Myanmar Build Peace Fellows 2018

The 2018 – 2019 fellowship supported three Myanmar organizations to gain digital skills that helped increase their peacebuilding impact. This program was funded by Danmission and the PeaceNexus Foundation. Hear from the Fellows about their experience:

The Fellowship Teams

Karen Peace Support Network

The Karen Peace Support Network works with its member organizations to promote sustainable peace in Myanmar, working with the Karen ethnic communities in the Southeast and on the Thai-Burma border. Together with its members, KPSN works to build local capacities, bring about peaceful development and advocate for sustainable peace.

As Build Peace Fellows, KPSN conducted a participatory video project on the Thai-Burma border to explore the ongoing challenge of displacement. Working together with displaced communities on both sides of the border, as well as several young people from Yangon, KPSN trained 16 youth aged 16-25 in participatory video techniques.

Participants were trained in all aspects of filmmaking from storyboarding and preparation, to filming and editing. The group then worked together to make two short films on the topic of education and refugees, then worked together on a longer film shot across different locations along the border. KPSN screened the video on World Refugee Day to an audience of over 400 people on both sides of the border, as well as disseminating it online. They have now incorporated the participatory video into their advocacy portfolio and plan to use the technique as a regular tool both for local empowerment and for strengthened advocacy.

Myanmar ICT for Development Organization

The Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO) works to promote technology for social change in Myanmar and to promote media and digital literacy through a range of programs.

As Build Peace Fellows, MIDO designed and launched a Facebook chatbot to further promote media literacy in Myanmar. In a context where low media literacy is closely tied to intercommunal conflict and misinformation contributes to increasing polarisation and division, MIDO’s chatbot provides invaluable content, particularly as Myanmar prepares for elections in 2020. The chatbot provides users with three functions: a selection of five media literacy modules, a set of quizzes to match those modules and the option to submit a piece of news for fact-checking by the MIDO team. During a pilot from August – October 2019, the chatbot reached 768 unique users. The public launch took place in November 2019, and MIDO is continuing to promote and gather feedback on the chatbot, in order to iterate and scale the product in the coming year. They have secured funds to continue to maintain the chatbot.

SEED for Myanmar

SEED for Myanmar works to educate, empower and engage with youth in Myanmar’s Mon State and beyond. Their projects aim to increase the role of youth in peace, education and economic development processes in Myanmar.

As Build Peace Fellows, SEED for Myanmar launched a youth-led Facebook campaign called Common Imagination, encouraging youth to positively imagine a peaceful and prosperous future for Mon State. SEED trained 167 youth on video-making and positive messaging, following which young people submitted short videos documenting local challenges and their vision for their city. SEED also worked with 28 young people on Non Violent Communications as a complement to the campaign. The Facebook page now serves as a platform for these videos to be shared, and as a space for youth to discuss common challenges and a shared future. SEED has used the campaign as a starting point to engage with local parliamentarians and officials, raising the voice of young people and encouraging greater recognition of youth leadership. They intend to keep the campaign open, expand to other areas of Mon State and further grow their community of engaged young citizens. As part of that effort, SEED recently organized a ‘Festival for the Futures’ in Mawlamyine, an event bringing together 173 youth to share a common vision and discuss joint challenges.