Myanmar is a multi-ethnic, multilinguistic and multicultural state where democratic development is still in progress. 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. The majority of the refugees in the camps came from Myanmar’s Kayin and Kayah states.

FRC began operating in Kayah in 2015 and is now expanding activities to Kachin. The shift of operations onto Myanmar was carried out in order to support populations living in long-term conflict zones, internally displaced persons and to support 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 jeopardise 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 two main components:

1. Vocational short courses

FRC organises short courses for young people in Kayah and Kachin in order to provide them with employability-improving practical skills, such as masonry and motorcycle repairs. The courses also focus on transferable skills for the workplace, career guidance and internship opportunities. FRC particularly supports the livelihoods of the most disadvantaged women by organising craft skills training, such as sewing courses.

2. Eradicating gender-based violence

FRC supports the prevention of violence against women and support for its victims and Kachin. Those living in remote border regions can be reached by training midwives working in areas governed by ethnic armies. FRC’s partner maintains shelters in the town of Loikaw for victims of sexual violence. The shelters also operate a 24/7 Help Line, which provides support for those who have experienced violence. People are also educated on the prevention of sexual violence against women and on best practices in cases of rape.

Project Summaries

Vocational Education to Support IDPs and Host Communities (VESI) in Kachin and Northern Shan State

FRC is member of a consortium led by ADRA Myanmar (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) formed to implement the project which aims at facilitating the access of youth from target Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps and host communities to non-farm livelihood opportunities by their participation to market-oriented and competence based vocational education short-courses. These courses will be provided in cooperation with Government Technological High Schools in Myitkyina, Bhamo (Kachin) and Lashio (Northern Shan State). Among the expected results, at least 1,650 youth will attend the planned short courses, 7 new curricula will be designed, 36 teachers trained and over 100 private companies engaged.

Budget: overall USD 2,200,000 (USD 724,998 under FRC)
Duration: 3 years
Start date: 1.07.2019
Type/Sector: Development Aid/Livelihoods
Donor: Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT): as of October 2020, the current donors of LIFT are the UK, the EU, Australia, Switzerland, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Ireland.

Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Kachin State, Myanmar

The project aims at enhancing the GBV protection system meant to prevent and respond to GBV threats by providing support to victims, strengthening the capacity of key actors to improve the existing referral system and further raise awareness on GBV among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host communities.

A network of community facilitators, whose capacity will be enhanced, will act as GBV focal persons at IDP camp level. The staff from key service providers will be trained to support GBV survivors. Access to legal assistance, formal and informal, will be provided to GBV survivals and Safe House and 24/7 Help-line support will ensure enhanced protection to GBV victims.

Approximately 24.000 people living in 30 IDP camps, in Government and Non Government Controlled Areas and in surrounding villages in Myitkyina, Hpakant and Waingmaw townships will benefit, directly or indirectly, by the project.

Budget: EUR 400,000
Duration: 1 year
Start date: originally 1.04.20 – postponed to May 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic
Type/Sector: Humanitarian assistance/Protection
Donor: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland – Humanitarian office

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

This project is divided into two components:

  1. GBV response services and safe space for GBV survivors, as well as community awareness sessions will be provided by building the capacity of FRC local partner in Kayah State, south east Myanmar: Trainings on Psycho-social support, gender and GBV will be arranged for 20 peer facilitators and diverse services (i.e.24/7 Help-line, safehouse and counselling and legal services) will be ensured to approximately 200 women and girls.
  2. Contribution 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.

Budget: USD 171.907
Duration: 1 year
Start date: 1.01.2020
Type/Sector: Humanitarian Assistance/Health and Protection
Donor: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Enhancing GBV protection in NGCAs in Kachin State

The project aims at enhancing the GBV protection system meant to prevent and respond to GBV risks in IDP camps located in Non-Government Controlled Areas only in Bhamo and Waingmaw Townships by raising awareness on GBV in targeted IDP camps and neighboring villages, providing support to victims, engaging target communities and strengthen their capacity to respond to GBV threats, and improving the existing referral system.

A network of community paralegal facilitators, whose capacity will be enhanced, will act as GBV focal persons at IDP camp level. The staff from key actors will be made more familiar with GBV issues. Access to legal assistance, formal and informal, will be provided to GBV survivors and a Safe House and 24/7 Help-line support will be set up to ensure enhanced protection to GBV victims. Approximately 14.720 people living in the 15 selected IDP camps in NGCAs will benefit, directly or indirectly, from the project.

Budget: USD 127,022
Duration: 1 Year
Start date: originally 1.09.2020 postponed to November 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic
Type/Sector: Humanitarian assistance/Protection
Donor: Myanmar Humanitarian Fund

Enhancing Vocational Education for Youth in conflict affected Kayah state

The project aims to increase livelihoods and employment or self-employment opportunities of the disadvantaged youth in Myanmar ethnic and conflict affected areas, in Kayah State.

It is located in Kayah State; Loikaw, Demawso, Hpruso, Bawlakhae, Hpasawng, Mese and Shadaw Townships and surrounding villages.

The project focuses in developing quality of the trainings, increasing accessibility to vocational education and creating links local market and businesses. The project target 500 youths, additionally it train teachers and develop curriculums and training materials.

Budget: 480 080 Euros
Duration: 4 years
Start date: 1st January 2018
Type/Sector: Development cooperation / Vocational education
Donor: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

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.


Country Director Piya Muqit
sridevi.srinivasan (at)
+95 9 42 115 1420
Myanmar office:
Finnish Refugee Council FRC
#11, 4th Floor Royal White Elephant Business Center
Kan Road
Hlaing Township, Yangon
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, With support from Finland's development cooperation
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