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The Voices of Nam Khone Citizens

Organization Mong Pan Youth Association
Name Nang Shining
Grant JPY 400,000

Strategic meeting with youth member

Screening event

Research Background

Currently, the Mong Ton dam project is proposed to be built on the mainstream of Nam Khone international river which is only 33 Kilometers from Mong Pan. The river is known as Nu in China, Salween in Thailand, Thanlwin in Myanmar and Nam Khone in Shan State, Myanmar. It is the largest dam project proposed on the Nam Khone River. Because of the proposed Mong Ton dam, as many as 300,000 people in the surrounding area in Shan State have already been forced to relocate to other places (Salween Watch). Massive human rights violations have already been involved in the preliminary stage of project planning. Furthermore as Myanmar opens up to investment there will be many more large scale development projects happening not only in Shan State but across the country. There is a serious need for the community to aware the impacts of the dams, on the other hand the relevant stakeholders also should have heard the concerns and the voices of the communities from the grassroots people in order to have a better decision for the sustainable development and justice to the people. In order to address these concerns, Mong Pan Youth Association (MPYA) will do the video documentation and collect the concerns and the voices of the people who have potentially to be affected by the Mong Ton Dam project. The ultimate goal of the video documentation on the “The Voices of the Nam Khone Citizens” is to reveal the findings to the relevant stakeholders for equitable development, peace and the participation of citizens from grassroots and marginalized communities in decision making processes by using video as a tool to send the message across to the decision makers. The project will document along the Nam Khone/ Thanlwin River Basin especially in the three areas: Mong Pan, Mong Ton and Khun Haeng. This research project also hopes that it will pave a good foundation for the youths from MPYA to do research and a bridge for them to connect working across with other townships for their campaign movements. It is also hoped that the Thanwin river networks will grow bigger through connecting different communities those have common ground, through community mapping activities, and exchange information during the field research. [Sep.2016]

Final Report (abstract)

Our participatory research-documentation named “The Voices of Nam Khone” was made in two parts. One part of research-documentation was done in Mong Pan and Mong Ton townships the downstream of the Than Lwin River basin/Nam Khone River basin and the second part of the film was done in Kun Heng township (one-thousand islands) which is the upstream of the river, which supported by Takagi fund. This report covers the project activities funded by The Takagi Fund for Citizen Science from January to June 2016. From 12-16 January 2016, Mong Pan Youth Association (MPYA) took a field trip to Kun Heng township, Southern Shan State which has potential to be flooded by the mega hydropower project named Mong Ton dam. 12 members of MPYA including Sein Lin (Director) of the “the Voices of Nam Khone” joined the trip to learn the livelihood of local people living along the Nam Pang (tributary of Nam Khone River) and to learn if the villagers access information related to the dam project which will harm to their livelihood when the dam is built. By taking youths to the field tirp, they learn what is participatory resarch and they were able to collect their own data to contribute to the video documentation. One among of 11 youths has been selected to be the main character of the film. Through her participantion, we learnt that she advances her public speaking through interviewing and presenting her findings and dealing with many people at different levels throughout project. From 14-19 June 2016, the 20 mins long video documentary named “The Voices of Nam Khone” was featured at the Human Rights and Human Dignity Film Festival in Yangon. From 24-26 June 2016, the documentary film festival and photo exhibation was done in two places of Kun Heng township to potential affected communites. This research proejct is very useful to Mong Pan Youth Association as many youth members were able to do research together with researcher and film maker along the Thanlwin River Basin. Through the research processes the members of youths were able to develop their own research design, research question, interviewing processes, video shooting and video editing. This research documentation used primary data through interviewing with communities living along the Than Lwin River/Nam Khone river basin who have potential to be affected by the proposed Mong Ton dam project. The primary research was condcuted by Sein Lin and youth members and field interviews were in Shan language. All information collected from the field was documented with video devices and final output of the reaserch is published as video documentation with Burmese and English subtitle. [Mar.2017]