Building bridges with civil society
YANGON, October 2004 - Among UNICEF’s major partners in Myanmar are numerous grassroots civil society organizations who help UNICEF connect with the people and communities it works to empower. Some of these civil society organizations are faith-based organizations who do work throughout the country, including Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu and other religious groups. Even where no formal relationship exists, UNICEF strives to support community groups in the beneficial work they do for children and families.
In line with its work to build bridges with civil society and faith-based organizations in Myanmar, UNICEF recently facilitated a seminar at the Myanmar Institute of Theology. UNICEF Health and Communication personnel led discussions with over 100 religious staff from various parts of the country – many from remote areas. The seminar represented an effort by many faith-based organizations to strengthen their practical knowledge about ways they can help enhance the health, nutrition, education and rights of children in the communities they serve.
UNICEF staff fielded technical questions on child health and development from attendees, discussed lingering myths about child health and nutrition, and discussed ways that religious staff can work with their parishioners and the larger communities they live in to help educate families about good health, nutrition and child-rearing practices.
“The participants were very enthusiastic and eager to learn,” said National Communication Officer Brian Pe Tin Thein. “We hope they’ll take the knowledge they’ve acquired and apply it in their homes, churches and villages.”
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