DRI has been active in Myanmar since 2013. Collaborating with diverse stakeholders, DRI focuses on key issues in the electoral framework and constitution that underpin the democratic reform process and are vital to a sustainable transition. DRI provides on-demand expertise and comparative knowledge about democratisation and constitutional reform processes, offering key civil society actors informed options for democratic reform and the strengthening of civic engagement in the broader transition process. DRI’s work helps to strengthen the capacity of national civil society organisations and empower them to act as strong advocates for reform. By bringing together civil society and key decision-makers, DRI contributes to an open, collaborative debate about constitutional and electoral process and facilitates conflict transformation.
Support to Electoral Processes and Democracy – STEP Democracy
To facilitate an effective transition towards a deeper democracy in Myanmar, DRI works within a consortium of international and local organisations that support reforms related to elections and broader democratic processes. Funded by the European Union, the STEP consortium pursues a comprehensive approach to Myanmar’s democratic transition, engaging with diverse stakeholders, including the Union Election Commission, parliamentarians, political parties and civil society.
In the lead up to and during Myanmar’s watershed 2015 General Election, DRI teamed up with the Myanmar Institute for Democracy to successfully establish a media monitoring unit and produce regular reports regarding the media coverage of the election period. At the same time, DRI also worked with other CSO partners throughout the election period to improve and streamline their observation and reporting strategies. Beyond the 2015 General Election, DRI’s engagement in the STEP consortium focuses on supporting CSOs in electoral reform advocacy and using comparative analysis to encourage fact-based stakeholder debates regarding the possibilities for electoral reform.
Supporting Civil Society Organisations on Electoral Analysis and Democracy Reform Advocacy in Myanmar
In response to the dire need for active civil society engagement in Myanmar’s transforming electoral process, DRI implemented this key project between May 2014 and February 2016 with the support of the European Union. The project aimed to support civil society organisations in key areas, such as election observation and electoral reform advocacy, as well as to strengthen the capacities of the organisations to engage with decision-makers.
Throughout the project, DRI provided on-demand support to key partners in the areas of electoral observation and electoral reform advocacy and worked with more than 90 local civil society organisations. The support DRI provided ranged from trainings on fundamental issues, such as non-partisanship in electoral observation, to more complex outreach and advocacy exercises for engaging decision-makers. In addition to workshops aimed at strengthening the technical capacity of CSO partners, the project also included a number of sessions focused on organisational development in such areas such as financial and programme management.