Ms. KD Mary Tawm is Director and co-founder of Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN), and has been the one to work toward transforming the organizations development from the beginning of the conflicts up until today. It has been 4 years already and, within those 4 years of conflict, there have been other emergency situations including natural disaster and other continuous fighting happening in eastern regions up until today.
Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN) was founded by Kachin-based churches, community-based committees and local NGOs at Mai Ja Yang on June 14th, 2011, in order to respond to the needs of the Kachin people affected by the war between the KIA and the Myanmar Army. At first there was not much funding for the IDPs, so WPN organized to find community donations and started their own personal contributions to help IDPs through volunteering.
In April 2012, WPN was transformed into an independent humanitarian organization with its own management and governing bodies. WPN started its humanitarian response with the support of Save the Children International and has gradually expanded its work to assist and protect the IDPs during the last four years of open violent conflict. WPN works in 6 IDP camps reaching 10,000 displaced persons, living along the China-Kachin border. WPN is also supporting 1,386 IDP students living in five boarding houses in three different camps in the Mai Ja Yang area.
The WPN team is composed of 63 people, of which 53 are permanent staff and 10 are volunteers operating under the governance of a “Vision Steering Committee”, composed by five members. WPN also counts with an Advisory Board composed by community members and representatives of other NGOs who support WPN, provides advice and ensures its accountability.
The vision of WPN is that all people to live with dignity, peace, security and full respect for their rights; enjoying integral social development and humanitarian assistance when required. As WPNs mission is to empower and support communities’ development initiatives and provide humanitarian protection and assistance, Mary Tawm cooperates with other organizations with similar values in order to achieve this goal. She is able to help, assist and protect people who are in need with human values and professionalism. Because of her work, the local community and IDPs could build resilience and response capacity. She could bring better health conditions, water and sanitation facilities and nutrition programs for the IDPs. Her work with WPN could able to promote basic education and vocational training and skills for relevant livelihood opportunities and that would build strong solidarity among IDP communities who have living under very harsh situations.
Her greatest strength is her devotion of all of her passion for the people she serves. She has repeatedly shown exceptional managerial and leadership capability under the most adverse circumstances. She is one of the inspirational and motivational examples of how local women could bring big change working with their heart. Enhancing her capacities by selecting her to receive this kind of recognition will help tremendously help the other local women looking at her with great inspiration. The award would not only support her carrier development but also help highlight the issue of humanitarian assistance gradually decreasing for the forgotten IDPs still living in the camps for 4 years now. She will be used as one of the advocacy tools for strengthening local women’s initiative and humanitarian assistance for the IDPs.