What we do

Many countries we work in are fragile democracies suffering from political instability, conflict and uncertainty, so flexibility is key to NIMD’s work. Being prepared to adapt swiftly to changing circumstances is crucial in the planning of all our programmes, and the safety and security of our colleagues and partners is our most important consideration.

This flexibility was called for in Myanmar, when in February 2021 the military deposed the elected government, stalling a gradual process of democratization that had begun a decade earlier.

NIMD has been active in Myanmar since 2014, running democracy education courses and dialogue sessions. This work was disrupted by the coup, but Myanmar continues to be a vital country in our network, and we are currently exploring new solutions to continue our work with Myanmar’s political and civic actors.

Democracy Education

Myanmar is home to more than 130 different ethnic groups, spread across a diverse geographical terrain where some groups have been engaged in prolonged conflict with the Myanmar military, and deep fault lines define the political landscape in Myanmar.

Breaking down this polarization and creating a more open and inclusive political space in Myanmar has been a key goal of NIMD. To work towards achieving this, we held intensive, month-long democracy education retreats at secluded locations as part of a joint programme with Demo Finland.

Attendees came from the across political and ethnic divides, and they studied together in a neutral, respectful, multiparty setting. Creating this shared experience helped participants overcome pre-conceptions about each other, laying the groundwork for greater co-operation and dialogue in the future.

Women’s Political Participation

Gender equality and women’s participation are central to NIMD’s Myanmar programme, and female politicians constituted a large proportion of the democracy education alumni.

All our programming in Myanmar aims to create a conducive environment for women’s full and meaningful inclusion in political and decision-making processes.

Building the skills and capacity of women in politics in Myanmar is crucial given their role in peace-building and bringing communities together in spaces of prolonged conflict.

Meet the Team

Htet Oo Wai
Myanmar Country Director
Htet Oo Wai is the Country Director for NIMD Myanmar.
Femke Lee
Programme & Knowledge Advisor
Femke Lee is the focal point in The Hague working with the Myanmar team. Femke has been with NIMD since 2019, and previously worked a Chief Technical Advisor for UNDP and a Senior Parliamentary Officer at the Natural Resource Governance Institute. With over 15 years of experience, Femke has strong expertise in the field of democratic governance, parliamentary capacity-building, political party development, and dialogue.

Who We Work With

NIMD's work in Myanmar is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the LEAP4Peace and Power of Dialogue programmes. The LEAP4Peace consortium is made up of NIMD, the Burundi Leadership Training Program, the Gender Equality Network Myanmar, and Gender Action for Peace and Security, and supports women so they can play a meaningful role in political leadership, conflict resolution, and peace building.
Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through Demo Finland, also funds NIMD's Power of Dialogue work in Myanmar. The Power of Dialogue programme seeks to enhance collaboration of political and civic actors to participate in accountable political processes.