Advocacy Training and Study Trip in Thailand
Phoe Thaike youth from Myanmar, supported by TDH-G
I joined advocacy training at Earth Right School with earth right students and Mekong youth who from different regions. We studied about Campaign and Advocacy. Our resource person was very nice, she comes from Malaysia, her name is Debbie. I learned a lot of important things from this training. I would to talk about what I have learned from this training.
When we do advocacy we must think about our audiences. Who are our audiences (our target). What is connection between the problem and the audience? The people are what effect suffering on this situation. What is our audience’s interest on problem? We need to know and we need to ask our-self before we make campaign and advocacy. When we implement our campaign, we have to use our Head and our Heart.
Information and data
Before we do anything, we need to be sure of our evidences against large-scale projects. We need to collect more and more information and data. And then, we have to share to the community that information and to make them participate in our campaign. Almost all of the local people don’t know about long-term impacts. So, we must show what long-term impact from large scale development project is. Information and data are the most important when we initiative campaign and advocacy.
The core message is very important and this is the foundation of advocacy work. Our message is must be effective with our core value and the solution that we want to see in the future. Then, the message have to be short and sharp. Do not break the message by our-self. We always have to keep and take care our message.
Solution and Risk
We always say that this is our problem, this is the cause. We also have to talk about solution. How to solve the problem we are facing? Which approach should we use to solve the problem? After that, we must do something. If we don’t do anything for that we can forget easily what we want to change. It is not enough to talk, we have to act. When we do action we need to do technically (for example…EIA, SIA and HIA). Another one is that we always have to think about the potential risks when we do a campaign. We must manage our risk. We don’t have to be afraid and run away.
Lobby, TV interview and press conference
I have learned about lobbying, TV interview and press conference. I know when to lobby, do TV interview and press conference, what we should do and what we should not. We need to talk about the key points during the few minutes we get. We also need to use body language.
During the training I participated with other Mekong Youth and EarthRight school students and, together, we made some action and we created a song (Cancel Dam). It was very stimulating and I’d say “I was a happy time”. And then I went to the Salween Conference. I got many information regarding with the Salween river and we did an action in there as youth group.
During the study trip we went to the southern part of Thailand. We studied at four places, Map Ta Put, Laem Chabang, Ban Krut and Bo Nok. We studied about their campaign against the industrial zone (coal power plant),the Deep seaport and what is are their achievements and what are their difficulties during their campaign. Firstly, we went to Map Ta Put. We studied about the impact from the industrial zone and about their community leader. And then we visited an industrial Zone. Secondly, we went to Bam Chabang. We studied about their research and their campaign in there. They got a victory from their campaign by collecting many information and data. They made sure of their evidences. And then we went Ban Krut and BO Nok. We studied about more campaign. What is their strategy when did they made campaign. How they collect information and why they got victorious. We studied both violent campaign and non-violent campaign in there. We know about their difficulties. Some people are had to go to jail and some people were killed. But they did not give up their mind (to protect their community). We saw very strong community and very active community leaders.
We also did some action for Child protection. We did poster, big sign and created song. And we did our action at the deep seaport and industrial zone and we made a video. It was very exciting for me.
I learned a lot of things from advocacy training and field trip. Some knowledge and information might be used in Myanmar. But we don’t have a strong community. Our community is very weak. Almost everybody is still afraid to fight against to government. So, I need to build strong community first base on my experiences from the training and field trip. According to the presentation during the field trip, some campaigns not take place in my country because we are in a democratic transitional period now. But in this period, the governments try to build a dam and a sea port throughout the country. This training and field trip were very supporting for me and my country so we can try to do campaign and to advocate to our government. Also I learned about what problems people are facing in other countries and how they trying to solve them. I was happy to share about my country’s problems about youth from Mekong regions.