In a community in Myanmar, a role model changes attitudes and actions

Date: 04 January 2017

At a community gathering, Tin Moe Tun uses an ActionAid toolkit game to get fellow villagers involved in a discussion on women’s rights. Photo: ActionAid Myanmar
At a community gathering, Tin Moe Tun uses an ActionAid toolkit game to get fellow villagers involved in a discussion on women’s rights. Photo: ActionAid Myanmar

Tin Moe Tun farms for a living, but he is also trying to cultivate something else in his little village of Tha Lu Pyein in Myanmar: an understanding among the men that violence against women and girls is not okay.

As one of 20 men trained as ‘role models’ in Kayah State and Rakhine State, Tin Moe Tun promotes a safe family environment, shares knowledge of women’s rights and organizes men to protect women from violence and to make sure they are included in community decision-making. The initiative, which is supported through a grant from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund), is part of a project by ActionAid Myanmar to stem violence against women by challenging social and cultural norms. The UN Trust Fund is managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN System.

As a male role model, Tin Moe Tun leads monthly community meetings on good governance and people’s rights. He uses anecdotes and games in local tea shops, a popular space for gathering, to teach community members about the importance of gender equality.

Tin Moe Tun does not have any educational background in human rights, but says he grew up with an instinctive sense of social justice. He understood that the women in his village had fewer job opportunities and were affected by violence. In 2013 the Legal Clinic Myanmar visited Tin Moe Tun’s village to run a training on anti-violence in collaboration with ActionAid Myanmar. Tin Moe Tun joined, and after attending the training sessions, began serving as a male role model.

“Women will participate in the decision-making process in village development activities,” he says. “So this is where I will focus my efforts”.

To read the full story, visit UN Women’s regional website for Asia and the Pacific.

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