Norwegian Church Aid in Burma/Myanmar
- Presence established: 2008 (projects also supported since early 1990s)
- Funds used in 2015: 16 million NOK
Norwegian Church Aid has been involved in Myanmar and given hope in more than 20 years. We are working with promoting the rights of women and resource governance.
Our programme in Myanmar focuses on gender-based violence and reproductive health, and resource governance.
Gender-based violence is highly prevalend and widespread in Myanmar, including violence in close relationships. It is a serious social, cultural, political and economic problem and a hindrance to women's equal right to participation, education, health, and livelihood. Cultural and social gender norms that condone GBV contribute to its high prevalence independent of culture, religion and ethnicity.
Gender-based violence will be reduced if it is socially condemned, something that will require moral duty bearers to speak out against GBV. NCA will support this change by focusing on advancing the role of women and supporting organizations that address gender inequality; promoting positive masculinity; and fighting violence through support to survivors, advocacy and judiciary measures.
Maternal mortality rates are at 200 per 100 000 live births and 721 per 100 000 in Eastern Myanmar. The main cause of maternal deaths is severe postpartum hemorrhaging. Poor reproductive health before, during and after delivery can significantly increase health risks and mortality rates of both mother and child. Although there are more skilled birth attendants, most births in the country still take place outside professional health facilities.
With health and health-shocks as major contributors to poverty, NCA's focus is on improving basic and community health care for the poorest and most vulnerable and hard to reach communities. Women and children are among the most vulnerable in Myanmar. To improve maternal and child health is imperative to be able to access and use quality health services, which is dependent on improved coverage, professional and skilled staff and cooperation and coordination between civil society and government health providers. Similarly, a balanced dietary intake and access to safe water and sanitation are also necessary for health conditions to improve. NCA will contribute to these changes by training community health staff, advocating and lobbying nationally and internationally and with research on health conditions.
Myanmar’s ability to reduce poverty will depend on its capacity to sustainably manage the environment and natural resource endowments. Historically the country has relied heavily on natural resources for economic growth. Myanmar is rich in natural resources such as natural gas, oil, minerals (coal, copper, lead, gold, etc.) and gem stones (jades, rubies, and sapphires) i.e. more than 2000 mining licenses and 36 oil and gas blocks have been issued.
Yet, there is minimal access to information and transparency in the sector which is compounded by weak policies, legal frameworks and institutions and poor governance. This, combined with a continuing lack of knowledge and space for civil society, presents Myanmar with a major challenge: how will a country rich in natural resources, yet plagued by corruption and a high dependence on an illicit economy, translate such richness for the fulfillment of basic rights and improving the welfare for all Myanmar citizens.
NCA regards the accountable management of natural resources and redistribution of public revenue from this income to be a key driving factor for sustainable and just growth; poverty reduction and ending aid dependency. For the governance of natural resources to be more democratic it is not only the regulatory framework that needs to change but also the behavior of decision makers and other powerful stakeholders. This will only happen if there is international pressure and complaints are recorded and reach duty bearers and there is increased understanding among government officials and awareness in communities.
Norwegian Church Aid believes it is only the people and the communities themselves that can bring about lasting change. We implement our programmes together with local partner organisations and in close contact and coordination with the local government.