Nang Saw, Director of ROAD, who is working to bring communities together to better understand one another and how they can more effectively support the peace process.
Supporting communities support peace
The JPF talks to Nang Saw, Director of Remove Obstructions Against Democratization (ROAD) about her project to build an inter-regional community network in support of Myanmar’s peace process.
“If you ask someone about what peace is,” says Nang Saw, “the first thing that pops into their head is a picture of EAOs or Tatmadaw. But it’s much more than that. We all have our role to play.”
For two years Nang Saw, the Director of Remove Obstructions Against Democratization (ROAD) has been planning a project where she can bring communities together and help train them on the positive role they can play in supporting peace in Myanmar. In October 2017, she signed a grant with the Joint Peace Fund, to enable her to do just that.
“I’ve facilitated many forums and workshops related to peace and from this I’ve realized the importance of helping people become aware of the important role they themselves can play in supporting the peace process, as members of the community,” says Nang Saw.
The project, which is called “Peace Circle”, is taking place in two states hundreds of miles apart - Mon and Kachin. The aim of Peace Circle is to establish networks across regions that can build a common set of understanding between different ethnic groups through sharing lessons learned in peace and conflict. The project is focused on areas where conflict has been intense and where the voices of minority groups often struggle to be heard. The project aims to benefit leaders, with at least 40 per cent of participants being youth and women from marginalized communities. Nang Saw says: “We are selecting those who are interested in the peace process. After completing the training, I hope they will be equipped to move forward in playing their role in supporting it.”
ROAD will conduct training activities and workshops in each project area. After this, they will organize a three-day forum in Yangon with representatives from the different projects, in order for them to share views on issues, experiences and potential solutions they’ve found in their work on peace. “It’ll also be an opportunity for communities from different areas to build a relationship and network with one another,” says Nang Saw, adding that she has ambitions to keep extending this network which is supporting peace. “Once this initial project is successful my hope is we can extend this project into a nationwide network.”