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Myanmar (Burma): Programme Overview and Projects
SWISSAID has been active in Myanmar (Burma) since 1992. Initially, the effort was restricted to the country’s southern and northern regions bordering Thailand. Today, SWISSAID is primarily active in the North and East of this multi-ethnic country – in Kachin and Shan States that are rich in natural resources.
Despite the positive political and economic reforms in the country, the dark sides of dictatorship and decades of conflict will not fade so quickly. In Kachin, civil war broke out again in June 2011, and there are still no signs of a negotiated ceasefire. Peace is essential throughout the country if the state’s proper formation currently in progress is going to succeed. The conflict could jeopardise development of the country as a whole.
The conditions verging on civil war have an adverse effect on self-help projects being carried out in the Kachin region. SWISSAID anticipates that investment in reconstruction will be required once the conflict has ended.
SWISSAID works exclusively with local partner organisations that take charge of the projects together with disadvantaged population groups. The people devise and implement the ideas themselves – with the support of SWISSAID.
A strong civil society is one of the conditions for sustainable and fair development. SWISSAID therefore supports impoverished and disadvantaged groups to take the initiative for their own rights, for peace and development. Men and women living in poverty must also get involved in order to participate in the economic and political advances.
SWISSAID supports poor small-scale farmers by providing courses on organic cultivation methods. Thanks to such sustainable resource management and organic cultivation methods the farmers are more independent and therefore have to invest less and are able to harvest more.
Small farmers as well as landless day workers in particular are hit hard by poverty. To ensure they can earn a higher income, SWISSAID supports local communities with income-generating measures, courses and expertise in marketing agricultural products. Additionally, the groups should be able to gain access to state services, for example, national vaccination programmes for animals or specialist training in veterinary practice.
On the one hand, women are the backbone of the development. Yet on the other, they are the ones hit hardest by poverty and starvation. SWISSAID especially supports women living in poverty on the fringes of society. SWISSAID focuses in particular on education and networking for women’s groups so that they can use their influence to better effect.
Overall, SWISSAID’s long-standing average investment in Myanmar is about 1.3 million Swiss francs per annum. Claire Light is the head of the office in Rangoon. Several assistants as well as accounts clerks deal with the projects’ administration. In Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachin State, SWISSAID manages a branch office which supervises the project in the north of the country.
Thank you for your help! Thanks to the loyal and generous support of benefactors in Switzerland, disadvantaged farmers are able to find a way out of poverty and starvation.
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Where SWISSAID is working in Myanmar