Bruneians among YSEALI project winners

James Kon

United States (US) Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Matthew J Matthews announced the five winning projects of the recent Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) ‘Generation Workshop: Advancing Gender Equality’.

The winning projects, out of 10 teams who pitched their proposal on the final day of the workshop, will receive funding for their transnational project proposals, to improve their respective communities and the wider region.

First place with the prize of USD4,000 went to ‘Inspiring Men’ to encourage men to create supportive work environments for women.

In second place with the prize of USD3,500 went to ‘IT Girls’, to enable young female professionals to use technology to create safe environments in their workspace, while, in third place with USD3,000 went to ‘Breaking Glass Ceilings’ to empower aspiring women entrepreneurs in ASEAN.

Fourth place with the prize of USD2,500 went to ’16 Days, 16 Stories’ to create safe spaces for youth to learn about gender-based violence and fifth place and USD2,000 went to ‘I Am You, You Are Me’ to arrange coffee sessions for members to openly share their stories.

Both the first- and second-placed teams included Bruneians whose projects will be implemented in Brunei, as well as in their teammates’ countries of Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

The projects will be implemented from October to December, concluding with events to celebrate YSEALI’s 6th anniversary under the YOUnified brand.

The workshop’s main objectives are to create a network of emerging leaders working together across national borders, to promote the advancement of women in Southeast Asia. The three-day workshop culminated in a competition with participants from all ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste pitching gender equality projects.

The participants collaborated in mixed-nationality teams to devise solutions to problems including raising awareness, changing mindsets, creating safe spaces, and encouraging education and entrepreneurship. Ten mentors from women’s empowerment organisations across ASEAN guided the teams in refining their project ideas.

United States (US) Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Matthew J Matthews in a group photo with 1st prize winners. PHOTO: JAMES KON