Chou Yi-Lan

Former Communications and Media Program Officer, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Chou Yi-Lan was a communications and media officer at FORUM-ASIA, a network of 85 NGO member organisations across 23 Asian countries, and a key partner of DTP’s.

Yi-Lan’s role was to drive audience growth and engagement on human rights and development issues through communications, media advocacy, and campaigns. Yi-Lan identified opportunities and needs for campaigning in the region, designed outreach strategies, leveraged the advantages of technology and tools, facilitated training among Asia-based member organisations, and stewarded relationships with media partners.

Originally from Taiwan, Yi-Lan is passionate about creating positive impact on people’s lives and enjoys working together with the grassroots community.

When I was young and studied diplomacy in the university, I had a dream to become a career diplomat, because I thought I could travel and do something positive for my country. Later in life I realised that being a diplomat may not be the right path for me, because I want to be closer to the community, and I like to talk to ordinary people, listen to their stories and walk bare feet in the villages to feel grounded.”

While studying Yi-Lan undertook different volunteering positions which shifted her career preference to work in the human rights and development field.

So I spent more than a month in a remote village in Timor-Leste where I contributed to building reconciliation, collaboration and trust among conflict-affected youth groups with other volunteers from Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan. That experience inspired me so much that from that point on, I knew that I wanted to learn more about human rights and development.”

Following her graduation in Taiwan, Yi-Lan completed a Master’s Degree in conflict and development studies at the University of Sussex with a particular focus on Myanmar’s transition and migration. Yi-Lan spent four years working with ActionAid in Myanmar before joining FORUM-ASIA.

Yi-Lan joined the DTP training when FORUM-ASIA co-organised the training ahead of the Regional Business and Human Rights Forum in Bangkok in 2019.

DTP training provided me with foundation knowledge on business and human rights. I still keep the training manual. Because business and human rights is one of the priorities of FORUM-ASIA, the knowledge gathered in training helps me when I am writing a statement or press release, or when I have to provide inputs to reports on Indigenous peoples, business and human rights. I can apply a more analytical approach which increases the impact of my work.”

Yi-Lan said the DTP training also helped her to be more strategic about media advocacy in business and human rights.

The tactic to trace back supply chain, to trace back the international brand is something that I learnt from DTP training and that is helpful for me to craft media and communication messaging, and to identify the right target audience when I develop a media advocacy strategy.”

July 2022

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