Cablegate: Burma Hrdf Grant Proposals

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 79965


1. (U) Embassy Rangoon submits the four proposals described
below in response to reftel request for projects promoting
democracy and human rights. The projects were chosen because
they directly support U.S. goals in Burma in regard to
strengthening civil society and democratic principles. They
are small projects which bolster the efforts of local
organizations to instill and nurture critical thinking,
freedom of expression, and, ultimately, self-determination in
a society where these practices have been almost eliminated
by 40 years of harsh military rule. Three projects focus on
ethnic minority groups while one would work with youth
located in Rangoon. All are grassroots projects with
potential for long-term benefits beyond HRDF resources.


2. (SBU) Because the military government attempts to closely
control the activities of all organizations in the country
and is suspicious of the motives behind any Western funding,
these projects will require careful implementation to avoid
endangering the local organizations. While Embassy
representatives will be able to occasionally visit the
organizations or project sites in conjunction with general
Embassy business, and the organizations will be able to
provide full accounting for all funding, any overt
acknowledgement of the projects as State Department funded
activities could jeopardize the local organizations. For
this same reason, funding would have to be disbursed in cash
rather than bank transfers (which are monitored).

3. (U) Please direct any questions on the proposals or
logistical arrangements to the Embassy point of contact:
Political Officer John Haynes. The proposals have been sent
by e-mail to EAP/BCLTV, Burma Desk.

4. (SBU) Begin text of proposals:


Background: The Metta and Shalom Foundations (local NGO's)
recently formed the Ethnic Mediators Fellowship (EMF) ) a
group of 25 key persons from various ethnic groups who are
directly involved in political mediation in Burma. These
individuals are involved in facilitating dialogue within
their own ethnic groups in order to develop a greater sense
of unity and common vision. The EMF is a key group
strategically placed to support dialogue within ethnic groups
and collaborative efforts across ethnic lines. Though the
overall EMF group is currently being provided with training
and consultations, individual ethnic teams are often
underfunded and unable to move the dialogue process forward
within their own ethnic group.

Goal: Enhance and encourage the dialogue processes within
three ethnic groups by assisting with the logistical expenses
of the mediator teams.

Budget: $15,000 for one year.

Expected Outcome: Three ethnic groups will have planned and
conducted dialogue sessions within their ethnic communities.
The experience gained from these dialogue sessions will
inform the groups, thinking about future processes and will
assist in establishing dialogue as a means by which conflict
can be addressed.


Background: Few opportunities exist in Burma for youth to
develop the requisite skills to be productive members of a
functioning democracy. The formal education program uses only
rote memorization and few models exist which promote critical
thinking skills. Though the formal educational system has
been constrained by the military government policies of the
past 40 years, informal mechanisms exist to build these
capabilities. One such possibility is through the summer
youth camps conducted by private cultural, social, and
religious groups. These youth camps already teach ethnic
minority languages, art, music, and other activities. A group
of motivated individuals can supplement the existing programs
with approaches which enhance creativity and critical
thinking skills. Assistance is needed, however, in developing
a curricula and training an initial group of teachers to
pilot such a program.

Goal: Enhance the creative, critical thinking, and
communication skills of youth.

Budget: $10,000 for one year.

Expected Outcome: Curricula will have been developed, 5
teachers will have been trained, and the curricula tested
during the March - May 2004 school holiday.


Background: There has been growing interest by civic
organizations in Burma who are looking for ways to implement
a non-formal civic education curriculum in boarding hostels,
vocational training programs, summer camp and school
programs, as well as other venues. The program desired would
teach students about self-governance and participation,
conflict resolution, respect for diversity and social
The Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT) would like to better
develop a civic education curriculum that was developed in
the late 1990,s, implemented by the Kachin Baptist
Convention (KBC). This curriculum continues to be used in
the KBC,s boarding hostels around the country. MIT proposes
to build upon the KBC,s civic education curriculum, and make
it more broadly available for use by other groups and in
other settings. This will require a review of the curriculum
and its adaptation to other cultural settings.

MIT has the ability to provide the monitoring, reporting and
accounting required for this project, as well as to provide
staff to implement the technical aspects of this project, in
conjunction with other resources available in the community.

Goal: Revise and update a civic education curriculum and
make it available for use in multiple, non-formal education
settings in Burma.

Budget: $10,000 for one year.


Background: The Karen Development Committee (KDC) is an
unofficially organized, nationwide group of Karen community
members who are actively supporting and undertaking programs
for the social and political development of all Karen people
in Burma. KDC membership draws from all the major regions
where Karen people live, as well as all the ethnic subgroups,
and religious backgrounds.

Objectives: During 2003-4, the KDC is forming chapters in
the five geographic regions where Karen people are
concentrated, and is seeking financial assistance to
undertake the objectives of:

-- Planning and establishing the KDC regional networks of
people in these areas to undertake social organizing,
encourage dialogue between intra-ethnic factions, and
implement development projects; and

-- Conducting workshops in the regions on topics which could
include social organizing; civic education; peace education;
planning for development projects; the faces of power; and
women and development.

The Karen Development Committee has the capacity to provide
for accounting, monitoring and reporting for the use of any
funds received.

Budget: US$15,000 is requested for one year.

End text of proposals.

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