Our organisation was established in March 1993 by Karenni women from Eastern Burma who fled to and found asylum in Thailand. Many of these women fled to escape violent human rights abuses by the Burmese government including rape, torture and forced labour. The work here focuses on GBV (gender-based violence) prevention and peace-building programmes.
We work towards advocating for women’s rights, protection and empowerment through education, publication, advocacy and creative approaches. We envision a society where Karenni women have the same rights as men politically, socially and economically. We do this through capacity building, protecting and promoting human rights and providing necessary services to women and children.
Our volunteers support our branch office teaming in Loikaw, Myanmar.
This is a very rare opportunity to live like a local in a place off the Myanmar tourist track. Here is what you can gain from the experience:
1) Insight into women, peace and security work
If you are interested in building a career in women's rights, women peace and security, development or conflict resolution, this is a very valuable opportunity to learn how these issues are being tackled at a local, state and national level. You will gain a first-hand understanding of the issues faced by rural women in developing countries and strategies for helping women to reach their full potential. You are likely to attend crucial meetings between local CSOs, ethnic armed groups and political parties where advocacy plans will be established to increase women's participation in politics and peace process. If the timing works, you will also be able to attend a knowledge exchange trip to another State (ie. Kachin State). You will meet field workers from the refugee camps on the border and hear about their experiences supporting women in such difficult circumstances. You will also be able to speak with some of the partners , making contacts that can help you find other development work opportunities after you have finished your placement.
2) Experience the culture and people of Loikaw and surrounding areas.
You will be spending most, if not all, of your time with the team. They are an incredibly kind, talented and welcoming group of women of all ages (majority are 20-30) who will introduce you to a whole range of Burmese traditions (food, music, language dancing, clothing religious practices, festivals). You will join in the celebrations for festivals throughout the year (the famous Water Festival is in April) and visit beautiful landscapes around Loikaw. Whilst you are here you will become part of a supportive network and experience the fun-loving nature of the local community. Volunteers here have found it to be a peaceful and inspiring place to live and work.
3) Making a difference to the lives of Karenni women.
Your work at here will directly benefit the lives of women in the Karenni State of Myanmar; women whose voices are not heard, who lack confidence, who have experience violence and who need the support that the place offers. By teaching English to staff, you will be helping them to advocate to new audiences. By preparing funding proposals, you could potential secure the funding to continue life-changing projects. By raising the charity's online profile, you will be fostering a community who are willing to speak up in support of women in Myanmar.
- We can only ever accept ONE FEMALE volunteer at a time due to work load and space at the office. Please do not contact us asking it it's possible for more than one volunteer... we're so sorry but we just can't accommodate more than one female volunteer at a time.
- We ask all volunteers to stay for the whole length of a Myanmar Business VISA (70 says) we cannot host volunteers for a shorter period of time, please do not apply if you cannot comply with this requirement.
- Please check on Myanmar's embassy website if your nationality is eligible for a Business VISA, we highly recommend to do this before you apply.
- Please consider that this is NOT an English teaching position.
- Our work is focused in advocating against gender-based violence; all our past volunteers have held academic degrees in international development, gender studies, criminal justice, international relations, conflict resolution, social justice, or similar disciplines. We can ONLY consider those who have background experience and a genuine interest in women's development.
- When making an inquiry please send a CV and letter expressing your interest and skills to our email address, send us a private message first, so we can share the address.
VOLUNTEER WORK EXPECTATIONS:
Volunteers will have a meeting with our previous volunteer or Mie Mie, our Secretary, before getting started to develop a work plan and share expectations. Priorities for our organisation are administrative work and communications. Weekends are free for the volunteer to explore and relax.
Office hours are roughly 9-5 from Monday to Fridays, though there are sometimes meetings on Saturdays as well (you may or may not be asked to participate in these). However, the office is very relaxed and flexible, and you will have most weekends free for you to explore and relax.
Your main responsibilities will be:
1) Managing Online Presence: Facebook and Website
o Make sure that the information on it is kept up-to-date
o Write the occasional article (e.g. If the place has a big event) and publish it, linking it on the Facebook page as well.
o Post 2-3 per week on Facebook with engaging content.
o Respond to and delegate email enquiries.
2) Edit Reports and Presentations, including proposals for funding Applications
o Reorganise information so that it is easier to understand
o Correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure
o Rewrite sections in a more positive and persuasive manner, especially for funding applications
3) Teach English
English lessons are generally held for 1.5 to 2 hours on weekday evenings, 2-3 days per week. They are relaxed lessons focusing on business English. The staff use English n the following contexts:
o During donor visits (donors can be foreign or local)
o At conferences, workshops, and exchange visits (especially those overseas)
TEFL qualification/teaching experience not essential but desirable.
o Clear interest, knowledge and experience working/studying women's rights, gender studies, women peace and security, international relations/international development, community development, refugee studies etc.
You will be working with project officers and field staff to prepare reports and proposals covering complex issues so will need to have a foundational understanding of these concepts.
o Desire to learn more about the peace process and development in Myanmar.
o Proven experience in fundraising and communications (social media, grant writing, reporting, campaigns) in work or education.
o Native or fluent English speaker, TEFL qualification or teaching experience an asset, but not essential.
o Able to adapt to new cultures and more challenging living situations and engage with people through cultural and language barriers.
We are also interested in recruiting volunteers to assist in building our online presence and contributing articles to our blog/website. Pieces should be related to human rights and refugee issues, with a specific focus on women's development. Writers are given full reign in choosing topics and developing their own work. We will offer guidelines and suggestions if drafts are sent to us and final pieces will be published on our blog. Please email us for more information.
English, Burmese, Karenni
You will have your own bedroom in the office, with mosquito net and blankets. The room is a good size and the office has a large kitchen/eating area, garden and indoor toilet and shower facilities (western toilet, 'bucket' shower).
The Finance Manager also stays in the office - she is incredibly friendly, fun company and will help you with all your needs! Occasionally field staff and staff from the refugee camps will stay in the office for a few days, so there is always interesting conversations and fun evenings to be had!
Whilst volunteering with us your basic food and accommodation needs are met. The women at the organization provide 3 meals a day including tea, coffee and water. The organization can also accommodate a vegetarian diet. There is always plenty of rice and second servings are encouraged to keep you full and happy! we will cover all the food you eat in the office and often meals in restaurants. You will also receive a stipend on arrival for additional needs.
The office is close to plenty of shops and restaurants for all your needs. There is a beautiful lake 2 minutes away with a food market every night. You can get anywhere in the city easily by motorbike - the girls will happily take you around to see the sights, try different restaurants and go to the market.
Temples galore! Our staff will happily show you around the area.
You will be settled in Loikaw which is small township about an hour’s flight away from Yangon. A beautiful lake rests at the end of the road you live on where there are small shops, restaurants and markets to see and explore. There are temples and several tourist sites to see in Myanmar but other foreigners do not frequent this spot as much. Loikaw is very green and lush with small roads and mountains. You can visit the Seven Lakes, a beautiful local waterfall, climb a mountain or meet local ethnic groups in the surrounding villages. Loikaw is surrounded by some fascinating and beautiful villages which you will visit for festivals and dinners with the wider team. This is an amazing opportunity to understand local customs and traditions. Foreigners in Loikaw are rare, not many people speak English, however people are incredibly friendly and you will feel very safe.
Near the office there are plenty of shops and restaurants. If you need anything else, tell one of the girls and they will make plans to take you to the shop or get what you need. The girls will also arrange transport for you.
ARRIVAL: Visa’s can be discussed over email. A business visa is normally required which we are unable to pay for - please check your eligibility for a business visa before applying.
If you are coming to Myanmar, once you get to Yangon, we will pay for you to catch a flight to Loikaw where our staff will meet you at the airport and take you to our office.
Before/after your time in Loikaw you can easily travel to the famous Inle Lake (approx 4 hours by bus) and go on to Bagan to see the temples.
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Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week