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What We Are Learning

Since Myanmar’s opening it has become the subject of numerous reports by international experts seeking to understand the vicissitudes of life through different theoretical frameworks – political economy being the most prevalent. These reports are valid and helpful, but they are rarely published in Myanmar languages, and local people rarely have access to those that are.

Partners Asia believes that the people of Myanmar are best placed to understand the situation for themselves and others in their country. In our work with grantees, we find that people have a thirst to understand and be able to explain their situation within these frameworks, and to make this information accessible to a non-Myanmar audience.

To this end, we have promoted the use of Participatory Action Learning (PAL) among and between part organizations. PAL is a self-reflective process where local researchers draw on their lived experiences to understand and find ways to address the unique challenges facing their community. Ultimately, PAL aims to be an empowering process allowing local people to become respected researchers in their own fields while giving them increased control over lives.

Partners Asia has supported PAL research trainings with over 50 local participants in Myanmar and Thailand. Participants learned such data collection methods as in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and rapid assessment activities, which they then used to conduct research in their respective communities. Upon completion of data collection, these local researchers convened at a PA-hosted forum to present their findings and provide feedback to their colleagues.

PAL work we have supported thus far includes:
1. research on children not in school
2. research by Land In Our Hands into land grabbing nationally
3. research on children living with disabilities
4. research on the situation in IDP camps in Kachin State by the Kachin Development Group

We have been asked to provide financial and technical assistance to a number of other grantees hoping to conduct similar work in the future. For this, we require donations and a pool of committed individuals with research experience who can work with groups on each project. Linking funding to expertise is a key part of this work.

In this section, you will find links to reports that have been finished, some that are in process and other reports that have been undertaken in a similar way by close partners. Information about PA supported research will be updated regularly to this site.