Myanmar is situated in Southeast Asia, bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. The country is rich in natural resources such as petroleum, timber, minerals, gem, natural gas, and hydropower.
Over the last 40 years political, economic and social problems have left Myanmar suffering extreme levels of poverty. Many communities have been affected by conflicts, loss of lands and loss of political freedom. It is one of the few countries in the world where parents are more educated than their children, and skills levels have been in decline for 20-30 years.
In November 2010, political elections heralded the start of a positive move towards democracy. There are hopes of increased opportunity for civil society to become more active and have greater input into discussions and policy creation.
Oxfam in Myanmar
Oxfam’s vision for Myanmar is for all citizens, including women and ethnic nationalities, to be able to enjoy their social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights. We believe it is possible for Myanmar to be led by a government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens; to have a political system everyone can be part of and have a dynamic private sector which works in the interests of the poorest. The focus of our work is now:
- Empowering communities to exercise their own rights and increase their influence on local policies and resource allocation; promoting an accountable civil society which is able to drive pro-poor policies and equitable change.
- Building a responsive local government which can respond to the priorities of its people, engaging networks of communities, civil society and local government in order to work with a wide range of national and international actors.
- Increasing the participation of women in society, helping them to gain positions of leadership and to participate in decision making processes at all levels.
- Working towards a pro-poor private sector to ensure the private sector and the government adopt business practices and policies which benefit poor and vulnerable people.