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Myanmar

Building capacities to mitigate natural disasters through livelihood development programmes

Recent reforms have accompanied Myanmar’s transition towards democracy, from an isolated country into a more open society. Therefore, in 2015, following the priorities of the new government – set as education, employment and good governance –, related developments and the continued humanitarian needs, ACTED maintained its capacity to act effectively in terms of emergency response and early recovery, as well as disaster risk reduction, vocational training, social cohesion, and support to civil society.

Promoting social cohesion and empowering communities

In 2015, ACTED continued working to foster social cohesion between communities, as well as state and non-state actors. Occasional violence between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority in Myanmar has resulted in instability and potential grounds for future conflict in Rakhine State. In addition, the prolonged conflict in Kachin State has resulted in thousands of displaced persons living in camps with no access to livelihood opportunities. Through cash for work programs, ACTED facilitated local communities’ rebuilding of their own infrastructures, enabling them to purchase goods from local markets. Activities were geared specifically towards promoting social cohesion amongst communities.

Responding to natural disasters through emergency aid and resilience building

In the summer of 2015, Cyclone Komen made landfall in Northern Rakhine State, resulting in massive floods and landslides. ACTED responded to urgent life-saving needs through the distribution of food, while providing shelter kits as well, hereby equipping vulnerable community members with basic means to build back their homes. This was accompanied by awareness sessions focusing on best construction practices. At the same time, ACTED has continued the implementation of the activities begun in 2014 to enhance disaster preparedness, including assisting in the creation of disaster preparedness village committees and facilitating the increase of disaster risk awareness.

Fostering economic development through vocational training

While the demand for skilled labour is high in Myanmar, there remains a lack of trained workers to meet the labour market needs. Following a pilot model begun in 2014 developed to address this gap in Kayah State, ACTED has since expanded this intervention to work with the private sector in Yangon. With the support of the Government Technical High School and Schneider Electric, ACTED is implementing vocational trainings that address the need for enhanced electrical knowledge in the country and on-the-job training opportunities for youth. These trainings allow people to increase their access to livelihoods opportunities.

Towards sustainable peace and long term economic development

General elections took place in late 2015 and a peaceful government transition is expected. ACTED continues to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations to become influential actors of democratic governance by promoting stronger links with state actors, reinforcing accountability mechanisms, and ensuring sustainable peace and inclusive economic development in all areas of Myanmar. In addition, ACTED will continue supporting enhanced social cohesion, increased disaster risk awareness and preparedness among vulnerable communities, and inclusive and sustainable economic development through education and training.

Preserving mangroves through community supported education programs

As part of its disaster risk reduction programme, ACTED conducted a socio-economic assessment on the trends and drivers of change affecting the mangroves in Sittwe, Rakhine State. Following the study, tailored trainings and workshops are being led in the villages, geared towards increasing natural disaster resilience while preserving the fragile mangrove ecosystem. The programme works closely with the community in the development of their own needs and own trainings to ensure the sustainability of the activities and the relevance to local life.

Towards sustainable peace and long term economic development

With general elections scheduled for late 2015, ACTED aimed to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations to become influential actors of democratic governance by promoting stronger links with state actors, reinforcing accountability mechanisms, and ensuring sustainable peace and inclusive economic development in all areas of Myanmar. In addition, ACTED continued supporting enhanced social cohesion, increased disaster risk awareness and preparedness among vulnerable communities, and inclusive and sustainable economic development through education and training.

Partners in 2015:

Fondation de France, French Embassy, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Shneider Electrics, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP)

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