Dear friends of Ecologia Youth Trust,
It’s my pleasure to write this short letter to honour the 25th Anniversary of Ecologia Youth Trust. I’m so proud of Ecologia’s commitment and work towards empowering youth and communities in need. Kalyana Mitta Foundation and Ecologia share many values and commitment on ecological sustainability and the resilience of grassroots communities in different regions of the world. On behalf of KMF, I’d love to express our sincere appreciation to you for all the beautiful work you have contributed and the sweet memories in our hearts.
It was a wonderful experience for both our organisations to implement a three-year project ‘We Love Inle’ during 2015-2018. We have recruited young people for our project and we gave priority to local youth for long-term impact. Now the youth who were involved in our project have become reliable senior staff contributing to new projects. They have contributed a lot for their local volunteer group Hnalonehla Inn Maung Mae (HIMM) which has become a strong youth CSO at Inle Lake. They have been very active in community empowerment, youth leadership, environmental conservation and advocacy for the rights of local communities in Inle.
In addition, KMF team in Yangon has gained experiential learning of project management such as M&E, reporting, tracking systems and financial management. Some of the staff members involved in the project became senior leaders in KMF as programme managers and project coordinators. KMF has gained confidence in operating such a big project and dealing with an international funding agency like Big Lottery Fund. Thanks a lot to EYT for coordinating and supporting all the required assistance to KMF. It’s a great learning for our team both for best practices and challenges. We did our best in deep consultation with local youth and communities and we made a good investment in assessment and in the project planning stage. Moreover, it’s also very supportive in empowering the young eco-farmers through participatory M&E and effective follow up support, as some of our eco-farmers have become community leaders and it’s fantastic to see their honorable commitment and contribution to community development. You should also come and see those villages again in Kaung Htu and Kaung Wa (in Phe Khon). Their community is really strong and the young eco-farmers are co-operating together for their village. KMF applied participatory planning and decision making in most project processes and community empowerment for both project communities and the KMF team.
I should not leave out myself too. I’m so glad to have had a lot of technical support and mentoring support from Big Lottery funded consultants (Jess, Walra, Jane Rasbash). I myself learned a lot from the project and I could prepare to step out of my role in KMF and I am now studying for a PhD about Education for Sustainable Development in Myanmar in the UK. The second generation of my team are now managing KMF very aptly.
Lastly, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for all your support and contribution to KMF and all other partners in the world and we do really wish that EYT will continue to do more active support for the youth and ecological movement.
Happy Birthday to EYT!!
– Bo Bo Lwin, Executive Committee Member and former Director of Kalyanamitta Foundation, Myanmar