The aim of this project is to support conflict-affected communities in Myanmar to build back better as they recover from the health, social and economic fallout of COVID-19. It focuses on empowering vulnerable communities to build long-term resilience to crises, be they health emergencies, conflict flare-ups or climate-related disasters
In the year one of implementation, through extensive training and awareness raising through this project, there have been notable improvements in knowledge and practices regarding emergency health and nutrition. Approximately 1,512 community members and a further 10,000 Facebook users have been reached with information about COVID 19, public health emergencies, breast feeding and supplemental food feeding as well as, gender-based violence. Early Warning Systems (EWS) for flooding have also been implemented. The training is delivered in three different languages (Myanmar, Shan and Kachin) and has resulted in behavioural change amongst community members, with reports of communities now wearing masks, asking for vaccines and seeking nutrition advice.
The roles of women are also being acknowledged and gender-based violence issues are being raised. The project has also led to the successful establishment and training of 46 taskforce committees in 29 villages and 2 camps for internally displaced people. These taskforce committees collectively have 253 members, including village leaders, camp management committees, religious leaders and community representatives from different ethnicities and religions.
25 community preparedness action plans have been developed through the Participatory Vulnerability Community Assessment (PVCA) approach which is a particularly effective way of including communities in development plans. As a result of PVCA exercises communities have learned how to assess their own vulnerability and make an assessment and hazard ranking. They now understand the importance and usefulness of early warning systems (EWS) which will support them to be better prepared for any health and disaster risks that occur in future.
15 community action plans have already been implemented through small grants. These plans include first aid training and equipment, provision of PPE and nurse aids, provision of water, technical training on agriculture and creation of livelihoods opportunities. Crucially these interventions are based on what the community themselves are expressing as their priority needs. We will continue to support implementation of community action plans over the coming year, moving from a focus on health interventions to wider support. These seed grants help stimulate wider change but also crucially put the power in the hands of the communities themselves.
Leveraging additional support
The Christian Aid Myanmar team, alongside two key ITL project partners, Golden Pearl and CHAD, and other local partners, are delighted that they have been able to secure $1.2m of UN funding to meet food and nutritional needs of conflict affected people including internally displaced communities/host communities; vulnerable groups and other marginalised individuals and households in the project target states.
This new project will help 66,032 individuals to adapt their farming in a changing climate and ensure they are growing the most nutritious crops.
The project has been designed based on the learning from the ITL project about how to adopt a holistic and community-centred approach to community resilience and is a great example of how seed funding from ITL has leveraged significantly more support, which will amplify the benefit for the project communities.