Our work in Myanmar

Together with Demo Finland, NIMD started working in Myanmar in 2014. The programme in Myanmar has two key aims. The first is to help the politicians from all the political parties to enhance their knowledge and skills for working in a democracy. The second is to develop the practice of collaboration by enhancing the practice of multiparty dialogue.

Read moreless programme specifics
Democracy Education

A core aspect of NIMD’s Myanmar programme is the Myanmar School of Politics (MySoP), an intensive retreat lasting up to one month, held at a secluded location. During MySoP, politicians from different parties discuss and learn together in a neutral, respectful, multiparty setting. MySoP’s three interrelated components are:

• Core courses: intensive, 20-day learning retreats aimed at improving politicians’ capacities and political engagement;
• Alumni activities: long weekends where core course alumni gather to further increase their knowledge and capacity on the issues of programmatic parties, intraparty democracy, and dialogue;
• Multiparty dialogue platforms: facilitated dialogue cycles designed to enhance the practice of multiparty dialogue and to find new approaches to state- and region-level challenges and opportunities.

Since 2014, these schools have been held for leadership level politicians from Shan State, Mon State, Kayin State, Kayah State and Tanintharyi Division.

Working with Political Actors

As part of the EU-funded STEP II programme, NIMD is supporting two initiatives designed to help MySoP alumni and politicians across Myanmar build their capacities as effective democratic actors. The objective of the STEP II programme is to “contribute to the development of a democratic society founded on broad engagement in democratic institutions and processes”.

The first way NIMD supports this aim is by setting up the MySoP Multiparty Academy (MMA), which hosts intensive training programmes for MySoP alumni and the wider political community. MMA’s activities are planned according to electoral cycles, to support participants as they develop and negotiate policies that will support Myanmar’s sustainable development.

A second component of this programme is capacity building of female politicians. With this targeted focus on gender in both MySoP core activities and the work of MMA, NIMD is enhancing gender inclusion and helping politicians identify and weaken the barriers to the political participation of women.

Programme Passport

Start date 2014
  • Main contact Maaike van der Werf Programme Manager
  • In-country contact Htet Oo Wai Myanmar Country Representative

Implementing partner

How we work Local Partnership

Active programme(s)

Supported by

Political Context

Since 2011, Myanmar has gradually been returning to civilian rule, culminating in historic nationwide elections held on November 8th, 2015, and the subsequent installation of new parliaments 3 months later. Over the past few years, a series of social and economic reforms were launched in Myanmar, opening up the country to the global community after a long period of isolation. At the same time, the country is still trying to end conflict with some of its numerous ethnic groups.

However the aftermath of the 2020 elections saw Myanmar's military dispute the election results and seize power. We call for return to democratic order and the release of those detained regarding the election. This will pave the way for peaceful political dialogue leading to a return of democracy.