pointB has teamed up with international design firm, frog design, to co-create a Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement. This center aims to respond to the need in Myanmar for multi-ethnic change agents who can work with communities to facilitate linkages between civil society and the rapidly developing state and national government systems.
In partnership with the Myanmar Ministry of Education, the Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement is located on campus at Mawlamyine University (Myanmar’s third largest university) in Mon state.
Here’s how it works:
Multi-Ethnic Change Agents
The Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement is specifically tailored for makers, doers + activators — people who want to lead change, tackle social issues like education and poverty, and engage local communities in Myanmar’s emerging democracy. pointB recruits multi-ethnic young adults from diverse communities and ethnic groups throughout Myanmar. These trainees live, learn and work together in an environment that promotes empathy, cross-cultural understanding and peace-building.
The Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement offers a six-month, project-based course in design-thinking — a proven approach to solving social issues and challenges that focuses on empathy, collaboration, action and optimism to create new solutions for local communities. Tools and techniques from design-thinking — including frog’s Community Action Toolkit (CAT), which has been successfully piloted in Africa — teach groups of people how to organize, collaborate, and create solutions for problems impacting their community.
pointB is working closely with frog design, civil society organizations, Mawlamyine University and the Myanmar Ministry of Education to develop groundbreaking curriculum, which integrates 3 disciplines:
MINDFULNESS (learning through reflection)
FACILITATION (learning through collaboration)
DESIGN-THINKING (learning through doing)
Space for Community Learning, Dialogue + Engagement
In partnership with Mawlamyine University (Myanmar’s third largest university), the Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement offers a space where diverse groups — including the community, civil society organizations, government, donors and business — come together to collaborate, access information, strengthen capacity, engage in peace talks and create new solutions for community development. In this space, multi-ethnic change agents facilitate workshops, trainings and discussions using design-thinking and visual meeting techniques.
Platforms for Collaboration
Trainees will emerge from the Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement as tangible change agents, who will facilitate the creation of new platforms for collaboration between diverse social, ethnic, gender and political groups. In addition, pointB is building new platforms for technical expertise, which will empower local populations to collaborate directly with experts from pointB, frog design, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other project partners. These human-centered platforms will promote learning, dialogue and engagement toward a shared vision for Burma.
Supporting Higher Education, Livelihoods + Community Development
Under the guidance of the Myanmar Ministry of Education, pointB is establishing a Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement at Mawlamyine University in Mon state, Myanmar.
Mawlamyine University was established in 1953 and is currently Myanmar’s third largest university, enrolling 9,000 full-time students and 8,000 correspondent students. The university has 15 departments with an emphasis in Marine Science. From 1982 to 1986 the UNDP provided assistance to expand the Mawlamyine University’s Marine Science Research Program to other areas in Mon State. To date, these research extension centers have been closed due to budgetary constraints and national policy.
In partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California, San Diego, pointB is suppoing the rebuilding of Malwamyine Univeristy’s Marine Science research and education programs. SIO is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for ocean, Earth and atmospheric science research, education, and public service in the world.
Through a joint partnership between SIO, Mawlamyine University and pointB, the Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement is creating a bridge to connect Mawlamyine University to community development projects within Mon state, particularly Myanmar’s coastal marine and river communities.
The Dean of Mawlamyine University has expressed the need to collaborate with Mon communities toward positive development within Mon state. Multi-ethnic change agents from the Design-Thinking Center for Community Engagement are working closely with Malwamyine University and Mon communities to facilitate sustainable community development, which considers:
- People and their need for security, education, health, safe housing, freedom from poverty.
- Culture, local identity and values preservation and enhancement in the midst of change.
- Livelihoods aimed at activating local resources and talents so that young adults may contribute locally.
- Environments including food security, awareness, biodiversity and policy within coastal marine and river environments.