List of activities. We aim to give an impression of the activities of BCN throughout 2015. A full annual report will be published in April 2016)
The 2015 Decentralization and Participatory Democracy program focusses on empowering communities to encourage their participation in the transition to a genuine democratic Myanmar and to support sustainable peace. Activities within this program are centered on building democratic skills and principles of nonviolent participation in decision making; e.g. negotiation skills, finding common ground, consensus based decision making, presenting data and policy alternatives, nonviolent advocacy and supporting activities.
Through Land and Law awareness workshops, extension meetings, Decentralization & Democracy workshops, special trainings and network meetings, Myanmar People’s Alliance (MPA), a grassroots Network of cso, cbo, activists and concerned individuals was established in in Shan State in 2014.
In 2015 we continued working with this network towards translating common grievances of communities with regards to land rights, civil rights, natural resources and governance to input for the National Political Dialogue, reflecting the needs and wishes of the Myanmar people in support of sustainable peace and local security. Through collecting issue based experiences for the grass roots, proposals for change based on consensus and direct needs of the people were developed.
Workshops, trainings and meetings
February 7, Loikaw, Kayah State – Recap Cambodia exposure.
In Loikaw, a one day workshop to recap the Cambodia exposure (2014) was held for 17 participants from the exposure and some members of Kayah civil society who were not able to join the exposure (due to a car accident).
February, 8-12, Loikaw, Kayah State – ToT for MPA and UKSY.
39 Participants from the Shan State grassroots network and the UKSY came together for a ToT training. With this ToT training we strive to capacitate the focal persons of the network to execute trainings, workshops and meetings with their communities to disseminate tools for activities within a framework of nonviolent activities supporting democratic development.
February 17-18, Lashio, Shan State - Northern Shan State MPA Network analyses training.
A two day workshop was organized in Northern Shan State for 22 network members representing the Northern Shan States CBO’s and CSO’s.
February 24-25, Aung Ban, Shan State. Follow up Southern- and Middle MPA Shan State Network meeting 17 members from the network from Southern - and Middle Shan State gathered for a two day network meeting
April 19-21, Aung Ban, Shan State- Southern- and Middle Shan State MPA Network meeting.
The first day started with The 19 network members present exchanged experiences in the field with collecting data (on land and mining/factories).
April 23-26, Kyaung Tone, Eastern Shan State – MPA Network analysis and data collection training.
A four day workshop was organized in Eastern Shan State for the network’s focal persons representing the eastern Shan States CBO’s and CSO’s and members, all together 37 persons.
In very interactive sessions the concepts of democracy, checks and balances, natural resource management, natural resource sharing and governance were introduced. Democratic skills like consensus decision making were explained and practiced.
April 28-30, Lashio, Northern Shan State – MPA Network training.
Network training in Northern Shan State, with 21 participants, followed the same agenda as the training in Southern Shan State.
May 5-7, Aung Ban, Shan State – MPA Shan State network training.
The elected focal persons (2 from the South, 2 from the East, 1 from the North and 1 from Middle Shan) from the network and the members of the core team gathered for a three day training.
July 7-9, Lashio, Northern Shan State – MPA Network training/workshop.
This training cum workshop brought together participants from Northern Shan state, focal persons and MPA members. In May and June the MPA core team went to the area to collect data on problems with land registration, natural resources and governance and to consult the communities for the Blackbook-Whitebook (the working title for what became the ‘Voice of the Shan State People for Peace and Transition to Democracy). The workshop started with sharing experiences and an analysis of the situation in the region.
July 14-15, Kyaung Tone, Eastern Shan State – MPA Network training/workshop.
A two day Network training/workshop. After an analysis of the situation in Eastern Shan State, the focal persons presented the data they collected since the previous workshop (May). After a short analysis, the resource person explained what was missing and what kind of supporting evidence was still needed.
July 23-25, Yangon - MPA coordinator training/meeting.
A three day training brought together the focal/coordinating persons of the different areas in the network as well as the MPA core team. Problems were discussed and strategies to overcome the problems were developed together.
September 28-29, Aung Ban, Southern Shan State – MPA Network workshop.
Members of MPA from Southern Shan State, Pao and Danu area gathered for a two day MPA network workshop. Experiences from the previous months are shared and strategies for further activities designed. BCN staff gives input on nonviolence and lawful action.
September 30 – 3 October Nang Cho, Kyaut Mae and Hispaw – MPA network workshop.
Strong monsoon caused flooding and landslides in Middle, East and Northern Shan State in July and August. During the floods many roads were blocked and it was difficult to go to the communities to collect data and consult them. In October many participants were rebuilding their farms, they had no time to attend the MPA network training. Therefor we decided to visit their places to collect the data and stories and to consult the communities on their vision of a future Shan State. We visited Nang Cho, Kyaut Mae, and Hispaw. Data were collected, evidence checked, and stories told. Activities to address the local issues were shared as well as strategies for new activities developed.
October 3-4, Lashio, Northern Shan State – MPA network workshop.
MPA members from Lashio and upper Lashio attended the two day workshop in Lashio. This workshop mainly followed the agenda of the workshop in Aung Ban.
October 7-8, Tachileik, Eastern Shan state – MPA Network workshop/meeting.
Due to floods and bad road conditions, not all participants were able to attend the workshop. The core team split and 4 members of the core team went to the villages to collect their data and discuss follow up actions to solve their pressing problems with a goldmine.
October 14-16, Yangon - MPA Network workshop.
A three day workshop was organized for the focal persons of the network and representatives of the communities to check and finalize the stories that they shared. A first draft of the book ‘ Voice of the Shan State People for Peace and Transition to Democracy’ was made.
Land and Law awareness trainings
January 3-4, Aung Ban, Shan State - Land and Law awareness training. 122 Participants gathered for a two day workshop on Land and Law awareness. On the first day a lawyer explained the citizen rights (Act on Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens) and the Myanmar laws that are related to land: the 1963 Protection Law for farmers; the Vacant, Fallow, Virgin Land Management law; the Agricultural law; the Forestry law and the Land Law of 2012. A member of the Shan State EITI team shared the standard of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and how the communities can use this standard to get access to information on mining companies. On the second day the lawyer explained how farmers can register their land according to the rules and regulations, how to regain occupied land and how to apply for compensation in case their land is grabbed.
January 24-25, Kaw Thaung, Tenasserin region – Land and Law awareness training. 123 Participants.
January 31- February 1,Nam Sang Town Ship, Middle Shan State – Land and Law awareness training. 158 Participants.
March 7-8, Wun Tho Town Ship, Sagain Region - Land and Law awareness training. 209 participants.
March 14-15, Kyaut Pa Taung Town Ship, Mandalay Region, Dry Zone - Land and Law awareness training. 95 Participants.
March 28-29, Moe Nyin Township, Kachin State – Land and Law awareness training. 310 Participants.
May 10-11, Pin Laung, Pao area, Shan State - D&D / law awareness workshop.
97 Participants gathered for a two day workshop, organized in the self-administered zone of Pao .
The workshop started with explanation of the Citizen Rights (Act on Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens). The resource person explained that according to this Act, the workshop is a lawful activity. After introduction of the concepts democracy,decentralization and explaining the government structure, the participants made an inventory of the local issues. Through a system of voting, five issues were selected that were analysed.
At the end of day two, the participants wrote a letter together to the local authorities on their issues. In this letter the participants asked the local authorities to solve their problems according to the law.
The following workshops followed the same pattern as the Land and Law workshop in Aung Ban:
Network training, Community consultation and Data collection
May 20, Wan Hser Village, Tarchilate TSP, Eastern Shan State - Network training, community consultation and data collection.
A one day consultation was organized for 55 participants to collect their voices for the common shared vision on the future Shan State and to collect data on their issues related to land, natural resources and governance.
May 21, Tarleh, Tarchilate TSP, Eastern Shan State: field survey. To conduct field research and assist collecting data, a day was spent at various sites related to the issues discussed the day before.
The following workshops followed the same pattern as the workshop in Wan Hser Village:
May 23, Wan Taung Village, Kyaing Tong TSP, Eastern Shan State- Network training, community consultation and data collection. 26 Participants.
May 24, Kyaing Paung Village, Kyaing Tong TSP, Eastern Shan State - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 51 Participants.
May 28, Met Mom Mone Village, Namt San TSP, Middle Shan State - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 32 Participants.
May 29, No. 5 Village, Namt San TSP, Middle Shan State - Network training. Community consultation and data collection. 36 Participants.
May 30, Nam San TSP, Middle Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 38 Participants.
June 1, Moe Noe TSP, Middle Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 69 Participants.
June 3, Mine Tone TSP, Middle Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 29 Participants.
June 9, Yin Ku Village, Naung Cho TSP, Northern Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 44 Participants.
June 10, Kho Ohn Village, Kyauk Mae TSP, Northern Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 72 Participants.
June 18, Mine Kai TSP, Northern Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 141 Participants.
June 19, Nyain Pin Kyi (Naung Ta Yar), Northern Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 129 Participants.
June 20, Htamin Phong (Yaer Ngain), Northern Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 49 Participants.
June 26, Lachar, Middle Shan State – Network training, community consultation and data collection. 132 Participants.
June 24 - 30 Yangon - data analysis meeting.
All available data were processed, assessed and analysed. From this a first draft of the shared common vision was created, which was be discussed and checked in the month of July.
August 24, Yae Pu village - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 214 Participants.
August 25, Paung Taw Sike village- Network training, community consultation and data collection. 104 Participants.
August 26, Myoe Haung village - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 37 Participants.
August 27, Lin Lay Inn Village Pindaya, Southern Shan State - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 306 Participants.
August 28, Yat Sauk TSP - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 51 Participants.
August 29, Ywar Nagan TSP, Dalapin Village - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 58 Participants.
August 30, Kalaw TSP, Naung Lway - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 31 Participants.
August 31, Baw Saing, Southern Shan State - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 59 Participants.
September 2, Dalaima Village - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 38 Participants.
September 3, Moe Byae TSP, Paw Oo (1) - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 168 Participants.
September 5, Pin Laung - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 69 Participants.
September 6, Naung Khar, Wan Pang Village - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 49 Participants.
September 7, Moe Nae - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 64 Participants.
September 14, Kyauk Taw Village - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 47 Participants.
September 15, Ohn Ma Khar Village - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 25 Participants.
September 16, Mar Nar TSP - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 165 Participants.
September 17, Thi Paw TSP - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 143 Participants.
September 18, Nant Hu Taung - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 42 Participants.
September 19, Nant Phat Kar Village - Network training, community consultation and data collection. 20 Participants.
Consultation meetings for approval of Whitebook (the working title for the ‘proposals for a better future, part 2 of ‘The Voice of the Shan state People for Peace and Transition to Democracy”). Representatives of communities were presented with the final draft of the Whitebook, final comments were invited and whom to delegate to the forum was discussed.
November 30, Pinlaung Township – Middle Shan. 32 Participants.
November 30, Tiggyit Township – Southern Shan. 20 Participants.
December 1, Kyaing Tung Township – Eastern Shan. 25 Participants.
December 4, Tachileik – Eastern Shan. 45 Participants.
December 5, Hta Min Paung, Danu area, Yuan Nyang. 20 Participants.
December 6, Pinlaung township – Middle Shan. 27 Participants.
December 7, Nam Sam Township – Middle Shan. 23 Participants.
December 8, Mae Nae Township – Middle Shan. 36 Participants.
11-13 December – Forum preparation workshop, Taunggyi. 20 Participants.
MPA core team and network focal persons prepared the agenda for the forum and the presentations for sharing ‘the Voice of the Shan State people for Peace and transition to Democracy’. Tasks and responsibilities during the forum were discussed and divided.
15-17 December – MPA Forum “the Voice of the Shan State people for Peace and transition to Democracy. 375 Participants. During this three day forum, the MPA publication “the Voice of the Shan State People for Peace and Transition to Democracy was launched: representatives of communities presented the issues on land, natural resources and governance, the activities they had undertaken to address these issues as well as their proposals for a better future to invited stakeholders from Ethnic Armed Organisations, political parties, MPs elect from State and Union level, local government and experts. During the forum, MPA also launched it’s T-shirt campaign ‘Listen to our voice’ – we want genuine peace, just laws, equal development.
January 1-2, Naung Ka Yar, Shan State - Women mass meeting, Gender awareness.
123 Participants gathered in Naung Ka Yar. The aim was to empower women, raise awareness on gender equality, violence against women and to reduce their fear by informing them about their rights.
February 7-8, Taunggyi, Shan State - Legal aid training.
The legal aid training was attended by 50, mostly female, participants. A lawyer explained the basic laws applicable to women and the women protection law. Case studies from women in the audience were discussed as well as ways of giving support to victims of gender based violence. legal aid.
After these gender issue specific meetings, we decided to integrate gender awareness through gender mainstreaming in all our workshops, trainings and activities.
Karenni People’s Voices in the Peace Process
February 2-9, Chiang Mai – Meeting with KNPP leaders.
4 staff members of UKSY (Union of Karenni State Youth) went to Chiang Mai to meet the KNPP. Although the KNPP is among the ethnic armed groups yet to sign the National Cease Fire agreement, they make preparations to take part in the National Dialogue. The focus of the meeting centred around collaboration from KNPP on UKSY’s project’ Bringing the voice of the people in the Peace process’.
February 14, Loikaw, Kayah State – Preparation meeting project: Karenni People’s Voices in the Peace Process.
UKSY planned a ToT training from February 14-22 to share basic knowledge with participants on subjects needed to collect the voices of the Karenni people in the peace process. On the first day of this training, BCN staff recapped the information given in the previous week (ToT network) .The program of the training was overviewed and input was given on nonviolent action, negotiation skills and data collection. Special attention was given on data review.
February 15-21, Loikaw, Kayah State – Peace ToT training, Capacity building. 24 Participants from 7 organisations will go to villages in Kayah State to collect the voice of the grass root people, their experiences and data. This training was given to prepare for the field trips.
Consultation workshops, May - October. One day workshops were organized in 9 townships at 49 villages. From 7 previous forums and workshops, 12 topics are selected on which input from the communities was asked : Peace, Development, Education, Land Rights, Human Rights, Women and Child Rights, Drugs, Economics, Youth, Environment, Health and Job opportunities.
August 12-13, Loikow – Mid term Peace trip evaluation workshop. 27 Participants. A two day workshop was organized with the fieldwork staff. The process of consultation was shared and analysed. Problems and strategies to overcome them were discussed.
September 22-24, Loikow - Forum. 106 Participants.
Grassroots people and local CSOs were invited to make policy proposals based on the data. All 12 issues were covered and a total of 163 policy proposals were made during the forum in an interactive issues will be presented.
September 30, Loikow - Network meeting. 40 Participants.
December 2015 - Publication of the book ‘Echo of Peace’, containing the voice of the people in Karenni State and the generated policy proposals.
MPA Core team training and planning meetings
February 19-22, Aung Ban, Shan State- Core Team training and planning meeting.
The focus of the training cum planning meeting was the role of the MPA network in building a democratic society. What is a democratic society? What is the role of the citizen in a democratic society and which democratic skills are needed, were topics explored.
February 27-March 2, Yangon- Planning meeting with the core team.
After an in depth analysis and evaluation of the network meeting, the team decided to make some formats that would be helpful and supporting for the network activities. Formats for data collection were made for land issues (grabbing and registration), issues related to mining and factories and for data on governance. The team also designed sample letter formats for the letter writing campaigns. The formats were distributed among the members of the network.
Guidelines on how to consult local communities on a common vision on future Shan State were developed.
April 7-11, Chaing Mai, Thailand- Team training / strategy meeting.
Topics addressed include an analysis of the political landscape, nationwide cease fire and the political dialogue and upcoming elections. Capacity strengthening and information dissemination on democratic processes on grassroots level as contribution to sustainable peace; Community organizing for consultation and consultation skills; Democratic processes on grassroots level, democratic leadership and participatory democracy.
May 1-4, Aung Ban, Shan State – Analysis and Strategy meeting core team.
After the intense network trainings throughout Shan state, the team made a SWOT analysis of the network focal persons. From a thorough evaluation of the curriculum, we learned that more attention should be given to the concept of democracy in future trainings. Data collection with good evidence and community consultations skills were addressed as topics for further on the job network training.
June 27- 30 Bangkok- Strategy and planning meeting.
Two members of the Myanmar team travelled to Bangkok to have a strategy and planning meeting with BCN’s project manager. Due to BCN’s visa restrictions (Myanmar visa permits a stay of 28 days only) this meeting was held in Bangkok.
July 14-17, Nay Pyi Taw - Core team meeting ‘Blackbook-Whitebook‘.
The core team evaluated the previous workshops. From all the information and sheets from the group-work a draft was made for the Blackbook-Whitebook. Strong points and weak points were identified, problems analysed and strategies for further steps developed. BCN staff shared how to construct stories from data analyses.
August 4-13 Exposure trip to Cambodia. 10 Participants.
A 7 day intensive exposure to Cambodia for members of the MPA core team. Issues addressed and explored were: the Cambodian recent history and political situation; laws, legal system and governance in Cambodia; comparisons with the situation in Myanmar; risks and challenges for human rights defenders and mitigating measures; fieldtrips to communities facing landgrabbing, forced evictions and resettlement; a visit to the national assembly. Meetings with local cso, political activists and MPs.
October 19 – 25, Chiang Mai - Core team meeting ‘Blackbook-Whitebook’.
From the data and stories, the book ‘The voice of the Shan State People for Peace and Transition to Democracy’ was composed.
October 26-27, Bangkok – Strategy meeting.
A two day strategy meeting was held in Bangkok with the strategy unit. Short term strategy and long term strategy were discussed, analysis of the Myanmar situation made and future plans developed.
November 24-29 – MPA core team meeting – Yangon. 10 Participants.
Analyses of the current situation, results of the elections and implications for CSO and MPA program were made and thoroughly discussed. The first preparation for forum and draft agenda were made.
December 18-21 – MPA core team evaluation and planning meeting – Yangon.
Evaluation meeting after the Forum ‘the Voice of the Shan State People for Peace and Transition to Democracy’ and future planning.
January 24-26, Phae Kone Shan State - Election Workshop. 32 Participants.
The three day workshop was organized by Comreg, one of BCN’s partners, to expand the knowledge of the community in relation to the upcoming elections.
February 12-13, Mandalay – Organizational reflection and Planning workshop.
Two days workshops were organized by Comreg for partner Civil Society Organizations.