Social Cohesion Training Initiative Development Enters Final PhaseNov 19, 2015
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) together with an international NGO, Search for Common Ground (SFCG), is developing a training package for communities to strengthen local level social cohesion in 6 states in Myanmar – Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Kayah, Mon and Shan.
The training package includes topics such as the ingredients of social cohesion in Myanmar; identity, stereotypes and prejudices; conflict analysis and conflict sensitivity, using a range of interactive methods such as role-plays and group-work.
The training will be rolled out from late this year to local-level government institutions, non-state actors and civil society organizations, and will uniquely be conducted by specially trained government officials, non state actors and civil society representatives themselves.
During the development process of the training, a number of stakeholders were consulted to get feedback on the training modules.
The final consultation, held in October, brought together senior officials from the Ministry of Border Affairs, the majority of whom are Directors from the country’s states and regions.
“We are very happy to collaborate with UNDP and SFCG on this important initiative. I feel that it is very important for government officials working in the different states and regions to understand their roles and responsibilities to foster social cohesion in our country,” said U Zaw Oo, Acting Director General of the Progress of Border Areas and National Races Development Department (NaTala) of the Ministry of Border Affairs.
Sharing his experiences, U Zaw Win Aung, NaTaLa State Director for Kachin State said, “Having participated in the workshop, I realize that it’s important to think about the development work that we do from different angles, for example, how they are contributing to peace or improving human rights. We need more capacity-development programmes like this one.”
The initiative to strengthen social cohesion competencies aims to increase the knowledge and skill levels of government, non-state actors and civil society organizations in Mon, Kayin, Kayah, Kachin, Shan and Chin states, so that they are better able to reflect and act on social cohesion building through their work.
“The training modules have been developed through a bottom-up consultative process with examples and case-studies sourced from the target states to be as applicable as possible. The training activities will be organized in ways that bring government, non-state actors and civil society organizations into common training venues in order to increase the way these local stakeholders interact and work together. Each training participant will also join an inter-state visit where they have the opportunity to build links with government, non-state actors and civil society organizations from another state,” said Dilrukshi Fonseka, UNDP Social Cohesion and Governance Specialist.
As a specific follow-up to the workshop with the Ministry of Border Affairs, UNDP and the Ministry have also agreed to collaborate on a number of future initiatives, including a review of good practices of conflict-sensitive local development activities and an indicator framework for measuring how conflict sensitivity and social cohesion are mainstreamed into local development and poverty eradication programmes.
This work is part of a UNDP programme that covers 316 villages in 25 townships in 07 states in the country. In partnership with over 35 non-governmental organizations, UNDP is supporting the livelihood and social cohesion needs of these communities by providing them with social protection assistance; grants for agriculture, livestock and micro-enterprises; vocational training; community mobilization and training; and infrastructure. The work aims to strengthen community cohesion by reducing socio-economic disparities and vulnerabilities, strengthening community networks and relations and developing institutional capacities for social cohesion responsive development. The work is made possible with funds from Japan, DANIDA and UNDP.