Evaluating the “Bridge to Safe Migration” Cross Border Project in Kengtung, Eastern Shan State
On 22-24 December 2016, the MAP Foundation’s cross border project held a network meeting with community based organizations in Keng Tung Township, Eastern Shan State, Myanmar. The meeting was organized in partnership between MAP’s team and Mawk Kon organization, the local partner in Keng Tung.
On the first day, 22 December 2016, the MAP Foundation had a meeting with Mawk Kon, the local coordinating partner, to review and evaluate the project over the past 18 months. Nang Voe Phart, Mawkkon’s Director, said “There are now 10 organizations in our network from different ethnic groups such as Kachin, Ann, Wa, Lahu, Palaung and Shan. These organizations became a network when they joined the series of safe migration TOT workshops and gained valuable knowledge on safe migration. The issue of migration brought them together for the first time. Participants felt confident and motivated by the trainings, and immediately went into their communities and shared their knowledge. Now there is information available to those who are planning to migrate to Thailand or China on what they have to prepare before they move to the host countries.”
On the second day, 23 December 2016, the meeting included 7 of the partner organizations, with 23 people participating in the meeting. There were some scheduling conflicts so all partners could not attend. Those who were present included Kachin Group, Than Lwin Thitsar, Tai Youth Organization, Thu Ta Da Na Knowledge Development Social Organization, Myit Tar Sanyae Organization, Mawk Kon Organization, and MAP Foundation. The objective of the network meeting was to review the project regarding the assessment, TOT trainings, the Information Center and networking in Tachileik, and identify future plans.
The last day, on 24 December 2016, the objective of the meeting was to have a “closing” exchange about the project between CSOs and Government Organization (GOs). The project presented the outcomes of the activities to the government, and then the two groups respectively identified plans on how to continue to promote safe migration. There were 38 people in attendance, including Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) from Keng Tung and Tachilek, as well as government agencies. The government agencies had participated in the opening Stakeholders meeting at the beginning of the project providing “closure” on this phase of the project. Government agencies included Social Protections and Welfare, the Anti-trafficking office, the Immigration office, Passport authority, Tachilek Municipal Authority, and the Employment Office Keng Tung. The government showed willingness to continue to cooperate and admitted it had shortcomings in reaching people with important information about migration.
Mr. Thein Naing Oo, the Passport Department said “We don’t have an education project to provide citizens with information about passports. It is a good idea to distribute brochure to local people, but it’s hard for them to read.”
As a result of the planning session, in 2017, CBOs and GOs identified strategies to give education to the community about migration policies and the process of obtaining and using a passport. This includes targeted outreach campaigns and ongoing technical support to groups in Keng Tung, expanding networks into other parts of Shan State, and building the nascent network in Tachilek.