A combined training on ethnic unity, leadership and relief took place in the Shan State of Burma from August to September 2006. The seminar and training integrated practical humanitarian relief, medical services and care, reporting, ethnic unity, leadership, capacity building and advocacy.
Eight multi-ethnic teams – Shan and Kachin – along with Shan, Karenni and Karen instructors completed the training and are now in the field on relief missions. The training focused on training ethnic teams to bring help, hope and love to the people of Burma, especially to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The eight teams (5 persons each) participated in the seminar, trainings and follow on relief missions. The purpose of the Unity seminar and leadership training was to further understanding and unity among young ethnic leaders, to raise issues of concern and to develop leadership among the participants. The training was organized by the Restoration Council of the Shan State (RCSS) and facilitated by the Free Burma Rangers (FBR). The teams will operate as humanitarian relief teams in their areas.
The teams received training in leadership, conflict resolution, governmental systems, ethnic issues, public health, first aid, advanced medical and basic dental care, human rights interviewing and documentation, reporting, counseling, video and still camera, map and compass, land navigation, sketching, rope bridge building, river crossing techniques, security, solar power, communications, planning, operation orders, history of ethnic nationalities of Burma and the National Democratic Front, physical training and two field training exercises.
The ethnic unity seminar covered topics of ethnic history, democracy, federalism, unity and reconciliation and cooperation and coordination with the Burman pro-democracy groups. It served to raise issues of importance to the ethnic peoples of Burma Leadership and help them to deal with these issues in a constructive manner. Training focusing on the model of servant leadership and with a goal of strengthening civil society was provided for the participants.
Each team counselor was trained in public health, women and child issues, the Good Life Club mother and child assistance program, as well as procedures and techniques in counseling people who have been traumatized. This was done with the help of a team from Partners (PRD).
The training culminated in a field training exercise to test the teams in every area of their training. This exercise was conducted using an IDP scenario with multiple stations to which the students had to navigate and complete the assigned tasks. This was conducted under pressure, over difficult terrain with multiple river crossings and no food or sleep. Every team successfully completed all tasks.
The teams were then supplied and went on a real relief mission to provide assistance to Shan IDPs and were accompanied by the instructors for feedback and evaluation. They were very well received by the local Shan population, treated over 400 patients and produced reports on the humanitarian situation as well as the human rights violations of the Burma Army. Since narcotics is a major problem in the area where they conducted the mission, they also made a report that covered that issue. (Please see www.freeburmarangers.org ).
Upon completion of that mission the teams returned to the training area and received additional training.
Upon graduation each team was equipped with enough medicine and medical supplies to treat 2,000 IDPs, Good Life Club packs for children, clothing for IDPs, toys, and sporting equipment.
They then graduated and each team is now on 2-3 month relief missions to help the people in the Shan State. Upon completion of these missions, each team will send a completed report and relevant relief, human rights, medical or other information will be passed on to the appropriate organizations. The teams will be evaluated, retrained in needed areas, re-supplied and then sent on to the next relief mission.
We would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of this training, especially the RCSS, KNU, KNPP, KNO and PRD.
May God bless you,
The Free Burma Rangers