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Updates, Resources and Reports
The Tea Leaf Center | Issue #30
TLC Updates

The Tea Leaf Center is expanding! This month we welcomed two new team members, our Communications Intern Tin Moe Htay and a new Research and Training Associate Noom Maoyos. Tin Moe Htay is a fourth-year university student at Chiang Mai University and an active volunteer teaching English at monastics schools in Myanmar and raising environmental awareness. Her research interests focus on gender-related issues. Noom is interested in the intersection of environment and gender inequality, and before she joined the Tea Leaf Center she worked with a small NGO that promotes learning and exchange on gender, environment and peacebuilding in the Mekong region. She also has a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Natural Disasters from Chiang Mai University. 

Having a Communications Intern means we can finally start posting more informational content on our social media pages. Check out our ‘Word of the Day’ series introducing key research terminology and definitions in English, Thai and Burmese on our Facebook page. 

This month, two Tea Leaf Center staff (Aileen and Ei Phyu) went to Mae Sot for a MEAL project and did some networking meetings. In a week full of delicious Burmese food, we re-connected with many colleagues we have not seen in person in a long time, and met some new organizations to discuss potential collaborations. It was a great trip to remind us that our work impacts real people doing important work, which can be easy to fo rget when everything is online.  

Resources and Tools

Often in research, we take for granted the idea that participants should be anonymous. It’s a basic tenet of research ethics as taught in many settings: researchers should not reveal the names of the research participants, and should definitely not connect their name to their responses. There is an interesting thread I came across on Twitter earlier this month, discussing whether there are some situations where making participants anonymous can be unethical – including many interesting resources and articles on the topic. This seems to be an especially popular topic in oral histories and related methods, and in research by/with indigenous communities and marginalized groups, who may find sharing their stories and knowledge to be empowering – and thus find anonymization to be exploitative and disempowering. The whole thread is linked above, but some of the interesting resources include an article by Katja M. Guenther on “The Politics of Names”, a book that includes testimonies by Guatemalans affected by Canadian mining projects (“Testimonio”), an article on data transparency and concealing subjects’ identities related to digital ethnography, and a blog post on the London School of Economic’s Impact of Social Sciences blog. For a more in-depth reflection on research ethics and methods from an Indigenous research perspective, see this blog post and resource list by Helen Kara 

Civil Society Research Outputs

The situation of violence in Myanmar continues to occur in all areas. The junta's war against minorities has had a profound effect on women and children. Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)'s Briefing Paper covers the overall situation as well as the situation of IDPs, humanitarian crisis, and sexual gender-based violence in Shan State from May to June 2022. Most of the incidents are cases of sexual violence and sexual coercion. Moreover, there are also reports of child rape and child sexual coercion incidents. This report highlights the importance of protecting civilians and resolving the current crisis in Myanmar. 

In another part of Myanmar, the Chin Human Rights Organization published a report on similar issues, called “Collective Punishment: Implementation of ‘Four Cuts’”. This report is based on 34 interviews conducted by CHRO in the Mindat area of Chin State between December 2021 and January 2022. Those interviewed include survivors of and eyewitnesses to human rights violations, internally displaced persons, religious leaders, humanitarian workers and camp management committee members. 

Three years after the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam collapse on 23 July 2018 in Laos, survivors remain in cramped temporary shelters and suffer from lack of access to sufficient food, lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and dangerous housing circumstances, which were even exacerbated by the COVID-19 containment and lockdown orders issued by the government in 2020-2021. This report by Manushya Foundation documents the challenges faced by survivors, including insufficient support despite promises from the government and PNPC of a recovery plan to compensate for the loss of life, livelihood, and property. The report outlines the extent to which the government of Lao PDR and private companies involved in the project have intervened in assisting affected populations in the aftermath of the disaster. The report will summarize information regarding the populations impacted by this disaster, the ongoing recovery efforts by the perpetrators of the disaster, and the shortcomings of these efforts. 

This new article from researchers at Khon Kaen University delves into the use and the transfer of the local people’s traditional beliefs in supernatural beings for environmental conservation in Bueng Khong Long Wetland. This study explores an alternative approach to environmental conservation based on the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of residents and using Ethnoscience and human ecology knowledge in the analysis. Traditional beliefs in the existence of supernatural beings are an alternative approach for inhabitants living in close to nature to protect and sustain natural resources.  

If you or your organization would like to work together on a research project or would like more information on the trainings we offer, please reach out. We have a sliding scale of fees (which means smaller organizations pay less) and design all our trainings to specifically meet the needs of our partners. Here’s a reminder of the types of trainings we offer:
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The Tea leaf Center · Chiang Mai · Chiang Mai, Chiang mai 50100 · Thailand

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