Our work in Myanmar is helping vulnerable young people including women, people with disabilities and indigenous people find employment and set up their own businesses.
About the project
The project offers business, vocational and life skills training through which participants can gain key skills and knowledge to earn a living.
Once properly trained, they can access tool kits and start up grants and receive mentoring from successful local business people to help them set up and maintain small businesses within their local community. In addition to this, gender training and civic education is delivered to support young people to become active citizens who can create positive change in their communities.
The country’s history
After four decades of military rule, Myanmar is now on a path to democracy and has a chance to develop both politically and economically. The country currently ranks 148 out of 189 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, education and income. It is classified as a medium development country. Poverty is still an issue, with around a quarter of the population below the national poverty line and around half of those in rural areas in poverty.
Although military rule in Myanmar has ended, intercommunal violence and mass displacements of people are still a problem. Discrimination against sections of the population, such as the Rohingya population, is widespread. However, political reforms initiated in 2011 have shown signs of development in the country. Peace negotiations are ongoing. Reforms focus on democratic governance, national unity, market-oriented economic growth and bottom-up planning.
Having grown up under an authoritarian regime, Myanmar’s young people now have an opportunity to shape the country’s future. However, they need support to improve their skills, access economic opportunities and engage with democratic processes. Help is particularly needed in rural and semi-rural areas, when many young people continue to live in poverty and have insecure jobs.
How are we helping?
We have recently begun work on a project called “Securing sustainable livelihoods and socio-economic resilience for vulnerable young people in Myanmar”. The project works with vulnerable young women, young people with disabilities and indigenous people in semi-rural areas in Myanmar.
Participants in the project will receive training in business skills, vocational skills and life skills. This will help to improve their employment prospects and will enable them to set up their own businesses to support themselves and their families. The project will involve working closely with the families of young people to gain support and reduce pressure on young people to enter insecure low-paid employment. Those completing the training will receive start-up grants and toolkits to set up a business.
We will also be training a team of young leaders in peer education, communication and problem solving so that they can better engage with the democratic process at a local level. The project will include initiatives to tackle gender discriminatory behaviours and social attitudes in order to create an environment where young women can work as entrepreneurs and participate more actively in their communities.
The project is being delivered with Myanmar YMCA along with regional YMCAs in Taunggyi, Lashio, Monywa and Maubin. It is scheduled to run until March 2021.
What do we hope to achieve?
400 young people, including 70% young women and 50 young people with disabilities, given business and vocational training
400 family members given life skills training
120 young leaders trained in peer education, communication and problem solving. They will reach an additional 3,600 young people through peer-to-peer learning on civic education
1760 family and community members engaged to support and encourage young people, especially young women, to attend training and other activities