Election Reporting Training
Election reporting training to the media aims to empower the media with specialized tools and skills on documentation, reporting and monitoring of the different aspects of the current political process in Myanmar leading up to the 2015 general elections and beyond. Anfrel has already conducted two trainings targeting media groups in Chin, Yangon, Mandalay, Kachin, Sagaing, Shan, Thanintharyi and Bago. Each training brings reporters, editors and journalists from different media organizations from above mentioned States/Regions including ethnic media of Myanmar. Anfrel will deliver three more election reporting trainings to the media personnel from other States/Regions so that there will be election reporters to monitor and report about upcoming 2015 elections throughout Myanmar.
The components of the training consist of the following: 1) introduction to electoral cycle and elements of elections 2) monitoring and reporting for different stages of elections 3) Basic principles for reliable media and 4) Voters’ Voice reporting. The training was delivered using different methodologies including case studies drawn from local context and Asian countries which have political and cultural similarities. The interactive session between the media and the invited CSOs representatives provide the media personnel the chance to know the election monitoring plans of CSOs and to exchange electoral knowledge and experiences.
This provision of technical skills to the media, which we hope, will result in a better-trained and more professional media that is equipped with specialized skills, which is highlighted by the quality of reports filed by the trainees in their news media following the trainings. Anfrel plans to provide five election reporting trainings in preparing the media for 2015 elections and below is the finished and anticipated timeline of the media training.
Election Monitoring Training
Election Monitoring training is a component of our Capacity Building Program for the Media and the Civil Society whereas EM training focused on professionalizing the skills of civil society in observing the upcoming 2015 elections and beyond taking an electoral cycle approach. The aims is to increase awareness of all important developments pertaining to the electoral process from electoral reforms to monitoring the elections among CSOs and CBOs. Anfrel believes that having professional and skillful citizen observers and citizen election monitoring organizations will help ensure the elections free and fair.
The target participants of this training were largely selected from local NGOs and CBOs from ethnic areas. Election Monitoring training curriculum consists of what is election, how to monitor election, universal principles respecting elections and human rights, election monitoring methodologies and reporting checklists. Anfrel conducts training using its own developed election monitoring handbook. This handbook was designed for anyone who are interested to involve in any stage of the electoral process to be able to understand all election related information.
TOT-Follow up support Training
Notwithstanding that ANFRELcontinues to provide technical assistance to CSOs in Myanmar to become Trainers (termed as “Master” or “Level 1” Trainers) by providing them the requisite knowledge, skills, tools on election observation and reporting, a major concern is the limited funding available to a number of CSOs to transfer the knowledge they gain through the Level 1 trainings. Besides limited funding to many of these CSOs that are mostly based in the states and regions (districts and twonships) their inability to organise Training of Trainers (TOTs) on their own and lack of proper communication with Yangon based CSOs has been a major factor limiting the spread of election observation knoweldge in the twonships and villages.
The good news though is that a generous support from the SWISS Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (acting through the Swiss Embassy), has enabled ANFREL to provide TOT-follow-up support for CSOs to conduct a TOT (level 2) training wherein local trainers who have been trained by experts will now conduct trainings for their members (election monitors, volunteers etc). The aim is to reach out to more CSOs and community based organisationswho have plans to monitoring the elections.We hope that this small initiative will provide the much-needed impetus to people that are interested and committed to monitor the elections following a very systematic plan and by registering themselves as observers with the election commission.
There is a great need to equip “election monitors” with technical knowledgeso that they fully understand about the electoral processes and the need to abide by the code of conduct that has been recently drafted. In this way, there will be a positive growth in the number of citizen election monitors, volunteers or election monitoring trainers which will help to bring about a meaningful participation in the electoral process by voters as this would only increase their confidence in the overall conduct of the process.
Interactive Forum on Election Reporting and Observation
The aim of the interactive forum is primarily to facilitate the strength of communications and the creation of platform for improved conversations and shared values about elections among the media, CSOs and Union Election Commission. The first forum was launched on January 24, 2015 at Myanmar Journalist Network following the trainings which is an initiative to develop the capacities of citizen monitoring groups and journalists in preparation for 2015 elections.
The second forum was organized on 7th February which featured a panel by four speakers: U MyintKyaw of Myanmar Press Council, U ZayarHlaing of The Chronicle and a member of the Myanmar Journalists Network (MJN), Daw Win ZarniAung of MNTV and U AungThuraTun of Mizzima Publications. The latter two speakers were participants of Anfrel’s “Media Reporting Training” delivered in PyinOoLwin, Mandalay. The forum attracted quite a number of participants from different media organizations and local CSOs. Anfrel will be organizing it by twice a month, featuring different topics but all related to elections.
Nationwide election observation is one of the core activities of Anfrel foundation in the Asia Pacific Region. Anfrel is going to observe the 2015 elections of Myanmar. Anfrel’s long term observer experts from Asia Pacific Region will involve in this observation mission and we will also cooperate with local election observers who we have been working together in previous elections and we have been trained.