To help achieve change, you need to accompany. Teaching and preaching will not serve the purpose.

To help achieve change, you need to accompany. Teaching and preaching will not serve the purpose.

Myanmar seems to be back at square one in terms of politics and economy. But this coup could turn out to be driver of a fundamental change, the one we had not seen during the past seven years.  And this not just because of the dominant role the military had maintained in the political setup, but as well because the NLD and her figurehead have not instigated any substantial change in mentalities and structures.

It is young activists now who drive resistance, using all tools of modern technologies. But it is not just their techniques which are new, but messages as well: Young activists stand for new agendas and positions beyond the NLD, the leadership of the party and all the „old white men“ of whatever genderand ethnic background they may be. A new vision of Myanmar beyond ethnic-religious divisions. A new definition of „who belongs“ beyond the politics of identity which have kept the country in a firm grip for about a century. And this in fact is a revolutionary situation in a culture, whose glorification of seniority is extreme even in an Asian context.

No, it is not the solder generation who will deal with this. Nor will it be the monks.

Young activists claim new ways of support by the international community: Support grassroot-movements and listen to our thoughts and needs, this is what they ask for, and they are right to do so. In order to make this story into a happy end,  international donors need to re-organize themselves: It is only from within that you can develop and nurture genuine change. Local stake holders need a tool box, but not teaching and preaching on objectives and means. They need analysis and coaching. Practical know how on politics and society. International donors have been active on the ground for more than seven years and still most even educated people in Myanmar are not aware of the importance of proportional voting and how this even works. Youth activists need role models as an inspiration and to define their own approach. They need stories of successes and failures. Coming from Friday for Future and the likes, and not from the political establishment. And a critical analysis of processes of change  in Europe and their flaws may help to avoid making the same mistakes: Germany, Spanin, Portugal, Eastern Europe, the Balkans…..

Working for the past two years on an exciting project in Tunisia has confirmed my view: it is through Soft Skills that you make a change. Profiling, change of perspectives, convince and include. The older generation and those who stick to traditional values. Effective communication implies more than posting on social media. And what matters is to analyse and steer group dynamics, instead of letting them take the driver seat. And to adress the the complicated question: what is leadership and what does it need to be a leader? Change management. Plus a good dose of pragmatism and project management. Smart objectives, pragmatic alliances. Risk analysis and management of risks.

The gear to enable people in Myanmar to take matters and their fate into their own hands!