Supporting communities in Shan to strengthen unityMar 11, 2014
Shan State – “We women can lead all community activities like men do,” a young Shan woman boldly said. Her statement stirred the male audience but received cheers from females who were participating in a debate organised in a traditional way in Shan State of Myanmar.
The debate took over two hours and covered topics such as the beauty of Shan region, and the importance of solidarity among local communities. Participants were attentively listening to arguments from both male and female teams. Music from a traditional musical group made the debate livelier.
The debate organized last month was as part of a series of social cohesion activities that aim to strengthen unity among local communities. The activities also promote cultural exchange and help strengthen collaboration among local people. Other activities included Yagu (traditional snack) making contest for women as well as a traditional cane ball competition for men.
Over 500 villagers from 7 villages (1 Shan and 6 Pa-o villages) in Hopong town participated in the activities. Their participation was supported by the United Nations Development Programme through its implementing partner Myanmar Anti-narcotic Association for social cohesion.
“While participants were supported with required facilities, transportation and meals, what is more encouraging is the willingness of local communities in contributing their labor and in providing musical entertainment, making the event much more interesting,” said U Myat Thu, UNDP’s area office coordinator in Shan State.
UNDP is working in Shan State to bring about social cohesion. Forty villages in 2 townships-Hopong and Laukkaing, under the Pa- O and Kokant Self- administered regions are part of this programme through which communities are being engaged in a range of activities with the aim of improving interaction, dialogue and unity.