Thuy Hang Thi To, Deputy Resident Representative: Remarks Social Good Summit event at Myitkyina

Sep 19, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, Mingalapar!

It gives me great pleasure to be with you this morning and see the faces behind May Doe Kabar – Myanmar Rural Women’s network!

Today is a very special day. As world leaders meet at the UN General Assembly, we are connecting with the rest of the world via the internet to share our discussions on how technology can help us get a better future.

By a better future, I mean a world in which the 17 Sustainable Development Goals have been achieved. These Global Goals, agreed to by world leaders last year, call for ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change over the next 15 years while ensuring no one is left behind. They represent the views of people from every corner of the world, including from Myanmar, on the question “what is the world we want in 2030.”

Just as we are meeting here in Myitkyina, there are your fellow May Doe Kabar members meeting in Mindat, Chin State; as well as thousands of women, men, and young people all over the world meeting and discussing the Global Goals and how technology can be used to achieve them. These meetings are taking place under the banner of the Social Good Summit coinciding with United Nations week in New York.

Our event will more specifically focus on mobile phone technology. The number of people who own mobile phones in Myanmar, has changed dramatically over the past 3 years. Whereas mobile phone penetration barely touched double digits in 2013, it has now reached around 50% of the population last year. This means one in every two persons in Myanmar has a mobile phone. A report last year suggested that 6% of the world's new mobile subscribers came from Myanmar, making it the fourth fastest-growing mobile market on earth. In addition, smartphones are the first handsets owned by 80% of Myanmar's mobile users.

May Doe Kabar has already recognised the power of mobile technology. This is why May Doe Kabar and UNDP together have created a phone application, called iWomen – Inspiring Women app -  to connect rural women in Myanmar to women across the world, inspiring them to learn new things, reach new heights and develop themselves and their families further.

The beauty about this app is that you – rural women of Myanmar – were the co-designers! You have now become tech champions and have gained new knowledge and skills that will come in handy in this technologically connected world.

The iWomen motto - “Don’t be left behind in Technology! Let’s use the iWomen app to improve our daily lives!” captures your commitment very well.

You will be proud to know that the iWomen app now has 3728 active users spread across 31 townships in 8 States and Regions.  These active users have been reached within six months of the app being launched. The iWomen app is a free app which allows you to learn more under four broad categories – Be Inspired, Be Knowledgable; Be Together and Talk Together.  These active users are a tiny fraction of the 22,000 member strong May Doe Kabar Network, and I encourage you all to join forces and embrace the app. This is your app, your future!

Later in the programme, you will see a role play about the internet and mobile technology and how rural women can benefit from it. You will also have an opportunity to get to know the inside out of the the iWomen app and close today’s event with a very fun filled question and answer session.

In order to document our event today, we have brought with us two cartoonists who will be recording our Social Good Summit in drawings.

I wish you all the best!

Kye zu tim baa de!

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