View from the Ground

Discretion. Resilience. Toughness.

These are the qualities proving invaluable to groups working for human rights, inclusion and justice as Myanmar navigates increased ethnic tension, an uncertain political future, a deluge of foreign investment, and the displacement of thousands.

The quasi-democratic, still military-controlled government of Myanmar is targeting progressive leaders, including grantees of Partners Asia whose names we are omitting to protect their identity, with imprisonment and harassment. Influenced by fundamentalist groups, the government is also implementing an intolerant legislative agenda, and recently passed discriminatory “Race and Religion Protection Laws”. The laws restrict interfaith marriage, force people to seek government approval before converting religions, and “organize” family planning with a 36-month birth spacing stipulation.

These un-democratic policies and tactics threaten the openness and progress that has been made over the past few years in Myanmar, and the weeks and months following the election promise to be volatile and dangerous.

Your support as a donor for ground-up solutions through Partners Asia’s flexible and immediate funding programs will be integral for progressive groups’ ability to impact their country’s future.

Another Way to Help: Partners Asia Leadership Fund

As announced in our Summer Newsletter, Partners Asia is excited to launch our Leadership Fund—expressly initiated to develop first-, second-, and third-tiers of leaders in rural and ethnic communities in Myanmar and support them in this difficult environment.

Through the 15 grants awarded in the pilot phase ($80,000 total), this program has already aided 420 people in advocacy, campaigning, social media messaging, and organizational management, providing them with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and networks they need.

We are asking donors who are interested to provide a three year commitment, with the goal of raising $75,000 per year ($225,000 total) to support grantees from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds. Our Leadership Fund will seek to identify and empower local leaders to build lasting, positive change in their communities, while advocating for systemic changes. By focusing on rural and ethnic communities, we can ensure that national reform extends beyond the cities and the elite few. Find out more.

“My goal is to become a journalist in order to participate in the process of history, bring truth to the people, and become a voice of the voiceless” — Leadership Fund grant recipient