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Supporting Women And Girls In Burma

Burmese women pack tobacco inside a local cigar factory at the outskirts of Yangon. (file)

The Abbott Fund has announced a $1 million partnership with the Secretary’s Fund to support grassroots organizations in Burma.

A generation of young women in Burma is energized and optimistic about recent political transitions. This was the report from U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer upon her return from the country recently.

“Many of the young women have started or are participating in NGOs advocating civic activism and social entrepreneurship,” she said. “They were impressive in their independent thinking and can-do spirit. They’ve become increasingly empowered to embrace their rights, whether in the home, the workplace, in community and political activities or at the university.”

Women in Burma can look forward to some help in their efforts thanks to a new public-private partnership through U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s International Fund for Women and Girls. The Abbott Fund, a global, non-profit philanthropic foundation, has announced a $1 million partnership with the Secretary’s Fund to support grassroots organizations that are working to advance health, education and economic opportunity for women in Burma.

All partnership funding will be provided to Burmese organizations staffed by the people of Burma. Funding will provide medical care for women and girls. It will also fund programs to improve health awareness and provide preventive treatment. Other focuses will include education and training as well as expanding economic opportunities for women.

"Through decades of challenges, the people of Burma have developed a resilient and resourceful civil society," said Ambassador Verveer. "By supporting existing grassroots organizations, this public-private partnership with the Abbott Fund will help build the capacity of local organizations and communities to drive progress and development for women."

The Secretary's International Fund for Women and Girls furthers the Obama administration’s initiatives to build partnerships with philanthropic organizations, global businesses and civil society to address global needs. The fund is a State Department-led privately-funded initiative committed to providing flexible, rapid, targeted, and high-impact grants to nongovernmental organizations working to meet the critical needs of women and girls around the world.

“Burma’s democratic future is a work in progress,” said Ambassador Verveer. “Today we have an historic opportunity to help the people of Burma to realize a better future.”