Myanmar Young Leaders Programme
The 2020 programme consists of
A Foundation Workshop in Yangon
Prior to departure from Myanmar there is a one day Foundation Workshop in Yangon. This is provide up to date information about the Myanmar economic system; there is also the opportunity to speak to alumni about life and customs in New Zealand.
After arrival in New Zealand there is an orientation of two weeks for participants to get to know each other; to get assistance with practical tasks like opening a bank account; to familiarise themselves with the university and the city resources, and to settle into the course. There is an introduction to Maori cultural perspectives, and the work and structure of UnionAID. Testing for placement level on the English Proficiency Programme is also undertaken and students have their first English language session.
English Proficiency Programme (EPP)
The thirteen week English language course runs from mid-March until mid-June. English language is taught using various content such as waste management, migrants, crime and punishment. Classes are organised by English language level, so participants learn with students from other nationalities at a level that meets language learning needs and provides enough challenge to keep the motivation to improve.
The EPP is a full time course, which means there are scheduled classes from 9am to 1pm daily, with one afternoon for regular progress testing, which usually includes vocabulary and either reading or writing. During the other afternoons students are expected to use facilities at the university to improve English and study skills. There may also be other learning sessions or special interest visits.
The ten week tailored course runs from late June until the end of August with modules on democratic processes, human rights, and economics. During this time there will be visits with government, unions, community and other organisations to provide first-hand experience relating to the above topics. This course draws on a wide range of contributors (academic staff, governmental and community organisations, unions, and individuals) who have the expertise and enthusiasm to develop the knowledge and skills required for participants’ current work and beyond. There is a combination of classes, discussions, presentations and visits to meet the specific outcomes of the programme. There is time for discussion and reflection as a group so students can think about what they learned and how it could apply to their work in Myanmar.
There will also be a course introducing research skills, and weekly sessions to assist students to develop a proposal (based on their special interest learning) for a fieldwork project. Participants are strongly encouraged to submit these proposals to UnionAID for funding so the field work can be implemented upon return to Myanmar as a practical extension of the programme.
An analysis of surveys after their return to Myanmar has found that alumni have:
- taken up mentoring and leadership roles
- taken on higher levels of responsibility
- been promoted within their organisations
- improved report and proposal writing skills
- understood more about democratic processes and development
- shared their new knowledge and skills locally and nationally
An annual conference for all programme alumni is held in Myanmar towards the end of each year to ensure ongoing support, and further learning and networking opportunities. This conference is organised and managed by alumni and fully funded by UnionAID.