A Train-the-Trainer Methodology to Foster Women’s Leadership Development in Myanmar

The Women’s Leadership Development program offered by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) and the Gender Equality Network (GEN) in Myanmar is a notable example of how leadership development can unleash the talents and potential of women and have an increasingly dramatic impact on a nation.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a diverse, multilingual nation with over 100 ethnic groups. Since elections in 2010, the country is emerging from a long period of civil and political turmoil to undergo a broad transformation. One change underway is a push towards greater gender equality. In Myanmar, women remain profoundly under-represented in public life and government at both the local and central levels. Leadership is largely considered a male prerogative.

Increasing the number of women in leadership positions is critical not only to give women a voice and ensure their concerns are represented, but also because women’s involvement improves the way leadership and decisionmaking are practiced. Promoting women’s leadership benefits women and the community and country as a whole.

The Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Beyond Boundaries (LBB) team partnered with the GEN, an interagency network of national and international organizations, to develop a team of local trainers who would work to develop women leaders across sectors and regions in the country. We conducted an eight-day train-the-trainer program and formed a support network for 16 facilitators from development agencies based in Myanmar. Participating agencies were specifically chosen because they offered the capacity to drive training deeper into the community.

Following the program, the 16 participating trainers reported significant accomplishments, including delivering training to hundreds of NGO and community leaders, almost all women, across the country. A year later, the trainers and participants are engaged in leading far-reaching efforts in Myanmar.

These efforts include:

  • Developing and negotiating new national policy and legislation.
  • Actively engaging in peace-building efforts in the war-torn north.
  • Researching the situation of women in Myanmar and promoting the development of a positive and productive society.
  • Developing a center point for civil society advocacy for the creation of a multi-ethnic society.
  • Developing and leading large-scale social business initiatives.
  • Leading community groups and development in both urban and rural contexts.
  • Spearheading action research and collaborative efforts in agriculture, health care and education.
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