Myanmar is a multi-ethnic, multilinguistic and multicultural state. Despite the country’s rich natural resources, Myanmar is one of the least developed countries in Southeast Asia.

Between 2009 and 2014, FRC supported refugees from Myanmar in Thai refugee camps, providing literacy and language education and supporting livelihoods. FRC has been working in Myanmar since 2015 in Kayah State and extended its operation to Kachin State in 2019 with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Finland and UN Organizations such as UNFPA, UN Women, UNOCHA, and UNOPS.

FRC in Myanmar operates to support the resilience of populations living in conflict affected areas, internally displaced persons and to contribute the region’s peaceful development.

Skills and support for a more stable life

The peaceful development of society requires support for the well-being of its people: sustainable societies cannot be built without an adequate standard of living and access to education. Nearly half of the population in Myanmar is under the age of 27. A large proportion of young people belonging to ethnic minorities are either unemployed or unskilled, low-paid workers. The level of education is low, and the quality of vocational education is not sufficient to meet the needs of employers. High unemployment and low levels of education can threaten social stability and jeopardize the transition towards democracy. With the right support, young people can play a key role in the peaceful development of their country.

Gender-based violence against women is particularly prevalent in conflict-affected areas. Livelihood opportunities are often limited, which increases women’s economic dependence and exposes them to violence.

Finnish Refugee Council in Myanmar

FRC’s work in Myanmar focuses on 3 main pillars:

1. Youth skills development

FRC organizes short vocational and life skills development courses for young people in Kayah and Kachin States to improve their employability. FRC particularly supports the livelihoods of the most disadvantaged women by organizing craft skills training, such as sewing, cooking, and hairdressing courses. The courses also include training and support on enhancing interpersonal skills, transferable skills for the workplace, entrepreneurship skills, career guidance, and internship opportunities. Since 2016 FRC in Myanmar has provided life skills training to more than 1 900 youth and over 1 700 youth have received training on market-oriented vocational skills with funding from the Government of Finland (Ministry for Foreign Affairs), the Livelihoods and Food Security fund (LIFT) and Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF).

2. Promoting leadership and strengthening organizational capacity of women and youth led local organizations

FRC Myanmar, works hand in hand with youth-led and women-led organizations in conflict affected areas in Myanmar to promote the leadership and organizational capacities of the local actors for them to deliver inclusive humanitarian and protection assistance to the most vulnerable people in Myanmar.

3. Prevention of and responding to gender-based violence against women and girls

FRC has enhanced the Gender Based Violence protection for women and girls in Kachin and Kayah States by raising GBV awareness at community level, facilitating GBV survivors’ access to response services (e.g., safe houses, emergency support such as health care, food, clothes, safe accommodation, psychosocial support, and legal assistance, and counseling), connecting with relevant local service providers and delivering technical and life skills trainings for women and girls.

Project Summaries

Women and Girls First Programme in Kayah State and COVID-19 Response services in Kachin and Kayah States

Since 2020 with the support of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), FRC has been implementing GBV prevention and response activities in cooperation with partner Local CSOs such as hotline and safehouse including case management, legal service for GBV survivors, dignity kit distribution, and awareness activities in both Kachin and Kayah State. During the covid 19 pandemic, the project was able to contribute to COVID-19 response in hard-to-reach areas in Kachin and Kayah States by distributing 1,117 Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to 4 health posts, hygiene kits to 8,000 women and emergency supply food to 700 people, 80,000 soaps and 80,000 surgical masks.

In addition, FRC has been setting up Women and Girls Center (WGC) in remote areas in Kayah and Kachin and has been using for community awareness and outreach sessions regarding to Gender based Violence, Prevention of Sexual exploitation, and Abuse (PSEA), Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and 21st Century Skills on topics such as building confidence & resilience, critical thinking and overcoming obstacles.

Budget: USD 349,122
Duration: 1 year
Start date: 1.01.2023
Type/Sector: Humanitarian Assistance/Health and Protection
Donor: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

SDG logo with text: 16 Peace, justice and strong insitutions

Enhancing Vocational Education for Youth in conflict affected Kayah and Kachin states

The project is divided two main components:

  1. The provision of market relevant vocational courses at the targeted areas to increase livelihoods and employment or self-employment opportunities of the disadvantaged youth in Myanmar ethnic and conflict affected areas. The project focuses on understanding local demands in skills development, increasing accessibility to vocational education and creating linkages local markets and businesses.
  2.  This project has been designed to empower targeted youth through skill training tailored to meet their community’s specific needs through the provision of 21st Century Skills to the community facilitators from the local CSOs. These facilitators are intended to provide training related to peace and resilience building to the youth groups in targeted IDP camps. Youth leaders are selected for identifying and implementing interventions crucial through implementation of youth-led communities based rapidly impacted projects for their communities to ensures that youth are not only equipped with skills but are also empowered to lead and shape the future in a manner they see just and impactful.

Budget: 1,140,000 Euros
Duration: 4 years
Start date: 1st January 2022
Type/Sector: Development cooperation / Vocational education
Donor: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

SDG logo with text: 10 reduced inequaities
SDG logo with text: 16 Peace, justice and strong insitutions

Live-saving assistance for communities forcibly displaced by the ongoing conflict in Kayah State

The project will target approximately 3,950 internally displaced persons living in 13 IDP camps in Kayah. The project will also aim at reaching persons with disabilities, estimated as 10% of the target population. The conflict affected people will receive food, non-food items such as hygiene kits, cooking equipment or clothes and psychosocial support services. The project will be implemented together with local partners.

Budget: 611 000 EUR 
Duration: 12 months
Start date: 1.4.2024
Type/Sector: Humanitarian
Donor: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Strengthening skills development opportunities in conflict affected areas in Myanmar

The project aims to strengthen youth’s access to e-learning opportunities on life and vocational skills development in conflict affected areas in Myanmar. The project is implemented in Kachin and Kayah states. Together with local partners FRC will develop and pilot an online learning platform through which youth can access vocational and life skills training content on selected topics.

Budget: 49 233 USD
Duration: 6 months
Start date: December 2023
Type/Sector:  Vocational education

Developing vocational training for youth living in conflict in Kayah Province, Myanmar

The project aims to increase both livelihood and employment opportunities for vulnerable youth and self-employment opportunities in ethnic and conflict-affected areas. The project will be implemented in Kayah and Kachin provinces. The project will focus on improving the quality of vocational education and training, linking education and training with local markets and enterprises, and improving access to training. The project will be implemented in cooperation with local partners. The project will target 500 young people and will also train teachers and develop curricula and training materials.

Budget: 480 080 € 
Duration: 4 years
Start date: 1.1.2018
Type/Sector:  Development Cooperation/Ammaterial Education 
Donor: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Civil Society Unit


Promoting Inclusive Women- and Girl-led Protection in Kachin and Kayah

FRC, in collaboration with women-led organizations in Kachin and Kayah states, has successfully secured funding from the Women and Peace Humanitarian Fund for a project titled ” Promoting Inclusive Women- and Girl-led Protection in Kachin & Kayah states. The new project will start on November 2023 and it will benefit estimated 1,500 direct beneficiaries, 85% female and 5% women with disability.  The objective of the project is to enhance the safety, security and mental health of women and girls and to ensure that their human rights are respected in Kachin and Kayah States by enhancing the disability inclusive sexual and gender-based violence protection, mental health and psycho-social supports services provided by women-led partners and informal community women, and girls groups. Women-led and Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and informal women and groups’ capacity to deliver inclusive support services will be strengthened through technical capacity training, networking promotion and facilitation, joint awareness raising.

Budget: 200,000 USD
Duration: 14 months
Start date: 30.9.2023
Type/Sector: Humanitarian Assistance/ Protection
Donor: Women’s Peace and Humanitarian fund

Estimated number of direct beneficiaries- Estimated 1,500 direct beneficiaries, 85% female and 5% women with disability.


Video greetings from vocational course participants

25-year-old graduated from our Basic Computer Training last year. In addition to IT skills, she learned marketing and entrepreneurial skills, and found confidence in herself as a public speaker. Since graduating from the course, she has been employed as a junior clerk by a local bank.Watch all the video greetings from our Youtube channel.


Massimo Lanciotti
Head of Humanitarian Operations and Global Grants
+358 44 709 5807
Myanmar office:
Finnish Refugee Council FRC
#40, Room-101, Myay Nu Street, Myaynigone North Ward,
Sanchaung Township, Yangon, Myanmar
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, With support from Finland's development cooperation
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