Myanmar Young Leaders Fieldwork Projects
Khaing Htun Soe
Like many people Khaing is alarmed by the growing problem of plastic waste and his using his MYLP fieldwork project to address this in his home region of Magway. Inspired by some of the waste management systems he saw in NZ, Khaing will work with local village authorities to run an awareness day for villages and in schools on the problem of plastic waste.
Rubbish bins will be installed in each visit and system of rubbish collection set up which sorts organic matter for composting and plastic and other waste to be removed to a central location to be dealt with in an environmentally sustainable way as possible.
Resource rich Kachin State has been subject to civil war and insecurity for decades as a result of the Myanmar military rule. Brang believes that developing a strong and equitable economy is one means of fostering peace and better livelihoods for the people of Kachin State. His fieldwork project aims to contribute to the sustainable economic development of Kachin State by putting in place a process to ensure the state economic policy currently in development, incorporates the wide views and needs of Kachin people.
Inspired by the community consultation model used by Porirua City Council Brang will host two workshops with 85 leaders from civil society, youth, business and political parties to discuss and give input to the economic policy. This input will be presented to the Kachin 100 Delegation Team as a final policy paper to inform their negotiations with the Myanmar government.
Tin Tin Yu
As Myanmar transitions to become a democratic country it is vital that young citizens know what their rights and responsibilities are. However, this kind of civic education has been sorely lacking in Myanmar for decades. Tin Yu’s project will provide 20 young people working for NGOs in the southern Mon State with a five-day civic education course focussed on the role of CSOs, responsibilities of local government and gender justice.
These 20 participants will form an ongoing network with then aim to work collaboratively to share this civic education with other young people and develop their communities.
Social media has played a key role in spreading fake news, mistrust, hate speech and discrimination between groups in Myanmar, culminating in violence towards Rohingya and other Muslims. A number of civil society groups in Myanmar are trying to push back against fake news and hate speech but lack the skills and support to do so effectively.
Kathy’s project aims to support these organisations to use social media for good and debunk fake news claims. Drawing on her own knowledge and that of other experts her project will provide 18 staff from human rights, peace and democracy NGOs with a 5-day training course on social media skills, messaging and online campaigning.
Chin state is the poorest state in Myanmar with and economy is highly dependent on agriculture. Small scale farmers have limited opportunity to talk with local government and agriculture authorities to address the issues that impact on their farming and livelihoods.
Tin Royal’s fieldwork project aims to address the lack of communication between authorities and coffee and yam farmers in Matupi and Mindat in Chin State. A 2-day workshop will be held to provide 15-20 local farmers with an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of local authorities and together develop a list of issues that they collectively face. On the second day of the workshop a meeting between local authorities and the farmers will be facilitated to present these issues and collaboratively identify potential solutions that local authorities could support.
There are an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 drug users in Myanmar and many lives are derailed by heavy drug use such as heroin. Khambeh wants to tackle this issue in her home Shan State. Her fieldwork project will run a six-day workshop with 10 CSO staff in Shan State to develop a drug prevention education curriculum that can be taught in local schools.
Her workshops and curriculum will be based on the Amplify model she learnt in NZ that focusses on building a strong network of family, friends, hobbies and other supports around vulnerable young people as opposed to simply punishing drug users. At the end of the workshop she will publish her curriculum and introduce it to local schools.
Saw Min Klay
Kawkareik in Karen State is a diverse area with many different ethnic and religious groups and a number of development challenges such as poor education, land confiscation and drugs. Every village has an elected leader but often these leaders have little training or knowledge in democratic processes and how to involve the wider community in decision-making.
Saw Min Klay’s fieldwork project will provide 28 village leaders, young leaders, women leaders, and religious leaders from Kawkareik with a 3-day workshop on democratic processes, leadership and tools for community engagement and development. Following this they will do a 2-day workshop mapping out the various community issues they face as well as what resources they have to tackle them within their communities, and develop a collaborative approach to these issues.
Inspired by the work of organisations like Shakti and the White Ribbon campaign in NZ Moet Moet is using her fieldwork project to change the way Pa’O communities view and respond to gender discrimination and violent. She is running a five-day workshop for 20 Pa’O women on domestic violence, gender discrimination and women’s rights, including CEDAW.
The culmination of the workshop will be a presentation of the participants to male local authorities, including local police, village leaders, and individual activists, with the aim of instigating changes to attitudes and responses to violence and gender discrimination. Moet Moet plans for her group of 20 women to continue as a network actively pushing for improvements to the rights of Pa’O women.
Naw Eh Htoe
A number of Myanmar’s armed ethnic organisations are currently in peace negotiations with the Myanmar government after decades of conflict. However, these negotiations only involve leaders and little information about the peace processes and what’s at stake is shared with the public leading to potential fear and distrust.
Naw’s project aims to provide 14 young people in Karen State with skills in journalism and communication so they can be active in promoting evidenced based information about the peace process to the public. Over a five day course they will be taught interview and research skills and have the opportunity to interview one of the leading Karen National Union peace negotiators about the peace process. From this each will be supported to write and publish an article about the peace process.
Nyo Me Htut
Student unions have played pivotal roles in Myanmar’s democratisation process and continue to produce many future leaders of the country. As such Nyo Me believes that ensuring student unions respect and promote gender equality could have a large flow on effect for promoting gender equality throughout Myanmar.
Nyo Me’s fieldwork project aims to integrate gender equality approaches to four university student unions in Yangon and their university environments. She will run a 4-day training course for 18 male and female student union members covering gender equality and how to tackle gender based violence. Each student union will then be challenged to come up with its own action plan to promote gender equality on university campuses and to promote gender balance and women’s leadership in their student unions.
Phone Myint Maung
Relying on donor income can be a precarious existence for civil society organisations in Myanmar. Inspired by some of the social enterprises he visited in NZ Phone is using his MYLP fieldwork project to test the social enterprise model as an alternative means of sustaining own organisation – EduLife.
Over a 5-day course 20 young EduLIfe volunteers will learn about organisational management and the social enterprise model. Over a further two days they will develop a business case for a social enterprise to help sustain EduLife’s educational work that can be presented to the EduLife’s senior leadership.
Myanmar has great ethnic diversity but ethnic groups are generally under represented under its new political voting system. Inspired by the impact MMP has had in enabling greater representation of minority groups in NZ’s parliament Zaw Hpan wants to instigate thoughtful discussion on alternative voting systems for Myanmar.
His fieldwork project will focus on his home state of Kachin and bring together 50 CSO and religious leaders across two different workshops to learn about alternative voting systems and begin thinking as to what a better voting system for Myanmar might look like.