In order to protect and strengthen the civic space and the resilience of civil society beyond the timespan of the DEALS Pathein project, it was crucial to support the survival of civic space, as well as the overall resilience of civil society. This included providing support for organisations and individuals who contribute to positive political and social change in Myanmar. It included promoting the increased participation and leadership of female, youth, and ethnic minorities within the civic space as well.
In Pathein a network of ten like-minded CSOs (Civil Society Organisations – in this case a mix of formal an informal groups) was established. The CSOs were asked which capacities they wanted to expand. A mix of soft-skills and technical waste- and water skills was the answer. The project developed a capacity building trajectory but established a learning and exchange network as well. This network proved to be the cornerstone of the capacity trajectory.
There were three sessions moderated by our gender and social inclusion expert and city focal person (CFP). Between those sessions the CSOs received assignments to set up sustainable waste strategies and learn from (international) examples. In the first session trust was established among the CSOs and slowly but surely, the mobile app became very active among the participants. The CSOs asked for ideas and help on development of their plans. The second session was themed inclusive participation in service delivery. The international examples of the DEALS Pereira project presented by Felipe Velasquez were listened to with rapt attention. The CSOs had ample questions, and therefore the session took longer than anticipated and not even all questions could be addressed. The final session was much attended; the participants shared what they learned the past months and what they will do continue their work in the future regarding waste management and awareness. One of the successes is that all CSOs presented their plan explicitly focusing on the gender aspects of the activities.
Thus, how did we try to ensure continuation of the activities and developments brought into action during the course of project? Firstly, by ensuring we worked based on the actual needs of the stakeholders. These needs shifted during the course of the project, mainly due to covid-19 and the coup. Secondly, by creating this network that will continue to exist after the 31st of August. Hereby, we have tried to embed knowledge and skills that equip these young advocates, help them to respond to the actual and unpredictable situation, and thereby be more effective in supporting the people in Myanmar.