This is Htet Yin Tun. She is a 21 year old from Myanmar with infectious energy and passion for using design thinking to create positive social change in her community. She is awesome.
My ‘missives from Myanmar’– where UNICEF and a group of partners are working to establish a Social Innovation Lab to explore new and different ways of designing more effective, human-centered social services for all — start with her story.
I love this picture because it captures Htet Yin Tun in her element. On a recent mission to Myanmar, I had the privilege of connecting with Htet Yin Tun and a group of young change agents working with pointB, a community incubator for local change agents in Myanmar. [pointB is located at Mawlamyine University in Mon state, Myanmar, where Htet Yin Tun is from. pointB is one of the most exciting organizations I’ve connected with in my travels with UNICEF, and it needs it’s own blog entry; watch this space for more soon.]
This shot was taken during a read-out session where the pointB team and UNICEF Myanmar worked with Htet Yin Tun and her peers to understand the impacts of the design thinking course that pointB runs in Mawlamyine. I’ve included a few more pictures from this session at the end of the blog to give you a sense of what we learned and how we are thinking about scaling the pointB model to promote social innovation and positive impact across Myanmar.
For now, I’ll leave Htet Yin Tun to share her own story about being part of the first cohort of change agents at pointB.
Interview with Htet Yin Tun, Training & Research Coordinator at pointB Design + Training
Stuart Campo (SC)
Htet Yin Tun (HYT)
SC: Tell us about yourself–whatever details you feel comfortable sharing!
HYT: My name is Htet Yin Tun. I am a 21 years old girl and I just graduated from Mawlamyine University. Now, I am working as a Training and Research Coordinator at Point B Design + Training (pointB) which is located at Mawlamyine University. Originally, I am from Mawlamyine and used to be a shy girl in my environment and afraid of doing mistakes. Within one year in pointB, I became more optimistic, resilient, improved my social skills, thinking skills. Now, I’m very out-going!
SC: How did you get involved in the Point B course?
HYT: I was attending English Course in Ramonnya Rhattha Education Center and volunteering as an English teacher for the kids in summer English course. I got the information from my teacher and he encouraged me that it will be a great chance for me to improve my English skills and social skills. So, I took the first step, applying the application form in pointB and took the interview and tried my best to get into (the programme).
SC: What are the three skills, ideas, methodologies that you learned through the course that have been most valuable to you?
HYT: The facilitation skill and self-management skill and leadership skill are three skills which are very valuable to me. Moreover, learning by doing is the best idea I got from pointB because by doing things I have more resilience, optimism on my own actions. Giving and receiving feedback openly makes me to be more human-centered and think from different points of views instead of being defensive on my own action. One more good idea is to be passionate for life-long learning as it will open my opportunities on my way and bring motivation to my actions.
For the methodologies, creative needs-finding methods by using different kinds of tools to different people is really important in working together with the community. Ecosystem map is a useful tool which shows where are my opportunities, what can I do, and who are the people that I need to connect in order to reach my goal. The last one is strategic planning which help me to understand the organization deeply and see their actions. Interestingly, attending pointB is a great chance for me to get these skills. Before pointB, I was a self-centered person and not good at collaboration but here working together with different people from different backgrounds, I know the importance of human-centered approach and now it has changed me into a different person.
SC: What was your project as part of the Point B course? Describe how it came about, what you and your team did and where the project stands now (remember, we learn from failure, so don’t be shy to share things that didn’t work out as well as you might have planned/hoped!)
HYT: My project part of the pointB course is a Livelihood Center Project at Mawlamyine University Campus which is focused on making a bridge between university students and local businesses to create more job opportunities within the city. I got this idea as I am a fresh graduate from Mawlamyine University and I have found it difficult to find my way after graduating.
As a university student, we do not gain many practical skills and most business people that I interviewed during needs-finding prefer people with experience so many fresh graduates go back to their village or work in foreign countries like Thailand, Malaysia, or Singapore. My needs-finding focused on discovering what skills local businesses are looking for when they hire people and what skills university students think that they need to get a job. I found out that a university degree doesn’t have any impact on the employability but thinking skill, social skill and problem-solving skill and being out-spoken are important for getting a job. I prototyped a 3 day work skills preparation course that brought together students and businessmen. Through iteration, I am now teaching a personal development short course to the Mawlamyine University Students to build their capacity during university life and help them to discover their strengths, opportunities and understanding around specific jobs. For this short course, I created an entrepreneur talk by asking local entrepreneurs to share experiences to students.
In this project, I have faced many difficulties and challenges as I am working on my project by my own because I already have the experience of working together with the small groups or big groups. It is a really complicated process and from it I know the importance of social-collectiveness and collaboration. The other challenge is in preparing the lesson plan for the course as I want to co-create the lesson plan with the students.
SC: What idea/project/opportunity in you community (or in Myanmar as a whole) are you most excited about today?HYT: As our country is opening up, lots of foreign investments are coming in and the usage of Internet is higher than before. Through Internet, people can know easily what is happening in the world and see more opportunities and possibilities to create new things. One new idea is university students are working as job internship or volunteer in business and youth organizations during the university life. Although this idea is still new, I really excited for it as students will be able to get job exposure during the university life and can build network and skills for their jobs. In this way, university life will be more meaningful and they can easily get a job after graduate. It can also promote the value of education to be higher as university degree can bring some meaning for their life.
SC: Complete this phrase: “In 5 years, young people across Myanmar will…”
HYT: In 5 years, young people in Myanmar will have more job opportunities within Myanmar as there will be more investment across Myanmar and the value of education will be higher as there are more job opportunities in their environment.
In the next blog, we’ll take you on a tour of pointB and share more stories of how their model is promoting positive social change at the hyper-local level in Myanmar. If you’re eager to learn more now, check out the video below and the additional photos from our World Cafe session with Htet Yin Thun and her peers.
pointB overview: https://vimeo.com/127737747
Images from World Cafe session @ pointB, August 2015
- What knowledge, methods + values have you learned through pointB courses?
- What is the most significant change in yourself, work, life?
- How might we expand and adapt (the pointB design thinking) program to support other youth and communities in Myanmar?
Responses to question #1: what knowledge, methods + values have you learned through pointB courses?
Responses to question #2: what is the most significant change in yourself, work, life?
Responses to question #3: how might we expand and adapt (the pointB design thinking) program to support other youth and communities in Myanmar?