An interview conducted by Mary Pham in Kalaw, Shan State, Myanmar for Paung Ku Forum.
It is often difficult for members of local organisations to voice their concerns, especially about the shortcomings of international aid agency approaches. They may rely on funding partnerships, or simply find it difficult to communicate directly to international groups about the concerns they have. Yet their insights can be important. Today we hear from a staff member from a local organisation in Shan State on the U.N. and youth policy.
My opinion is that the U.N. simply follows the U.N. agenda.
The main problem is the staff. They want to implement their technical specialties on some issue, but they're so focused on following their framework that they don't deal with the local people.
For example, in youth policy. We've been trying to create a youth policy starting from 2012. The U.N. called for proposals from youth leaders to apply for their project, but they didn't call for civil society organisations or other local actors that are working on these issues.
There is also the issue of language that is tied to this. People who are apply to be a part of the youth forum organized by the UN are recruited through American Center and the British Council.
Those people may be individuals who aren't involved in specific issues or communities--but they can read and write English. They don't know the real issues at hand, they aren't involved in those communities, but they are the ones applying.
The ones who know about the issue and are deeply involved in it don't apply for the issue. They can't apply for the issue, because of their lack of language knowledge.
The organizers for the UN youth forum need to listen to the voice of the people, the true representation of people.
Often I see that the people involved in youth forums are ones who can speak English but are only concerned about their own accomplishments and projects, not concerned about the real issues of the people.