Since 2012, World Education has worked closely with the Government of Myanmar and civil society to provide direct assistance to landmine survivors, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and their families in Southeast Myanmar.
World Education's work included establishing disability self-help groups, providing livelihoods support, and initiating and facilitating quarterly victim assistance (VA) and disability working group meetings. The main objective of these working group meetings is to bring together partners working in humanitarian mine action (HMA) and disability activities to identify gaps and ways to improve services for these target communities, all while promoting the inclusion of landmine survivors and PWDs in broader development and socio-economic activities. Working groups also provide a platform for coordination, learning, advocacy and joint action for local and international organizations working on VA and disability issues and involving different government departments in these discussions. Working groups have given PWDs a voice and platform that they previously did not have. Increased coordination has also led to increased awareness on both the gaps and services available to PWDs, increased conversations around disability inclusive development, and greater opportunities to discuss policy and advocacy opportunities for PWDs. While it is a long-term goal to see the DSW take ownership and continue the facilitation of working groups, the department currently lacks the financial and human resources to do so.
To continue the momentum supporting this important state-level advocacy, coordination, and networking platform while simultaneously exploring plans for sustainability and expansion of the working groups, World Education implemented the Promoting Victim Assistance and Disability Working Groups and Advocacy Efforts – Phase 1 project under the larger DAI-administered and USAID-funded Kann Let Project.
Overall the project addressed the limited state-level coordination among groups involved in victim assistance and disability issues, and the limited capacity of landmine survivors and persons with disabilities to advocate for and participate in decision-making processes. World Education organized and facilitated a series of coordination meetings, disability inclusive and advocacy trainings, and community events in Kayah State and Bago Region, two states in which government bodies and civil society organizations are increasingly active in victims assistance and disability issues. Government representatives, landmine survivors, and persons with disabilities participated in the coordination meetings and trainings, resulting in greater sector coordination and capacity of landmine survivors and persons with disabilities to participate.
Under the Promoting Victim Assistance and Disability Working Groups and Advocacy Efforts project, the following was achieved:
- A total of three Victim Assistance/Disability Working Group meetings were co-facilitated with the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) in Kayah State with a total of 99 participants. WE also supported the DSW in establishing a VA/Disability Working Group in Bago and co-facilitated three meetings with a total of 90 participants.
- Two advocacy events were simultaneously hosted on the International Day of Disabled Persons reaching a total of 274 landmine survivors, PWDs, and their families as well as community members and government staff.
- One Self-Help Group Capacity training was facilitated for 19 participants resulting in seven participants establishing the La Min Thit self-help group.
- Two Disability Inclusive Development Trainings were facilitated in Kayah State and Bago Region for a total of 39 participants.
- A Kayah State Service Provider Directory was developed in English to serve as a resource to strengthen referral systems in Kayah State. A total of 500 English copies and 1,000 Burmese copies were distributed throughout the State.