Angelina Jolie Meets with Participants of the IFES-Supported She Leads Program in Myanmar

Publication Date: 
31 Jul 2015

News Type:

Angelina Jolie, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador, met on Friday with young women leaders participating in the She Leads program in Myanmar. “The elections in November are an extremely important moment for this country. Today I met inspiring young women preparing to vote for the first time, who have educated themselves about the process and come together to share that knowledge with others at this critical time,” Jolie said in a press release about the event.

She Leads reaches 500 women in 17 locations across 14 states and regions in Myanmar who are developing the confidence and skills to take on leadership roles in the political space. This program is implemented by Yaung Chi Thit with the support of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Participants at the event sang the She Leads song and shared personal stories of how they are using their skills and knowledge to mobilize their communities to make sure people are registered on the voter list for the November parliamentary elections.

The program is being implemented in a phased series of three training workshops held over a nine month period. The first two workshops will take place in the run up to the November elections and focus on building electoral knowledge as well as developing leadership skills in teamwork, public speaking and negotiations. This phase of the program aims to give the participants the skills and confidence to participate in the election as voters, observers, party agents and witnesses as well as working as voter educators to mobilize citizens in their communities. As one participant noted, “The knowledge that I am gaining from the training will help me to get more involved in the 2015 elections and share the information with the people in my area.” The third workshop, which will take place after the election, will focus on further developing the women’s leadership and advocacy skills as agents of change.

IFES supports She Leads under the “Support to the Election Process in Myanmar" program funded by the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the UK Department for International Development and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Since 1987 IFES has worked to fortify women in political and electoral processes as candidates and elected leaders, technical experts in elections, engaged civil society leaders and informed voters. IFES partners with local women’s groups and leaders to ensure programming has an effective and lasting impact. IFES provides innovative technical leadership to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment activities into our democracy and governance programs. She Leads builds on IFES’ global Women’s Leadership Training program, which works to increase women’s electoral and political knowledge, leadership skills and confidence globally, from Libya and Côte d’Ivoire to Cambodia and Indonesia.

To see video of Angelina Jolie meeting with participants, click on the video below.

To hear the She Leads song, click on the player below.