Photo credit: Style

By Alexandra Giorgis-Audrain

It has been very eventful this past month at the UNODC Country Office in Myanmar. Specifically, I had the opportunity to be involved in the organization of a high-level GBV roundtable event attended by senior officials representing various Myanmar Government departments, the Myanmar Police Force, UN Agencies and civil society organizations. I was fortunate to be included in a lot of the behind the scene processes, and in the event itself. Although the roundtable occurred during the time I normally would have been sleeping, I was really excited to be a part of the open discussion concerning how the organizations could better collaborate to respond to gender-based violence (GBV) in the context of COVID-19. I was able to not only learn more about the different organizations and how they work, but also about the different services being offered to survivors in Myanmar during the pandemic. Following the event, I was asked to contribute content for the post-event web story for the UNODC Myanmar website, as well as for a newspaper article, and a press release. The organization of this roundtable took up a lot of our time, but was well worth the effort if for no other reason than that I was able to be part of meeting with high-level staff members during these trying times.

At the moment our workload has decreased slightly, but we still have a lot to look forward to in the next upcoming weeks because the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV will begin on the 25th of November. Our team is already planning to release documents and organize events in order to raise awareness of GBV issues within Myanmar. We also plan to continue our efforts in coordinating the collaboration of all relevant actors who respond to GBV. Currently, our team’s priority for 16 Days is organizing an event to launch an issue paper that I had the chance to help with and that will feature a panel of GBV experts.

Although all of us in our office are working remotely, we remain in constant contact with one another throughout the day. I really wish that I could meet with the members of my office in-person, but I do really appreciate the effort that everyone is making to stay connected and help each other out with work assignments. Even though this is not what I envisioned for my internship, I am constantly learning while sharpening my writing and analytical skills, which is exactly what I wanted to get out of this unique opportunity.

I have only worked at the Myanmar Country Office of UNODC for two months, and yet it feels like I have spent much more time than that. I look forward to signing on every day to talk to my colleagues, accomplishing my tasks and I am excited to be continuing my work with UNODC.