In the Mon State of Myanmar, political differences between Mon and Burmese military authorities persist despite the 1995 cease-fire. More than 200,000 Mon fled the continuing instability there and now struggle to feed themselves and their families under trying conditions in border areas. Cross-border migrants like these typically live in fear, worried about being exposed to authorities and anxious about food security and income generation. Health issues including drainage of household water and the management of waste are overtaken by a preoccupation with survival.
ICTs for Participatory Health and Livelihood Skills Training is a pilot project designed to harness new digital camera technologies to help cross-border migrants learn basic health and livelihood skills that can improve their well-being even under the harsh realities stateless migrant experience. Community-based facilitators are taught how to lead interactive group discussions among marginally-literate neighbors and friends. Each target population learns how to critically assess local health and livelihood practices while collaboratively constructing their own models of best practices.
Using Participatory Video Editing, group facilitators capture raw digital video footage of poor health and livelihood practices to stimulate collaborative development of improved practices. Through an iterative process, poor practices are gradually edited out and improved practices edited in resulting in local models of best practices that incorporate the insights of the full range of stakeholders. The twelve video modules developed under the pilot will be produced and distributed as a set of Video CDs (VCDs) to facilitate the exchange of these best practice results across the participating target populations.
In addition to the Mon and Karen migrants in the border areas of Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi provinces, the target populations include Burmese migrants working in the seafood plants of Mahachai in Samut Sakhon province, Laotian migrants crossing the Mekong at Khong Jiam in Ubon Ratchanthani province, and crossborder Khmu and Hmong along the border between Laos and the Han province of Thailand.
This one-year activity is funded by USAID under the dot-EDU cooperative agreement that seeks to strengthen education and learning systems through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The project is being implemented with collaboration from a network of local NGOs that includes the Pattanarak Foundation, the Raks Thai Foundation, the Mon Relief and Development Committee. Hands on activities related to specific health and livelihood themes are being carried out by these local implementing partners with support from other donors. Education Development Center and Academy for Education Development are jointly administering the activity.
Core funding for the DOT-COM Alliance is provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture & Trade, Office of Infrastructure and Engineering (EGAT/OI&E), Office of Education (EGAT/ED), and Office of Women in Development (EGAT/WID), under the terms of Award numbers: GDG-A-00-01-00009-00, dot-GOV; GDG-A-00-01-00014-00, dot-ORG; GDG-A-00-01-00011-00, dot-EDU.