about GBV so they are able to help women and girls at the village level to prevent as well as to respond to GBV.”