The Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) is a Community Based Organisation dedicated to gender equality and justice. It was founded in 1999 and has been one of HART’s partners since 2004.
SWAN coordinates a number of programmes relating to health, education and women’s empowerment, as well as conducting advocacy and research.
HART is the main donor for SWAN’s Health Programme, which aims to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality rates in rural areas of Shan State and amongst displaced populations in Thailand.
SWAN trains health workers and volunteers from inside Shan State, teaching them about reproductive health and family planning. They equip them with the knowledge and materials needed for preventative health education and provision of reproductive and maternal health care.
After training, health workers return to their villages in Burma, where they deliver training sessions, provide antenatal care, assist in deliveries, conduct weighing sessions for children to identify those suffering from malnutrition, provide women with family planning services, and conduct other health interventions.
SWAN also provide emergency assistance for migrant women and children in crisis situations, particularly those affected by serious illness or domestic violence. Many of these women are cut off from their support networks, as their families remain inside Burma or in refugee camps. SWAN run safe houses, help with treatment costs, provide counselling, conduct vocational training sessions and work with other local organisations to provide legal and other support in emergencies.
‘Exchange’ sessions are coordinated in order to bring vulnerable women together to discuss challenges, share experiences and support one another. These meetings have a profound effect – empowering vulnerable women, building stronger communities and raising awareness of women’s rights. As a result of their success in Thailand, these meetings are now being replicated within Shan State.
SWAN is a founding member of the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), an umbrella women’s organization comprising 13 women’s groups from Burma. Together, they have published a number of advocacy reports including:
“If the had hope, they would speak” – the ongoing use of state-sponsored sexual violence in Burma’s ethnic communities, November 2014 | Download here
“Same Impunity, Same Patterns” – Sexual abuses by the Burma Army will not stop until there is a genuine civilian government, January 2014 | Download here
Visit the SWAN website
Read SWAN’s Newsletter
Visit the Women’s League of Burma website