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"WAI Myanmar will grow exponentially once the country’s political situation stabilizes"

Women in AI in Myanmar was launched on January 23rd 2021 and is on a steep growth curve ever since. 180 members joined the local chapter so far and the team around Ambassador Khine Zar Thwe just started. Reason enough to have a closer look at WAI in the largest country in Mainland Southeast Asia.

How it started

The team is now six women strong and it's expected to grow exponentially once the country’s political situation stabilizes and improves. The existing challenges women in AI are facing everyday motivate the volunteers. They defined four major goals:

  • To promote gender-inclusivity in the field of AI in Myanmar.

  • To advance women to leadership roles in the field of AI and ML industries

  • To empower next-generation Myanmar students to be able to innovate through emerging AI technologies.

  • To provide opportunities for the under-privileged youths especially girls to acquire and improve their skills and knowledge in AI.

Inspired to scale by Political Events

A combination of respect, character, and friendship among the members as well as having the commitment to work toward clear and directed common goals is the teams secret to success. Initially, the WAI Myanmar team wanted to focus solely on educating the young generations. However, due to the coup d'état in Feb 2021, they decided to do a lot more than that.

"We would like to direct the chapter to provide educational support as well as career opportunities whenever possible."

Khine Zar Thwe, Ambassador Myanmar

In order to make that happen, WAI Myanmar uses one of the core elements of WAI's work: events. Due to COVID-19, most of the events in Myanmar were done online. So far, a chapter’s launch event as well as two WAITime events took place in 2021. WAI Myanmar also collaborated with the Asia-Pacific regional team for a couple of events.

The local events are defined and managed through pure team effort. Before each event, all members meet and collectively decide on what kind of event to organize. After that, roles are assigned to each member. Rehearsals before the actual event minimize hiccups during the actual event. Special to the local team is their ritual of introducing all the invited guests to the WAI Myanmar Chapter and informing them of upcoming events from us.

"This chapter is still in its infancy. Hence, we consider the events successful if we manage to capture the interests of not only tech people but also non-tech people. We consider it a bonus if we can manage to boost their knowledge about AI and improve their skills and proficiency." - WAI Myanmar Team

WAI Myanmar's goal for the coming years

The team drafted out a year-long plan with the main goal to help youths who are directly affected by the military coup. WAI Myanmar wants to provide a platform for the youths, especially women to gain interest in AI, to share knowledge, and also connect with the international community. By doing so, they aim to provide career inspiration, mentorship, and international opportunities.

In the remaining months of 2021 and 2022, the team plans to organize seven local events and collaborate with other teams like APAC to organize three global events. WAI Myanmar also wants to recruit four additional core members to support the chapter. With this momentum, the team hopes to grow further. The volunteers are also looking for partners to support the activities of the WAI Myanmar Chapter.

If you want to join or support the chapter contact the local ambassador here.

Title image: Unsplash


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