Jul 31, 2023

The Karen Women Organization is a partner organisation of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, who organise refugees on the Thai/Burma border. They recently held their congress to review their work, make plans for the future and elect new leaders. 150 women participated in the congress, many of them travelling long distances to be there, passing through military checkpoints and avoiding air strikes. Below is a report about the congress by its organisers.


The Karen Women Organization successfully convened its 8th Congress from the 29th of June to the 1st of July 2023. The congress brought together 125 representatives from 7 districts Kawthoolei, refugee camps, KWO Central, invited organizations, and special guests. The event took place at a special area within KWO Central. A notable highlight of this congress was the remarkable increase in the number of young women representatives. Fifty-four young women, most of whom were graduates from the Karen Young Women Leadership School and others were actively involved in KWO at district and township levels, joined the congress. Their presence showcased the ongoing commitment to empower and uplift the next generation of Karen women leaders.

Throughout the congress, various critical topics were discussed and analyzed. These included the accomplishments and challenges faced by KWO over the past six years, the amendment of KWO’s Constitution, policy reviews, updates to the organization’s strategy plan, analysis of the current political landscape, and the formulation of future plans for the next four years 2023-2027.

A primary focus of the 8th congress was to actively strengthen women’s participation in politics. To achieve this, KWO pledged to enhance the political capacities of Karen women, nurturing their skills and knowledge. Additionally, the organization will continue providing support to Karen women leaders who are already active within the Karen political movement. Furthermore, KWO remains committed to advocating for the rights and protection of Karen women and children by striving for improvements in laws and justice systems.

KWO updated and approved its policy including the humanitarian aid in responds to the current situation and primarily promotes respect and recognition of local government structures and that aid should not, in any way, provide recognition to the State Administrative Council (SAC), whether directly or indirectly.

During the 8th congress, an Executive Committee comprising eleven members was elected. We are pleased to announce that Naw K’nyaw Paw has been Elected as the Chairperson, supported by Naw Say Say Heh as the Vice Chair, Naw Ta Mla Saw as the Secretary, Naw Dah Mu as Joint Secretary 1, and Naw Eh Ta Mwee Paw as Joint Secretary 2.


Union Aid Abroad supports the Capacity Building for Karen Women Project in partnership with the Australian Government through theĀ Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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