In an evolving, ongoing crisis, our partners must have the flexibility to adapt their programmes. We are currently meeting the immediate needs following the military coup. In 2020, we were one of the first instruments to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, with additional funding for prevention and control.
We enable our partners to change their response and ensure those affected by crisis continue to have access to essential services in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), food, nutrition, health and protection, and COVID-19 prevention measures. We are increasingly supporting cash for food instead of in-kind food rations, to offer conflict-affected populations more dignified ways of receiving assistance and give them a choice over the items they purchase.
Our grants provide predictable, multi-year funding. They enable our partners to trial different ways of working and adopt longer-term, more strategic approaches.
To date, we have managed 74 grants with 54 local, national and international partners to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations in Myanmar. We design them to cover a range of needs:
We provide humanitarian assistance at scale to meet the immediate, acute needs of conflict-affected populations, primarily IDPs and refugees, in Rakhine, Kachin and Northern Shan states, and on the border with Thailand. We have granted over £56 million through our delivery grants mostly for cash for food, non-food items, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, and protection.
We have granted 30 delivery grants for a total of over £56 million to 23 partners.
For example, on humanitarian WASH, we are the largest donor, providing essentials WASH services to 70% of internally displaced people in protracted camps in Rakhine state.
We are increasingly replacing in-kind assistance with cash. We know that he availability of cash, where markets are available, can boost the locally economy, provides better value for money than transporting goods, and helps restore a sense of dignity among crisis affected populations.
Learn more about what we do in multiple sectors to provide immediate relief to conflict affected populations.
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit Myanmar mid August, with 140,000 active cases and 3,000 deaths by the end of January 2021. The stay-at-home orders, and other restrictions in place to contain the pandemic meant that access to IDPs, and to vulnerable populations in remote areas became even more restricted.
We granted over £5 million (of which £4.3 additional funding) to enable our partners in Rakhine, Kachin, Northern Shan and the southeast to incorporate COVID-19 prevention and control activities in their existing projects, or put in place new projects specifically designed to control the spread of the pandemic among vulnerable populations. These could be awareness raising activities, soaps and personal protection equipment distribution in camps, or contracting local tailors to make reusable facemasks – and earn a livelihood in the process.
We have reached over 500,000 people COVID-19 services across camps, villages and schools, and over 196 IDP camps with COVID-19 food provisions, WASH and hygiene services and cash assistance. Support has also been given to quarantine centres to ensure adequate provisions for migrants returning from the border of Thailand.
Through our partner, we filled a gap in the COVID-19 response in Kyauk Phyu in Rakhine by turning the attention on the people in quarantine centres. The five quarantine centres in the town’s schools did not provide either protection equipment for the volunteers running the centres, or food and hygiene products for the people in quarantine. Our partner provided them with food and hygiene kits, and had reached 300 people by the end of December 2020.
In addition, our partner also supported the response in the broader community, distributing food to 1,260 households affected by COVID-19 income loss, as well as basic health items to impoverished groups, in an effort to slow down the rate of infection.
Our Rapid Response Fund (RRF) is designed to respond to quick onset emergencies, typically extreme climatic events such as floods and cyclones or displacement due to spikes in conflict. We pre-select potential partners across hazard-prone areas of Myanmar to ensure rapid response and access to funds. We have funded 17 RRF grants in Rakhine, Kachin and Kayin.
Renewed fighting in Kachin between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army resulted in increased displacements. Approximately 5,000 newly arrived IDPs in 34 camps in Kachin state received non-food items, cash for supplementary food and educational support.
Humanitarian agencies have very limited access to Rakhine and Northern Shan States, which have seen ongoing conflict for many years. Both these states experience constant spikes in humanitarian need, especially Rakhine.
The COVID-19 outbreak has added additional movement restrictions, together with the military coup in early 2021. Responders are therefore finding it progressively harder-to-reach the people with the severest needs.
All our work is designed to build the capabilities of national partners to lead the humanitarian response. Through the trust we build with our partners, we empower them to deliver aid in hard to reach areas, conflict-affected and COVID-19 areas, and support them with systems and processes to ensure HARP-F always meets the highest standards of delivery.
We are rolling out our Remote Partnership Programming Toolkit with partners, adapting it to fit the partner and the particular context they are working in. Some may be delivering aid directly, others may have smaller partners or staff doing it, others may need to work with the camp management committees.