UN DEVELOPMENT INDEX*Rank: 149 out of 191
People supported per year45,000
Thematic focusEducation and Vocational Skills
Private Sector Development
Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
Gender & Social Equity
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.
Our Projects in Myanmar
If you would like to know more about our work in Myanmar, click on each project for details.