Disasters in Myanmar
Before the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Myanmar, the economic consequences had already arrived. Disruption to supply chains from China led to mass factory closures and saw thousands of factory workers lose their jobs, without means to compensation.
Healthcare infrastructure in Myanmar, especially in remote, rural areas, is weak; it is estimated the country has just 200 ventilators, which are concentrated in urban centres. Thousands are living in overcrowded sites for internally displaced people.
ActionAid and our local partners are working to stop the spread of the virus through awareness, prevention and protection measures, especially in potential hotspots such as urban areas and camps.
We are also distributing PPE including gloves and masks, and providing food aid or unconditional cash transfers to vulnerable households.
Rohingya refugee crisis
Since violence erupted in Myamar's Rakhine State in August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar, crossing the border into Bangladesh where they're living in makeshift camps.
ActionAid is on the ground in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, with a full-scale humanitarian response that has reached at least 60,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar with emergency food, clean drinking water and hygiene kits including sanitary products, soap and clean underwear.
Training ActionAid Fellows to improve village life
At just 19, Khin Soe is one of the youngest ActionAid Fellows in her region of Pakokku, Myanmar.
As a fellow, she took training from ActionAid on subjects like sustainability, gender equality and human rights, and learned skills including public speaking and problem solving.
Khin Soe said: “Once we started learning about development, we began to understand the real reasons why our villages had problems.
"For instance, neighbours had lost crops when the pond ran dry – it was too small and shallow and we had to share it between four villages. And we had no health clinic.
The course opened my eyes - before I just accepted these problems. I’d never tried to analyse the causes and what we could do about them."
Empowering young women in self-help groups
In a remote village in Myanmar, ActionAid is supporting young women to become economically independent and to know their rights.
With initial funding from ActionAid, the group has begun a group farming initiative, and pooled resources to develop a clothes business in their small community.
They are also saving the collective profits to give small loans to group members who need it, and support members of the community who are elderly or ill. 28-year-old Khin Myaing said:
I am very happy to be a part of this women self-help group. We are very active to do the community development work, even though we are young."
"I am very happy to do the community development as much as I can."