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Supporting Young Women Leaders in Southeast Asia

Since 2011, Phnom Penh-based Young Women Leadership Network (YWLN) has encouraged young women in Cambodia to engage with their communities and work toward positive changes in government and social development.  Through training programs that focus on empowerment, effective advocacy and leadership, YWLN provides women with knowledge and skills necessary to become leaders in their communities. 

Building on their successes in Cambodia, YWLN is now taking their empowerment program regional through upcoming work with women in its Southeast Asian neighbor Myanmar.  The Network will help women from across Cambodia and Burma gain the skills and experience needed to serve as young leaders in their rapidly changing societies.

IRI will support YWLN’s new regional activities through its “Seeds for the Future” grant program, which provides funding to youth leaders to conduct new and innovative social improvement projects in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.  Funding comes through the U.S. State Department’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).  Drawing on its 30 years of experience supporting grassroots movements for change, IRI will collaborate closely with grant winners, providing guidance and technical expertise to ensure the success of their projects.  With IRI support, YWLN will conduct nearly two dozen leadership workshops for women and three weekend-long training retreats in both Myanmar and Cambodia.  During the workshops and retreats, participants will strengthen personal and professional skills and connect with a network of like-minded women leaders who can provide support and encouragement as the participants continue to work in their own communities.  

IRI is proud to be working with young Southeast Asian leaders like Young Women Leadership Network and providing mentorship and project oversight to YSEALI grant winners, including through interactive Virtual Teleconferences and Google Hangouts, to build leadership abilities, increase program sustainability and enhance project management skills.  YSEALI project teams will become part of IRI’s Generation Democracy (GenDem) network, which is an emerging forum that engages, empowers and connects youth around the world to share their experiences and ideas for promoting positive social and political change.

Posted by

Theodore Wilhite

Assistant Program Officer, Asia Division