© Helvetas


Political conflicts are a great burden to the country since decades. Since 2021 again the country is facing a crisis. Helvetas has adapted its projects and integrating humanitarian activities into its long-term development projects. Helvetas supports rural and urban people to improve their incomes through skills training, farming, fishing and trades. Sustainable coastal management to protect biodiversity is another working field. Cooperation with and support to private actors and community-based organizations is key in the whole program.
© Helvetas
  • Capital
  • Area
    676,577 km²
    Rank: 149 out of 191
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    Education and Vocational Skills
    Private Sector Development
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
    Gender & Social Equity
    Urban Engagement
* Source: UN Data

Myanmar has had a difficult time since 2020, starting with economic disruptions due to the COVID pandemic.  The situation got significantly worse after February 2021, with civil unrest leading to a banking crisis and widespread armed conflict across wide areas of the country.  The combined effects of this "double crisis" of COVID and conflict has pushed millions back into poverty, with more than half of the population now lives in poverty.  Fighting has also led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, in addition to the large numbers displaced by the previous conflict.  Helvetas Myanmar contributes to these issues through a mix of development and humanitarian programing, targeting both the short-term humanitarian needs of displaced people and targeting the root causes of poverty, conflict and environmental degradation.

One focus is on skills training of young women and men, particularly for many teenagers, who never finished school, and government-subsidized vocational training here is often overly theoretical. Working together with businesses, Helvetas enables young people to develop manual skills so they can earn a living or at least improve their income. In sewing and tailoring courses, for example, young women learn a new craft and, after several months of coursework, can look for work as seamstresses or set up shop on their own.

Preservation of biodiversity

Helvetas promotes the sustainable use of natural resources, especially to protect declining fish populations, and the unique and endangered biodiversity along the coastline. Women and men in coastal communities get an alternative source of income in the processing of fish products and agriculture. Helvetas also contributes to the preservation of biodiversity by promoting the production and export of special indigenous plants, such as the Thanaka tree, whose wood and bark are traditionally used to make cosmetics.

Supporting the civil society

Myanmar has an extremely varied and lively civil society, which must now find and defend its place in this new democracy. Thanks to a training program and small financial support, 1000 local organizations in villages actively participate in development processes. One of these partner organizations, for example, advocates for women’s “right to know” about spousal abuse and works to counter domestic violence by making public concrete experiences in civil society and discussing them with legislative committees.

Humanitarian assistance to refugees

Violence in Rakhine State, which began in August 2017, has driven hundreds of thousands of refugees across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The speed and scale of the influx have resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency. Helvetas provides humanitarian assistance to the refugees in Bangladesh.

Visit the website of Helvetas Myanmar.

The country programme in Myanmar is co-funded by the SDC programme contribution.

Our Projects in Myanmar

 If you would like to know more about our work in Myanmar, click on each project for details.

© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
Myanmar Skills, Jobs and Income

Well Equipped for the Working World

Vietnam_Biotrade_Woman | © Helvetas
Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar Private Sector Development

Ethical Trade in Botanicals

Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, India Partnership & Capacity Development

Value Chain Capacity Building Network

Open History Exhibition Dawei | © Helvetas Myanmar
Myanmar Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Open History: Arts for Peace

Myanmar Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

For a Pluralistic, Inclusive and Peaceful Society

Myanmar Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Artists Relief Fund

Multimedia Stories from Asia

© K M Asad

Feeding Mothers' Courage

In Bangladesh, women dare to stand up for a healthy pregnancy

Growing medicinal plants in the Chittagong Hills Tracts of Bangladesh

Read how Mujib Chakma’s family increased their income by cultivating medicinal plants in the minorities region of Bangladesh.
© Patrick Rohr / Helvetas

Stateless – the Fate of the Rohingya

In the refugee camp in Bangladesh, Rabeya Begum and Mohamad try everything to enable their little son Mohamad Rizwan to live in dignity.

A Farmer’s Daughter Goes to College

Read how the Chakma family, with the support of Helvetas, has set up a tree nursery and thus freed themselves from poverty.

Protecting fish stocks in Myanmar

The people in the Gulf of Mottama live from fishing. Read how they try to regulate stocks with the help of Helvetas.
© Helvetas / Alexa Mekonen

Living with Climate Change in Bangladesh’s Southern Coastal Belt

Nasrin Begum and her family live in one of the most vulnerable coastal districts in Bangladesh. They are among many who are severely affected by water salinity.

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.

Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

12F Minkyaung Street
Kyaik Wine Pagoda Road
11062 Mayangone Township, Yangon

Phone: +95 (0) 997 914 0158
E-Mail: myanmar@helvetas.org