Myanmar (Burma) | ActionAid UK

Myanmar (Burma)

  • 33
    One in three people live in poverty.1
  • 35
    35% of children under the age of five have stunted growth.2
  • 500
    Violence in Rakhine State led 500,000 people to flee the country.

Women's rights and poverty in Myanmar

Opportunities for ordinary women in Myanmar remain limited. Women lack adequate access health services, and there is still gender inequality in education access.

Despite anti-trafficking laws, human trafficking remains a significant issue; in many cases women are trafficked as 'brides'.1

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s poorest people are particularly vulnerable to climate change, and are experiencing more frequent floods, droughts, and cyclones.

In 2015, heavy rains brought intense flooding and landslides to Myanmar, displacing over 1.6 million people. 

  • 1.

Daw Soe Soe works on the small piece of land she farms with her husband. Their daughter is sponsored by ActionAid.

Daw Soe Soe works on the small piece of land that she farms with her husband. Their daughter is sponsored by ActionAid.

Photo: Greg Funnell/ActionAid

What we do in Myanmar

ActionAid works to tackle violence against women in Myanmar, including by training community paralegals in basic legal skills, and providing free legal aid to women who have survived violence, so that perpetrators can be held to account.

To change attitudes, we train male community leaders in cultivating zero tolerance policies toward violence among their male networks.

We also train government staff, including the police force, on the implementation of laws and policies designed to prevent violence against women. 

Supporting women's economic empowerment

ActionAid helps women in Myanmar to set up their own small businesses, and develop the skills and capacity they need to escape poverty.

We support farmers to set up self-help business groups, which provide access to seedbanks and loans on a revolving basis so they don’t have to rely on moneylenders with high interest rates. 

And we support fishers and farmers with the skills and tools they need to become resilient to earthquakes and disasters as the climate changes.


Disasters in Myanmar

Coronavirus crisis

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.

See more about our Coronavirus Appeal, and how you can help

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.

Read more about the Rohingya refugee crisis, and find out how you can help