Knowledge for Democracy – Myanmar Initiative
First Annual Report to Global Affairs Canada
12th January 2017 – 31st March 2018

Executive Summary

Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar Initiative [“the Initiative”] is a five-year partnership between Global Affairs Canada and the International Development Research Centre. Signed on 12 January 2017, the Initiative aims to nurture a new generation of young actors – university faculty and students, civil society leaders, think tank researchers, and public officials –, bringing them
together to improve collaboration and to increase the use of research for evidence-based gender transformative economic and democratic policy development.
Over this first reporting period (January 2017-March 2018), the Initiative has mainly focused on setting up programming in Myanmar. Between April and July 2017, it launched three major calls, which served to identify, review and select 15 different projects, involving 29 international, Canadian, and Myanmar partners. By March 2018, the Initiative has spent $1.8 million but has already committed over 60% of the total budget of $10.7 million, supporting:

  • 7 capacity-building projects where ten expert training institutions from Canada and other countries will train and mentor a large and geographically diverse pool of aspiring leaders – the basis of a new generation of state and non-state actors;
  • 3 organizational capacity development projects with three independent think tanks, working on a range of policy issues from economic and peace process to gender and environmental policies;
  • 5 research projects, comprising Myanmar and international experts, to hone local research capacity to fill knowledge gaps around women’s political participation, gender budgeting and public services in Myanmar.

Over the reporting period, the Initiative initiated engagement amongst partners through the Myanmar Lecture Series, the “Inclusive Myanmar” newsletter, and numerous inception workshops in late 2017 in Yangon, including the official launch of the initiative on December 5, 2017.

Key achievements for this period

While the Initiative focused its first year on setting up programming, some initial, encouraging results on the ground have also emerged.

  •  The University of British Columbia conducted the first public policy Summer School at the Yangon University of Economics with 59 students and faculty members over three weeks of training, followed by in-depth mentoring of four faculty and students in Vancouver to familiarize them with the functioning of a modern public policy school.
  •  Parliamentarians and their staff from Shan State – the largest and most diverse state in Myanmar – conducted their first research briefs, with support from the Parliamentary Centre of Canada and the Enlightened Myanmar Research Foundation.
  •  For the first time ever, an international trainer and mentor on quantitative methods from the University of Southern California reached out to 32 researchers at the Myanmar Development Institute and technical government officials in Nay Pyi Taw.