Ethnic Community Development Forum (Burma)

Fish Farming to Federal “3F” campaign
Three Principles of people development of ECDF
1. Grassroots ownership development, (Discussion-can we put definition long sentence)
2. Participatory development, and
3. Sustainable development.

Ethnic Community Development Forum (Burma)

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Who we are

by staff

I. Mission

To strengthen the process of community development across the states and divisions of Burma, to realize development programs which are democratic and based on national unity, and utilize people’s power within genuine federal union.

II. Goal

To empower people to participate in the decision making process of development projects and practice the rights of grassroots ownership, participatory and sustainable management of community themselves.


1. To improve capacity of people to decide by themselves on the implementation of any development project in their region.
2. To organize the people’s cooperation in the implementation of bottom up approach community development projects.
3. To raise awareness of 3 people development principles 1)grassroots ownership, 2)participatory, and 3)sustainable development among communities inside Burma.
4. To empower local people and farmers to establish more institution for social change in Burma.
5. To empower farmers to campaign for community land title and land ownership rights.
6. To advocate the international communities to support the campaigns of land ownership rights and community land title and recognize customary land management practice and community/customary map.
7. To Mobilize and raise awareness of local people about mega development project impact in Burma.

Program of ECDF

1. Program Activities
  • Policy development 1. Customary land draft policy recommendation paper.
  • Customary/indigenous forest draft policy recommendation paper.
  • Agricultural Development Plan – agriculture draft policy recommendation.
  • “Economic Social and Culture Rights” legal implementation paper.
  • Mining draft policy recommendation paper.
2. Community Empowerment
  • Community Development training,
  • Customary land management practice process training and workshop,
  • Land rights, land used policy and land law knowledge development,
  • Follow-up mobilization workshop with farmers,
  • Follow up mobilization workshop with community people,
  • Community project organizing,
  • Capacity building, training of trainer for field workers.
3. Advocacy/Campaign/mobilizing
  • Research, Fact finding and documentation
  • Publication
  • Curriculum development
  • Website
  • Networking
  • Community mobilization

Background of ECDF

ECDF is the Ethnic Community Development Forum of Burma was found in July 2004 at the 6th community development seminar at that time ECDF has 6 member organizations. In 2005, All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress from Arakan state joined the 7th community development seminar and became new members of ECDF since than ECDF has 7 member organizations. All the different ethnic participants agreed with the common mission and goal, and formed the advisory team, executive committee, focal point to focus on Community Development issues such as bottom up approach legal implication of 3 people development principles, policy creation about agriculture, customary land and forest. The research on “Biofuel by Decree” Jatropha plantation and community mobilization trough village development project, the community empowerment through agriculture and customary land rights. It has aimed to strengthen the process of community development across the seven states of Karen, Karenni, Shan, Mon, Kachin, Chin, Arakanese in Burma. In 2009 ECDF built a network with community based organizations from Irrawaddy delta through Emergency Assessment Team and now in the process of participation as a member of ECDF. In 2012 ECDF built new network who are working on customary land from Pago division and Tavoy division. The membership organizations of ECDF are as below.
(1) Kachin Development Network Group
(2) Karen Office of Relief and Development
(3) Karenni Social Warfare and Development Centre
(4) Mon Relief and Development Committee
(5) Network for Chin Community Development
(6) Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
(7) All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress

Advisory Team

(1) khu Htee Bu
(2) Aung Whar
(3) Htoo Kei
(4) Saw Nay Thablay

ECDF Executive Committee Member

1. Saw Pho Cho Chairman KORD
2. Salai simoon Vice- chairman NCCD
3. Sai khur Hseng Secretary Shan Sapawa
4. Ko Ting Oo EC member AASYC
5. Brang seng EC member KDNG
6. Ma Ree Myar EC member KSWDC
7. Nai Shwe Thein EC member MRDC

ECDF Focal point.

1. Saw O Say — KORD
2. Mi Keit Taw — MRDC
3. Kai Laut — KDNG
4. Salai Kyaw Aung — NCCD
5. Soe Than Tar — AASYC
6. Nang Pawng Tip — Shan Sapawa
7. Neh Moe — KSWDC

Office administration body

1. Sai Khur Hseng — Secretary/Coordinator
2. Khu Ree Reh — Full time staff
3. Nang Pawng Tip — Full time staff
4. Junny Sun — Full time staff
5. Kamoon Beliew — Part time staff
6. Nang Ngao Hseng — Part time staff

In 2005, at community development seminar, ECDF laid down the 3 people development principles as below…

1. Grass-Roots Ownership of Development

The people shall have the rights to own, use, management, continued conservation of their natural heritages which have been handed down from generation to generation.

2. Participatory Development

The people shall have the right to make their own independent decisions 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. Sustainable Development

The people shall exercise their rights to sustainable development after consideration of the protection of environment, rational management of natural resources, the need of people and future generation.

In 2006, (3) people development principals legal implication process were make a proposal with a title of “Economic Social and Culture Rights” and propose to Federal Constitution Drafting Coordination Committee to adopt this chapter into draft Federal Constitution of Burma. In 2006, ECDF organized community development training on the research of Jatropha plantation of military government SPDC. (16) Trained from the training went to different ethnic state and research and collected information about Jatropha plantation.

In 2007 the (3) principles with ESCR proposal were adopted into Draft Federal Constitution of Burma as the chapter of “Economic Social and Cultural Rights and Duties” and for the sustainable development principle is adopted into Environment Chapter. In 2007, ECDF organized 9th community development seminar on “Agriculture sector in preparing National Development Plan of Burma. This seminar laid down the draft for Agriculture policy recommendation. The ongoing process of agriculture draft policy recommendation is continuing the process of development to become a paper for agriculture development reform in Burma.

In 2008, Jatropha plantation research report of ECDF released a publication of with the name of “Biofuel by Decree” “Unmasking Burma’s Bio-energy Fiasco” and advocated on the international level and national level and mobilized people at the community level to know about Biofuel from Jatropha plantation has negative impact and human rights abuses in Burma. The Biofuel plantation which related with food security and other international concern of Biofuel plantation and including global debate. ECDF follow up signboard campaign to military government SPDC about “Vote No and No Jet Suu” during referendum in Burma.

In 2009, ECDF was organize a community development training and 14 trained from 7 different ethnic area of ECDF do the community mobilizing and campaign against Jatropha plantation of SPDC and ECDF raise about Jatropha plantation impacts and lost in the world to people in Burma by using poster, video documentary and Biofuel by Decree research report and organized farmers to against this project around Burma. The successes is Jatropha Plantation project of military government was stop in Burma. ECDF was also organized a seminar on developing agriculture policy and laid down draft recommendations paper as the topic of “Agriculture Development Plan of Burma” (ADP)

In 2010, ECDF produce 2010 election campaign VCD songs and conducted a workshop on final drafting of “Agriculture Development Plan of Burma” (ADP).

In 2011, ECDF was organized a strategy meeting with farmers to mobilize farmers to campaign for their land ownership rights by using specific facts in the “Agriculture Development Plan of Burma” (ADP). The community mobilization workshops with local people in different ethnic area were organized by field workers of ECDF and it member’s organization.

In 2012, ECDF cooperated with 36 organizations of CBOs & CSOs were organized conference about “Peace and Development in Burma” and release a statement on peace and development in Burma. ECDF conducted ToT on land ownership rights and agricultural freedom, community mobilization workshop with farmers, and advocacy workshop with some ethnic MP “members of parliament” from different ethnic in Burma. ECDF was also conducted workshop on peace and development process in Burma and release statement to the global included new government in Burma and advocate Karen, Karenni, Chin, Shan and Lahu to organize a follow up workshop on peace and development in each of their respective areas. All of them were release their respective statement what they stand for peace in Burma. Monitoring peace process and mega development project in Burma.

In 2013, learned about customary land management practice and the customary land tenure and preparation to start gathering information about customary land management practice around the world and organized fact-finding, data collection training with data collection team and went into the field of practicing customary land and resources management such as water, farm land in the villages in Thailand. Research and collected data about customary practice around the world.

In 2014, produced a report about “Customary Land Management and Legal Frameworks: Experiences from Around the World- A Report to enhance Discussion about Customary Land Rights in Burma” and trained field workers and staff of ECDF to survey about customary land management practice and completed survey in 6 ethnic states about (26) township and interviewed (1264) people. ECDF was also conducted monitoring and community mobilization on National Land Used Policy and Land laws of the government.

In 2015, Documentation and data collection about customary land management practice at (7) villages in (6) ethnic state and draft a report and a video documentary of customary land practice. ECDF and it members were also organized the community mobilizing to campaign for reviewing of National Land Used Policy of government.

In 2016, finalize a report of “Our Customary Land” in English and Burmese version and video documentary about “Customary land is our life” in Burmese version and organized a press conference and distributed the report and video documentary. ECDF was also meeting with leaders of political parties such NLD, UNA and NBF and individual political parties and Member of Parliament to raise awareness to recognize of customary land ownership rights, rights to participation of community and community themselves sustainable management rights.

In 2017, ECDF cooperated with IWGIA, IPF and POINT and advocated about customary land management practice and community natural resources management to national, regional and international level. Conducted a video documentary about “Our Customary Land” and working on survey for case study of customary land management. ECDF was organized workshop on drafting customary land policy recommendation paper with community and CSOs and come up with a draft policy recommendation paper about customary land management practice.

In 2018, Community meeting on networking, feedback and rights monitoring. ECDF is cooperation with IWGIA, IPF and POINT for advocacy and campaign of customary land management rights, FPIC, community secure land rights and REDD+. Video documentation about community management of customary land practice. Submit customary land draft policy recommendation paper and Indigenous/customary forest draft policy recommendation paper to Ethnic Nationalities Affairs Center (Union of Burma) “ENAC” and UNA “United Nationalities Alliance” and consultation meeting with draft policy development stakeholders.

In 2019, community mobilization workshop on introduction of documentation of customary land management practice and community mapping. Customary land demarcation and community action campaign about No VFV law and land law in Burma. ECDF+POINT+IPF were produced a video documentation about “Our Customary Land” community based natural resources management, and awareness raising on customary land rights. Finalize draft policy recommendation paper of “Indigenous/customary forest” with IPEN, POINT, and CHRO.

In 2020, ECDF is surveying about customary land management practice to make a case study about “Case Study of customary-based sustainable environment, biodiversity, land, water, forest and customary agro based management practice is promoting sufficiency economy in Burma.” Video talk show at media groups about land and election. ECDF cooperated with “Federal Ethnic Farmer Network (FEFN)” and release a statement about “Ethnic farmers urge newly elected government to halt land law reform process” raise awareness about to recognize customary land management practice and land ownership rights in Burma.

In 2021, Awareness raising about customary land ownership rights and video talk show at online media about customary land management practice and the challenges of mega development project impacts. Follow up investment of mega development project in Burma. Raising awareness about Chinese investment which related the update of Belt and Road Initiative, CMEC that included plan for hydropower dams and coal mining. To all of network members of ECDF. Monitoring the situation of military coup and stakeholder’s movement during pandemic.

In 2022, Briefing paper about customary land ownership rights toward federal and raise awareness to community people to stand on customary land ownership management rights as roots and resilience’s until reinstalling democratic federal system in Burma. Monitoring the situation of military coup and stakeholder’s movement during pandemic is also.