Meet Village Tract Administrator: Daw Naw June Ae NarJun 2, 2017
31-year-old widowed mother, Daw Naw June Ae Nar became the very first female Village Tract Administrator (VTA) of War Kha Yae Village Tract, Eain Mae Township in Ayeyarwaddy Region. Here is her story.
Daw Naw June Ae Nar is well-respected in War Kha Yae Village Tract. She is an auxiliary midwife and is known as the person who reversed the trend on dengue infections in her village.
The fourth daughter of a former VTA, Daw Naw June Ae Nar was encouraged by village elders and other villagers to run for the Village Tract Administrator election, after her father lost his life in an accident and left the position vacant. None of her other brothers and sisters were interested in running for the position.
Daw Naw June Ae Nar, who has volunteered her time for the development of the village, had to compete against a former male VTA, just like her father had to. She was elected by a large margin in the 2016 election. However, the journey was not without challenges.
Challenges and Solutions
Competing in any election is never easy. Being a female candidate, Daw Naw June Ae Nar also had many challenges throughout the election process but she managed to overcome these.
“Just when the results of the election were announced, some people, unhappy with the outcome, started calling names and verbally abusing me. I did not let this intimidate me.”
Since she had no prior experience of being a VTA, it was a bit difficult for her to carry out the tasks at the beginning but she managed to solve these with the support of the village elders.
“Some people from neighbouring villages didn’t want to come to the meetings I called because I was woman. I got around this by sending out official letters and made attendance at the meetings compulsory. I made it clear that at least one person from household should attend.”
After this, attendance at the meetings increased, with many women representing their households.
Advice for Future Women Leaders
“Don’t be discouraged just because you are a woman. Women can also do the same tasks as men can do. Don’t be depressed. Be brave!”
Daw Naw June Ae Nar also encouraged women to read a lot to gain knowledge so that they can solve any problem.
***Daw Naw June Ae Nar attended the National Training Workshop for Female Ward and Tract Administrators in Nay Pyi Taw held by UNDP. The workshop took place from May 15th to 21st.
****Village Tract/Ward Administration is the lowest tier of administration, as per the Myanmar Government administrative structure. There are approximately 17,000 village tracts and wards in the country as a whole, and the role of Ward and Village Tract Administrators (W/VTAs) is crucial in interfacing between the government and the Myanmar population, 70 % of which is made up of rural dwellers. The Village Tract and Ward Administration Law (2012) mandates WVTA’s responsibilities. These include maintaining peace and security, performing as a birth and death registrar, coordinating local development and facilitating information exchange between the government and community members. Village Tract/Ward Administrators are elected in a secret ballot by 10 household leaders, who themselves are elected by members of corresponding household groups. They serve for 5 years and their terms are in line with those of the Pyithu Huttlaw (Lower House). A VT/WA can serve for a maximum of 2 terms. In the 2012 Ward and Village Tract administrator election, only 41 out of 16785 seats (0.24 percent of total seats) were won by women. In the 2016 Ward and Village Tract Administrator election, the number of female representation in ward and village tract administration doubled to 88 with women taking 0.5 % of the seats. About 31 % of female WVTAs were re-elected to their second term.