October 11, 2019 – The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) “Generation Workshop: Advancing Gender Equality” announced five winners who will receive funding for their transnational project proposals to improve their communities and the wider region. The central goal of the workshop was to create a network of emerging leaders working together across national borders to promote the advancement of women in Southeast Asia.
During the workshop, as part of the goals to build a network with a sense of ASEAN identity and community and showcase community engagement that supports women’s economic participation, participants visited Teraja Longhouse, a small village at the edge of Brunei resided by an Iban community. In this site visit, participants learned about the beauty and history of Teraja, and also see how women contribute economically to the community through producing traditional handicrafts and weaving.
As part of the workshop, Panel Discussions with experts in their respected fields were held on ‘Gender Inequality in Economic and Political Participation’ and ‘What Society is Doing to Close the Gender Gap’.
Mentorship was also an essential part of the program as ten mentors from different organization investing in women empowerment worked together with the participants to identify challenges on the topic of gender equality and provide mentorship throughout the process of conceptualizing the solutions and carving their project ideas.
The three-day workshop culminated with participants pitching gender equality projects for the Small Grant Competition. They collaborated in mixed-nationality teams and paired with mentors to devise solutions to problems including raising awareness, changing mindsets, creating safe spaces, and encouraging education and entrepreneurship. Ten mentors from women’s empowerment organizations throughout ASEAN guided teams in refining their project ideas.
The ten teams pitched their proposals to a panel of judges on the last day of the workshop. U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, Matthew J. Matthews, announced the five winning projects selected to receive funding for implementation. The winning projects are:
- 1st place (US$ 4,000): ‘Inspiring Men’ to encourage men to create supportive work environments for women.
- 2nd place (US$ 3,500): ‘I.T. Girls’ to enable young female professionals to use technology to create safe environments in their workspaces.
- 3rd place (US$ 3,000): ‘Breaking Glass Ceilings’ to empower aspiring women entrepreneurs in ASEAN.
- 4th place (US $2,500): ’16 Days, 16 Stories’ to create safe spaces for youth to learn about gender-based violence.
- 5th place (US$ 2,000): ‘I Am You, You Are Me’ to arrange coffee sessions for LGBTQI members to openly share their stories.
Both the first and second-place teams included participants from Brunei and their projects will be implemented in Brunei as well as in their teammates’ countries of Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Myanmar. The five winning projects will be implemented from October–December 2019, concluding with events in December to celebrate YSEALI’s 6th anniversary taking place under the YOUnified brand.
Ambassador Matthews congratulated the delegates on officially becoming alumni of YSEALI, commenting, “This network of 120,000 young Southeast Asian leaders will be a valuable cross-border resource for you. Please keep in touch with the people you have met at this workshop and find ways to continue to work together in the future. We look forward to seeing what you accomplish as young leaders in Southeast Asia.”