Since the last nationwide parliamentary elections in 2010, civil society has gained more operating space and an opportunity to participate in the political evolution of Myanmar. However, the strategic focus and capacity of local Civil Society Organisations to formulate and fulfil their visions is missing, partly as a consequence of pre-set donor narratives for country-based funding.
Together with People in Need (lead) and Loka Ahlinn, EPD has launched a programme to address this gap in Mon, Kayin, Shan States and Mandalay Region. The programme offers a sustainable solution for enhancing the role of local civil society in public and policy affairs in constructive cooperation with local authorities. The activities will be implemented over 36 months.
The interest areas of the target groups supported under this action will be centred on rural development, land rights issues and civil society participation, through advocacy for locally sensitive policies and the legal environment, dialogue with governmental representatives and women’s empowerment. The programme is based on rights based principles. It empowers civil society representatives and communities (farmers, women, leaders, etc.) to enjoy and local authorities to respect the principles of civil society rights such as the right to peaceful assembly or association. The rights of minorities and indigenous people is a specific focus in Kayin, Mon and Shan States, where people suffer from land-grabbing, poverty and discrimination based on their ethnicity.
The programme will follow on from People in Need’s project on civil society organisations, Loka Ahlin’s project on participatory and accountable local governance in Tanintharyi Region and EPD’s EU-financed project INSPIRED, which took place in 5 countries.