FXB works in Myanmar since 1993 towards fighting against the multidimensional causes of poverty and social injustices
With a population of over 54 million people, Myanmar is among the world’s poorest countries, ranking 148th out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index (2015). The 2015 elections marked a historic milestone in the country’s political and economic transition that began in 2011. The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) swept into power, leading to the parliament’s election of Myanmar’s first civilian state leader in decades. Although some areas in Myanmar are reforming by all means, poverty levels are at an estimated 40% the population. Poverty is twice as high in rural areas where 70% of the population lives. The remote border areas, mainly populated by Myanmar’s minority ethnic groups, as well as areas emerging from conflict are particularly poor (Human Poverty Report 2014). Moreover, one of the consequences of conflict and violence in Myanmar, including the Rohingya crisis, is the displacement of more than 660,000 internally and externally.
The education sector is underdeveloped and unable to provide the necessary work force, both in quantity and quality. As a result, the majority of people entering the labor market lack qualifications, affecting both productivity and the competitiveness of industry and society as a whole, resulting in unemployment and poverty and the social problems that go with them.
In addition, the combination of gender inequality and exposure to violence, harassment and abuse not only remain critical protection risks but serve as a significant impediment to women’s participation in decision making to support recovery, transition, peace building and development. Making Myanmar’s vision for the future – as a modern, developed and democratic nation–a reality means ensuring that women and girls benefit also fully from the advantages of education, participation in the economy through job opportunity and engagement in political sphere.
FXB in action
FXB has provided essential assistance in Myanmar since 1993. The organisation developed programs related to health, education, vocational training and income generating activities, organized HIV/AIDS and human-trafficking campaigns, and has undertaken emergency and reconstruction operations following floods and cyclone Nargis.
More de 300,000 children and adults have benefited from FXB’s presence in their communities.
FXBVillage programs : lifting vulnerable families out of poverty
Following a pragmatic and effective poverty alleviation methodology initiated by FXB in 1991, the FXBVillage model, the organisation supports families – from ethnic minorities, migrant, refugee or displaced – living in extreme poverty in Mon and Kayin States on their way to economic and social autonomy in simultaneously addressing five predominant factors of extreme poverty :
- This integrated approach includes access to food security, adequate health services and disease prevention, education, safe housing and sanitation, and a regular source of income through the creation of micro-enterprises.
- The newly created income generating activities allow gradually families to get enough income to cope with their daily needs and to be delivered from the other drivers of poverty.
- Through the delivery of essential services, FXB ensures that families are thriving and children reach their full potential.
- In order to create lasting and comprehensive impacts, FXB organizes life skills development sessions for direct participants as well as for people in surrounding communities. Many topics are discussed, including family planning, environmental protection, hygiene, health, HIV /AIDS and other diseases prevention, Gender Based Violence, women and children’s rights, access to justice, peacebuilding process among others.
Vocational Training and Life Skills
The objective of this project is to improve access to education and promote self-sufficiency for vulnerable young people disadvantaged in regards with poverty, health, education, gender, and displacement. FXB offers three different kinds of professional training:
- In Shwe Pyi Thar (township of Yangon), between 80 and 150 students are annually trained in weaving, tailoring, interior decoration, furniture making, as well as metal and wood work. The training allows them to acquire the needed skills to find a job in a factory or to open their own workshop.
- In Ngapali, the FXB Hospitality Vocational Training Program is set to provide training opportunities for 50 disadvantaged youth per year to prepare them to work in the hospitality industry in particular, and tourism in general. At the end of their training, the students have the possibility to be assessed by the National Skills Standards Authority (NSSA) for their competencies to be certified.
- FXB Mobile Training Units in remote areas of Myanmar allow vulnerable young women to receive professional training in garment making.
In addition to practical and theoretical training, students receive various courses aiming to improve their life skills and self-esteem, including: non-formal education, personal hygiene, labor code, knowledge in the areas of justice and conflict resolution, prevention of human trafficking and violence against women, human rights, gender equality, HIV / AIDS prevention, sexual and reproductive health and protection of the environment.
Informal Education for Children
Every day, thirty street children who have dropped out of school are welcomed in our Shwe Pyi Thar Center. They receive instruction in math, reading and writing as well as life skills development lessons.
” Women and Girl First Initiative” to promote advocacy and policy for Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
This program, carried out in partnership with UNFPA and in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Sport ( MoHS) and Ministry of Social Welfar, Relief and Resettlement (MSWRR) and national and regional and actors, aimed to inform and train women, youth, adolescents, minorities and other vulnerable and marginalized groups, including those affected by conflict and disaster on sexual and reproductive health.
It also aims to strengthen the capacities to formulate and implement multi-sectorial, rights-based policies and interventions that prevent and mitigate the impact of gender-based violence, especially among the vulnerable and marginalized groups and young people.
This program is developed in Kayin, Kachin, Mon and Rakhine states.
Sunday Empowerment Groups
For more than 15 years, through self-help and Sunday empowerment groups, FXB offers psychological support to people living with HIV/AIDS and their impacted families.
FXB Showroom Yangon – Livelihoods
Address of the showroom: No.294/3, Shwe Gon Daing Road.
Middle Shwe Gon Daing Ward. In Front of Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda
Bahan Township. Yangon. Myanmar – Tel: +95 9 73016552
This showroom, located in the heart of Yangon, offers both local and expatriate clients, hotels, businesses or tourists a varied collection of furniture, lamps, fabrics, carpets, curtains, clothes and toys. These very high quality items are made by a group of 40 people who graduated in textile, weaving, wood or metal at our vocational training center in Shwe Pyi Thar or through one of our mobile trainings.
The profits made are of course used to pay these 40 people and buy the raw materials, but also to provide a small stipend for apprentices from the different sites where FXB undertakes its vocational training programs.
The FXB Showroom is listed and recommended in many tourist guides, including :
Social Developement and community-led development through forum theatre
Human Drama, or community-led development through forum theatre, is the first joint arts for social development programme designed by the British Council and FXB in 2011. Its aim is to raise awareness of and implement behavioural change in health and social issues focusing on reproductive health, HIV/ AIDS, human trafficking, gender equality, gender based violence among young people and their community members and helping them work out solutions for family, social, justice and health issues.
In communities which struggle with the to the aforementioned issues, this ‘edutainment’ programme, which is based on the theatre-for-development techniques, has proven a powerful tool for communication and awareness. Using short plays that are scripted around these issues, the performers encourage communities to actively participate and create a common ground where they can freely express opinions relating to their real life situation and determine together the best possible solution.
Over the years, the project has gained a strong reputation in Burma, both within the British Council and among external organisations. Alongside FXB, ‘forum theatre’ has been used as a tool to enable affected communities across Myanmar to engage in critical discussion on over thirty social issue and the troupe has developed a methodology for social transformation using Forum Theatre, Creativity and Social Research methods (https://www.britishcouncil.org.mm/programmes/arts/human-drama).
This edutainment program is used for various social development and capacity building activities, including:
- FXB, My Justice partner in the Yangon region and Mon State, focuses on poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities, including minority ethnic groups. The goal of My Justice is to provide the people of Myanmar with knowledge, trust and opportunities so that they can resolve conflicts in a fair and equitable manner. Nearly half a century of military rule has seriously undermined the institutions and networks needed to promote the rule of law and its consistent, rights-based application. As a result, the country does not currently have a judiciary capable of delivering justice to the population. The poor and marginalized are particularly affected by the gap between their needs in justice and their access to the formal justice system. FXB use the medium of theatre to raise legal awareness. The project works with communities to collaboratively develop public theatre performances relating to key local justice issues, like women’s rights, gender-based violence and trafficking, child rights, and drug and alcohol abuse. AFXB and Arts For All conduct follow-up activities with theatre organizers to assess the effectiveness of the performances and strengthen relationships with key stakeholders, drawing on legal expertise and community mobilising experience. Communities are also geared towards local organizations that make legal expertise available to those who need it.
- https://myjusticemyanmar.org/films?page=1 : these film follows the theatre group as it hosts a workshop with Ward and Township Administrators and community people, as they assess the issues that are most compelling for the community they are about to address and finally they sketch out the script that moves from etching the problem to articulating the solutions. The film also shows how lawyers from the MyJustice-supported Justice Centres are brought into the community performance to address queries and doubts.
- A troupe from Arts for All has been specially trained in accident prevention and is involved in schools and communities to educate children, cyclists, passengers and drivers of two- or three-wheeled motor vehicles, bus drivers, motorists and communities on the dangers of the road and appropriate behaviors to adopt. Road traffic in Myanmar is experiencing an unprecedented development, concomitant with the democratisation and liberalisation of its economy. Unfortunately, Myanmar’s roads are among the most dangerous in Southeast Asia, killing 12 people a day. In 2017, FXB started a project to aimed to improve the visibility and safety of those most at risk from the road. This project is implemented in 11 different regions of the country and nearly 600,000 people will be sensitised by 2020. Reflective material is also distributed during these sessions.