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Ethnic Community Development Forum (Burma)

About the Ethnic Community Development Forum (ECDF)

Ethnic Community Development Forum (ECDF) is a focal point for social and community development organizations from the various ethnic nationality regions of Burma.ECDF was founded at the 6th Ethnic Community Development Seminar in July 2004. Today we have eight member organizations. Our members work in in Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Shan, Mon, Arakan, and Chin States.

Each organization works independently to forward its own vision and solve the unique problems of its particular community. ECDF provides a meeting point for the staff and leadership to come together for training, dialogue, and joint efforts. 

Several times each year, ECDF brings the members of these organizations together to discuss the current situation and to continue the education of their staff. Alumni of these trainings then coordinate their own local projects with support from ECDF. These projects operate with the participation of all members of the community and reflect the development visions of local people.

In bringing these organizations together, ECDF hopes to promote inter-ethnic cooperation and increased awareness of national issues and their solutions. ECDF also hopes to foster a participatory path to development in Burma as an alternative to the top-down, exploitative practices of the Naypyidaw government. In order to achieve this goal ECDF follows three core principles, formulated by its members in 2006:

1) Grass-Roots Ownership of Natural Resources

The people shall have, in fact and in law, the rights to own, use, manage, and continue conservation of their natural resources and heritages which have been handed down from generation to generation.

2) Community Participation

The people shall have the right to make their own independent decisions about development and the right to receive benefits equitably. There shall be agreement by the entire people and full guarantee with responsibility for security of life.

3) Sustainability

Development shall ensure the support of the required needs of future generations without destroying cultural heritage.

Through continued cooperation between the different minority ethnicities ECDF continues to promote the welfare of people in rural areas and work towards future change in Burma.

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