The panel discussion with the topic of “the type of Civil Society organizations (CSOs) that should be encouraged more for global development” was presented on 24th June which is last Monday, as one of the assessments required for Introduction to Civil Society course. Basically, the topic was chosen based on the current situations in our country, Myanmar, because we have got members of 5 among 6 who are from Myanmar. During the discussion, we have managed to cover some points including the current situations of Myanmar, what charity organization is and what skill development organization is, together with their roles, actions and importance for a nation.
We decided to focus on these two types of organizations because we can ensure that they are ones of the essential organizations among others. We believe that Imagination of the future of the world without this sector is impossible anymore because it has occupied its role in every sector of the global development. The panel discussion’s focus is more on the challenge of deciding which kind of organization should be encouraged more in order for us to experience the prosperous and developed world. Our group consisted of 5 Myanmar students who are Kyaw Khant, Ngu Wah Aye, May Thandar Maung, Wai Wai Ko and lastly, Nan Aye Aye Moe together with one student from Sri Lanka who is Tahira Mohothar.
Our discussion focus on the roles and importance of CSOs which are vital to the economic, social and political sectors of a nations and the common major challenges faced by these organizations.
During the discussion, we have managed the flow to be realistic. We started with the citizen who was an affected person of communal outbreak in order to give the clear storyline of our discussion. Followed by her was the executive manager of one of the top charity organizations so that both the audience and the panelists have understood what charity organizations are. It was also mentioned that the actions of these charity organizations are not all invisible. Then, me, as an active member of a charity organization in Myanmar, I shared some information of the reasons why charity organizations are essential and as a citizen of a nation, why I decided to be a part of such organization. Together with the effect of charity organizations to the targeted people, how we measure the impact and also some of the major challenges faced by most of the organizations.
Then, we moved on to another type of CSO which is skill development organization. We had one member as an invited guest in order to share her experience and the roles of skill development organizations in term of contributing the transition of the country. Our last panelist was a member of a Sri Lanka-based skill development organization and discussed about the importance of skill development organizations and its strength of being sustainable. We did try our best in order to make it clear vision of the difference, strengths and weaknesses of these two types of civil society organizations.
Once we are informed that presenting a panel discussion is one of the requirements in Introduction to Civil Society course, we, as students from Myanmar, had a thought of having a discussion regarding the violence in our country and find out the most relevant and essential organizations for affected areas. Though we have one foreign member who was joining us, we did not have much problems discussing, deciding and agreeing upon the topic. The only problem that we faced was that there was one more student who wanted to join us after the proposal has submitted. First, we had thought of not accepting her because we might have some problems and delay time in order to consider her roles and restructure the overall format and the flow of the discussion. But, we reconsidered our decision and had a discussion among members then, decided to let her in. We decided to let her play the role of the citizen of Myanmar who is affected by the violence. In order to make our panel discussion unique and better than others, we decided to make it with two rounds for each panelist with different positions. So, overall planning can be said as it went smoothly with less problems and arguments.
Before and during the planning process, we have found out that each of us have our own experiences to talk about regarding the topic chosen and we all agreed that it is better to discuss based on our experiences. In addition, we just needed to get some research done in order to make the comparison between these two organizations and the challenges they face. I think our main strength can be said ‘teamwork’ as we gave the full support and collaboration with each other. Although the discussion went smoothly, I have pointed out one major weakness which was less preparation.
Learning/ Reflection of the Panel Discussion
During our panel discussion, I tried my best to play the role, and we tried to make the discussion more alive by interacting rather than letting the panelists talk and ask questions after that. I have got to know that the most important thing in all organization is ‘teamwork’ and ‘understanding each other’. I would say that this panel discussion is a successful one but, I also have to agree that there were some invisible arguments among us and the weaknesses behind the scene. I do think that we have to improve in our behaviors of accepting the differences and respecting each other as a team.
To me, self-reflection is the most difficult part in whatever I do. I think my weakness during my presentation was about my nervousness to speak. The most important thing was to maintain the flow of my speech and I believe that I did it quite well in the discussion. I presented my analysis one by one along with the statistical evidence which gave a deep understanding about my views. I was involved every time with my group mates and shared my personal views and skills to develop the panel discussion and made sure that the discussions were effective. At the end, I tried my best to overcome my weaknesses and made them into my strengths.
After all, as it was planned, our discussion managed to focus mainly about the issues that people actually are facing and the importance of the civil society organizations. After all, it does not matter what is the category the organization belongs to, but they are working for the same goal which is helping and empowering human beings to make our world a better and prosperous place to live.