Akhaya Women is a local women’s organisation led by and for women. It supports empowerment through individual and experiential learning in small women’s group settings to develop leadership skills. The Akhaya model supports women to undergo a process of individual transformation to question negative traditional beliefs about their own bodies and sexual being, to question social norms of masculinity and to develop a belief in themselves and their own abilities.
Akhaya has three strategic objectives:
- Women become change agents and lead actions within their families and communities
- Women survivors of violence are able to live as ‘normally’ as possible and violence against women is reduced
- Increased women’s political participation
Akhaya Women AND IWDA
Akhaya is IWDA’s newest partner in Myanmar country, with the partnership beginning in 2016. IWDA and Akhaya are together piloting Myanmar’s first structured women’s political mentoring program. The pilot targets Myanmar women MPs across political parties with a commitment to advancing gender equality, matching them with Australian women MPs with similar commitments.
- In 2008, Akhaya Women began forming small groups for mothers and women to learn about child development and sexuality.
- Since 2012, Akhaya Women has contributed to research and better understanding of women’s knowledge of sexuality in Myanmar and accessed grants for campaigns and programs to benefit women. This included the Whistle for Help Campaign, which addressed sexual harassment of women on buses.
- Akhaya are currently developing a Social Business Program: a program to strengthen women’s self-knowledge and increase cooperative female-led business, building on the interests and aspirations of women as individuals or in groups.