NIMD COUNTRY PROGRAMME
Myanmar

Myanmar’s political background

Since 2011, Myanmar has gradually been returning to civilian rule, cumulating in historic nationwide elections held on November 8th, 2015, and the subsequent installation of new parliaments 3 months later. Over the past few years, a series of social and economic reforms were launched in Myanmar, opening up the country to the global community after a long period of isolation. At the same time, the country is still trying to end conflict with some of its numerous ethnic groups.

The approach of NIMD in Myanmar

Together with Demo Finland, NIMD started working in Myanmar in 2014. The programme in Myanmar has two key aims. The first is to help the politicians from all the political parties to enhance their knowledge and skills for working in a democracy. The second is to develop the practice of collaboration by enhancing the practice of multiparty dialogue.

The programme works on both of these aims by running the Myanmar School of Politics (MySoP), an intensive retreat lasting up to one month, held at a secluded location. During MySoP, politicians from different parties discuss and learn together in a neutral, respectful, multiparty setting. MySoP’s three interrelated components are:

  • Core courses: intensive, 20-day learning retreats aimed at improving politicians’ capacities and political engagement
  • Alumni activities: long weekends where core course alumni gather to further increase their knowledge and capacity on the issues of programmatic parties, intraparty democracy, and dialogue
  • Multiparty dialogue platforms: facilitated dialogue cycles designed to enhance the practice of multiparty dialogue and to find new approaches to state- and region-level challenges and opportunities

Since 2014, these schools have been held for leadership level politicians from Shan State, Mon State, Kayin State, Kayah State and Tanintharyi Division. Read more about MySoP here.

Bram Steenhuisen is Demo Finland’s and NIMD’s Country Representative in Myanmar. In an interview with Demo Finland he gives an insight into the school’s activities.

Related publications:

In addition to creating their own study materials, MySoP has also translated and distributed a number of publications in order to further assist with intraparty learning:

better-politician Becoming a Better Politician (Myanmar version, translated by the Myanmar School of Politics)
Click here for the original English version by the Max van der Stoel Foundation

gender-equality Politics Meets Policies: The Emergence of Programmatic Political Parties (Myanmar version, translated by the Myanmar School of Politics)
Click here for the original English version by International IDEA

gender-equality Gender equality within political parties and women’s cross-party cooperation (Myanmar version, translated by the Myanmar School of Politics)
Click here for the original English version by Demo Finland

storytelling Three lessons in storytelling (Myanmar version, translated by the Myanmar School of Politics)
Click here for the original English version by Jon Favreau