Khaing Min Thant
MSc (Agr) in Environmental Resource Management, UCD
Khaing works with Irish NGO, Trócaire, in Myanmar. He received a fellowship award in 2017-18 to study on the MSc (Agr) in Environmental Resource Management at University College Dublin.
In Myanmar I work as a Programme Officer in an Irish NGO called Trocaire. The programme I manage is called the Resource Rights Programme, which looks at the rights of small scale farmers and indigenous people from the perspective of resources and land rights. A key part of the programme is about empowering communities to claim their rights to land and resources and to empower these communities to manage these resources sustainably.
I came to Ireland to study an MSc in Environmental Resource Management. The reason I chose this course was because it looks at how you can manage environment resources sustainably. Also, part of the course focuses on some of the policy roles of Europe in the context of an international perspective.
The first semester is coming to an end and most of the modules have been quite beneficial. I have studied policy that can contribute to some of the areas of policy and law that are lacking in Myanmar, which is a developing country. The course has also been beneficial in terms of studying climate change, and sustainable resource management. We have also looked at in detail examples of how to manage land sustainability as well as the impact of humans on the environment. This knowledge will be very useful to the programme I manage and also to my country.
Living in Ireland has been a wonderful experience. Dublin is a beautiful city, it has a lot of green spaces and it does not have a lot of high-rise buildings. I have settled in well to life as a student in Dublin. I will miss the friendly people here, they are very easy to approach, and I also love some of the Irish food, especially sausages and potatoes!
From a career perspective, studying in Ireland will benefit me professionally. I have gained a lot of insight, skill and knowledge in terms of how to manage environment resources sustainably, which I believe will contribute to raising awareness in the local community and civil society organisations as well. Furthermore, I believe my work will change considerably, I did not have the same knowledge and skill particularly looking at policy from an international perspective. I have learned about concrete actions that can be taken to manage environment resources and I will be able to contribute to better manage the structure and implementation of my programmes.
For my research, I am considering looking at how investment in Myanmar could impact the environmental sector and what lessons can be taken from an international perspective, particularly in relation to the lessons learned in Europe.
Myanmar is a country that is moving in the right direction, there have been a lot of positives, however there has also been some setbacks, particularly around peace processes. As the country opens up, investors will look at investing in the country and developing new projects. Development and conservation can be quite contradictory. I hope that we can balance this so that it is a win-win situation for both the development of Myanmar and conservation of the environment.
When I return to my work in programme management I hope to contribute as much as I can within my capacity to benefit the people of Myanmar, particularly around the area I am currently studying in.