This journey that we started began as a quiet discussion on supporting local researchers. We wanted our colleagues’ voices heard, their opinions considered, and their own expertise recognized. These discussions turned into bigger ideas, that turned into research support, that became the Tea Leaf Center.
For us, the Tea Leaf Center is an opportunity to use our research skills to work at the ground level and build a movement. By supporting local-level research skills, collectively we can better engage with national and international actors, policy makers, academics, and institutions while directly impacting communities.
Over the past year, we have conducting writing for research and advocacy courses, our staff worked on research projects in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and South Sudan, hosted topical discussion events, and built up our network through social media engagement and our monthly newsletters.
So, what can you expect in the coming year? The Tea Leaf Center has several research support trainings scheduled with local groups in Yangon and Thailand. Our offerings will expand to include a wider range of support topics such as Introduction to Survey Design and Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis trainings. We will increase our number of networking activities that bring together academic and non-academic researchers. We will grow our reach by increasing our social media presence, publishing more blogs, and featuring more local voices through sharing research outputs. Finally, we will better connect our network members to provide a space for collaboration and discussion.
Within only one year of transitioning full time to the Tea Leaf Center, we are now well on our way to becoming a fully registered organization in Thailand. What is more important though, is the community of support that surrounds us – from our board of advisors, to friends and colleagues near and afar, to organizations and institutions in the region that have engaged with us, our work and participated in our activities. To all of you, we sincerely say thank you.