From February to September of 2021, I was engaged as a communications assistant in developing support materials for an ITC program in Dawei, Myanmar. I detail the organization and my involvement below.
Established in 1964 as a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, the ITC focuses on enabling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in emerging and transitioning economies to become more competitive. This includes connecting them to international markets for trade and investment, building capacities among stakeholders, and working to fulfill ITC’s mission of creating “trade impact for good.”In this particular project, the ITC had partnered with the Netherlands Trust Fund to promote Inclusive Tourism in the Kayah State and Tanintharyi Region of Myanmar. The project ran from December 2017 to June 2021, and included support in the following areas:
Following the success of the first iteration in Kayah State, a survey conducted by ITC suggested two villages in the Dawei area had the highest potential for additional inclusive tourism development, along with the Dawei city center. Because of this potential, the region was chosen for the continued development of its tourism products and services, as well as training their tourism service providers.
As another note on the context and our ability to work with stakeholders (already diminished because of COVID-19’s impact on travel), the start date of my project was February 1st, 2021, which coincided with the same day of the 2021 Myanmar coup d’état.
--Our work with the ITC and Myanmar was, perhaps unsurprisingly, more hands-off. The original task was to develop an Action Plan for Dawei. As it became clear after the coup that stakeholder involvement would be minimal at best, we undertook a process to see which of the operational objectives could be met through the remote development of materials. This iterative process - which started with the action plan, then led to the drafting of fact sheets and documents, before ultimately becoming a proposal - involved a monthly meeting with our contact at the ITC between February and June.
In between, the ideas for what ultimately became 5 communication materials - 3 animations and 2 presentations - were outlined, developed, and then created. Due to the sensitivity in the Dawei area, we held off from involving or engaging with local stakeholders for the majority of the project. Towards its end, however, we began to work more closely with an ITC representative based in Myanmar to create Myanmar language versions of the animations (both the voice and text).
All presentations and videos are available for review upon request.