Myanmar is one of the largest countries in South East Asia in terms of its mass of land and population of about 52 million. Myanmar has vast ethnic diversity comprising a majority Bamars and minority groups such as Shan, Kachin, Kayin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine, and Chin. Myanmar is a multi-ethnic society with diverse indigenous cultures. The majority, 89 per cent, of Myanmar’s citizens are Buddhist.
After decades of military rule, a civil government lead by President Thein Sein took office in 2011. A democratic government lead by the President U Htin Kyaw peacefully took office on 30 March 2016 after the National League for Democracy party lead by Aung San Suu Kyi won the general election in November 2015.
The UN classifies Myanmar as a Least Developed Country (low income, weak human resources and economic vulnerability). The majority of the population (70%) lives and works in rural areas. Livelihoods are subsistence-based, supplemented at times by cottage industries and marketing of surplus produce. Access to markets is often limited and transaction costs are high.
Rural livelihoods in various parts of the country are further compromised by civil unrest, climate factors and natural disasters including earthquake, flood, fire and storms like Cyclone Nargis in 2008, which killed more than 100,000 people. Migration from rural areas is continuous, through trafficking and urban drift.
Recent World Vision Achievments
- Increased access to and quality of early childhood education, non-formal education, and vocational education. During fiscal year 2015, 12,090 children attended 403 World Vision supported Early Childhood Care and Development centres, and 1,406 out of school children attended 71 Non-formal Education centres. 580 youth participated in vocational education courses.
- Supported children and communities through our microfinance program which served 61,429 clients (87 per cent women)
- The 2015 emergency flood response assisted over 60,000 beneficiaries
- Ongoing support to people affected by conflict in Kachin state, including distributing 203 MT of rice
- Encouraged savings practices by setting up 556 Village Saving and Loan Associations in the communities to facilitate internal lending among members
- Continue to work at the community level to organise, facilitate, and sustain over 500 community-based organisations.