Nang Hla Kwel’s husband always led on the business side of the family rice farm in Wan Khon village. Nang Hla Kwel, who has a four-year-old daughter, had no technical knowledge of farming, and her main responsibility was to help with paddy planting and harvesting.
However, this all changed for Nang Hla Kwel thanks to Trócaire’s Irish Aid funded women’s empowerment initiative in Shan state which is making a difference in the lives of women like Nang Hla Kwel by empowering them to take the lead and learn new skills to build a more equal and sustainable future. When the series of trainings and seminars began, Nang Hla Kwel was intrigued to learn more about gender equality and how she could make a difference to her family’s future.
As it stood, Nang Hla Kwel’s family couldn’t meet their basic living needs through farming and this is what inspired her to join and get involved in different project activities such as the savings group, monthly meetings, training, events and forums.
But as a farmer, Nang Hla Kwel was especially interested in upskilling her knowledge in agriculture. Nang Hla Kwel was delighted to learn about natural fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and in particular the SRI’s system of rice intensification, a method of farming to increase the yield of rice…
She applied her new learnings to her family farm and shared them within her community.
It was through Trócaire’s training, implemented through local partner Network Activity Group (NAG), that Nang Hla Kwel was selected as Chairperson of the Village Development Committee (VDC) of Wan Khon village, something she never dreamed could happen.
“Women should not stay in supporting roles within the family. Women should get involved in community activities. After receiving training on gender, women’s leadership, and agricultural technologies, I now believe that I can lead the family business by applying the new agricultural skills which I learned from the project. At first, my husband did not agree with this, but he came around when I was elected as Chairperson of the VDC.”