Trócaire has been working with civil society organisations in and outside Myanmar since 1995 when most of our work focused on supporting refugees living on the Thailand-Myanmar border.
Our country office in Yangon was established in 2008 when we responded to Cyclone Nargis which killed over 140,000 people, and impacted more than 2.4 million.
We provided immediate relief and food to over 250,000 people at this time. Since then, our work has adapted to the changing political situation in Myanmar and to the democratic transition the country is undergoing since the first free elections in 2015.
Trócaire’s work focuses on gender equality and resource rights while at the same time we are providing multi sector humanitarian assistance to conflict affected communities in the northern part of Myanmar. Our peace programme provides a small contribution on the path to peace in Myanmar.
We work through local partnerships to strengthen civil society and ensure respect for human rights. Our work is carried out in Yangon and Tanitharyi Region, in Mon and Kayah State, as well as in Kachin and Shan State – all areas of post-conflict situations and ongoing conflict respectively.
Trócaire works across four programme areas in Myanmar:
The goal of Trócaire’s resource rights work is for rural communities to be empowered to advocate for their right to land by using legal and administered processes, and to have control over their natural resources.
This programme demands accountability and good governance on issues related to land ownership, land usage and natural resource management in contested border areas. Jointly with our partners, Trócaire is also actively involved in policy influencing around land rights issues.
Our work on gender is to increase women’s meaningful participation and decision-making processes in both public and private life on issues related to their rights as well as the rights of their communities and to ensure women’s voices are heard on particularly in the current peace process.
We support women-led organisations to advocate on gender equality, better protection for women, and equal access to resources with both the general public and duty bearers.
We also actively support and work with the Government in advancing the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women in Myanmar.
Together with our local partners Trócaire currently provides humanitarian support to over 40,000 people who have been displaced by fighting in Kachin and northern Shan States.
We have responded to the crisis by providing support in the form of food and cash, livelihoods, water and sanitation and shelter as well as protection services, particularly women and girls in need. With the continuation of this protracted crisis we now work towards sustainable approaches in improving food security and increasing access to livelihood opportunities while strengthening the resilience of communities at the same time.
We work with women and men affected by the conflict in Kachin and northern Shan States helping them to return to a normal life in a safe and peaceful environment by involving women and men in the peace process, making their voice and their aspirations for peace heard and re-building trust in society.
The following organisations are generously funding Trócaire's current programmes in Myanmar:
Life on Hold: Experiences of women displaced by conflict in Kachin State, Myanmar (Burmese summary available)
This research report brings together the voices, and memories of conflict of internally displaced women in Kachin State, as well as their hopes and priorities for peace. In this research, female participants from 12 different camps in both government-controlled areas and KIO-controlled/non-government controlled areas openly share their feelings and needs.
In 2017, Trócaire and Groupe URD undertook research on what ‘localisation’ of humanitarian aid means in practice. Working with Trócaire partners and the wider humanitarian community in Myanmar and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the research examined localisation within the framework of the Grand Bargain.
The final research report will provide recommendations to Trócaire on how to further strengthen partnership work with local actors in humanitarian settings.
Launched in June 2017, ‘Let My Voice Be Heard’ is a photography project involving young people who were forced to flee their homes due to conflict in Kachin State, and are now living in displacement camps. The project was funded by the Durable Peace Project.
Produced by the EU in Myanmar, this short film charts the journey of women leaders in parliament and at community level who have received capacity building training and support.
Myanmar (previously known as Burma) is a country with over 135 distinct ethnic groups. The country is currently going through a period of change towards democracy after decades of military rule and ethnic conflict. A new constitution was introduced in 2008 and elections were held in 2010, although several political parties could not contest the elections.
The opening up of the country has increased tensions over the use of resources. While some major reforms have been brought underway and laws have been amended, repressive laws remain and space for civil society is still constricted, as is the freedom of the media.
Women experience fewer rights than men and there is poor maternal healthcare for many ethnic groups away from the central plains. The human rights record of Myanmar is one of the worst in the world, with the different military forces often carrying out forced labour, extortion and sexual violence against women in ethnic regions.
Conflict continues in the border areas of Kachin, Shan and Rakhine State as well as in the southern eastern parts of Myanmar, leading to over half a million displaced people of which 250,000 currently live in camps.
Through our Church-based network, Trócaire can access camps in remote areas that other organisations cannot.
We currently support over 40,000 people who have been displaced by fighting in parts of Kachin and northern Shan states. Our local partners distribute vital items such as food, water, sanitation and shelter to help people in need while trying to find long-term solutions to displacement.
Myanmar is also one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters in South-East Asia, with a high risk of cyclones, droughts, floods and earthquakes.