We work to provide the most vulnerable populations in Myanmar with access to essential services: water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, food, healthcare and protection.
Ensuring clean water for drinking is an obvious immediate priority in humanitarian response, yet water is also a necessity for food preparation, maintaining sanitary conditions and preventing the spread of disease – including COVID-19.
In Myanmar, HARP-F is the largest funder of humanitarian water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH), directly reaching over 231,000 conflict-affected people in Rakhine, Kachin, and Northern Shan states. We look for partners who focus on developing sustainable WASH systems.
In Rakhine, HARP-F provides essentials WASH services to 70% of internally displaced people (IDPs) in protracted camps in Rakhine state. We first brought the infrastructure in IDP camps up to the required standards and then handed them over to groups of households. We are now pushing for more decentralised, self-managed systems to engage the communities in providing WASH services and building their self-reliance.
Food security and malnutrition remain a major concern in humanitarian emergencies. We work with partners across the country to ensure the people of Myanmar their fundamental right to adequate food, to maintain well-being and nutritional status.
Over 92,0000 people, primarily internally displaced people on the border with Thailand, have received nutrition program support. This is done often in the face of challenging security and access conditions, with internally displaced people being the primary receivers of the nutrition programs.
In Rakhine alone, one of our partners is reaching 30,000 people with innovative action to ensure early detection of malnutrition and prevent long-term impairment. The project introduced a simplified protocol for mother mid-upper arm circumference screening, an approach where mothers are trained to screen for acute malnutrition in their children. It also includes disability-specific interventions to treat acute malnutrition.
In Kachin, we helped a local organisation implement a Community Health and Development programme and release assessments on the nutritional status of mothers and children in two townships.
As of end of September 2020, over 176,000 people were benefitting from food assistance, mostly on the Thai border, and in Rakhine and Kachin States.
This can be in the form of direct food distribution, of rice, beans, salt and oil. But increasingly, we are 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. The Food Card system is such a method, providing households with electronic cards loaded with credit each month instead of in-kind food rations.
By the end of March 2020, approximately 62% of refugee population in nine camps at the border with Thailand received basic food assistance through a food card system (FCS) progressively established in eight camps. FCS is an automated system that provides refugee households with electronic cards loaded with credit each month in lieu of receiving in-kind food rations. With the cards, refugees can purchase a wide range of food items from participating refugee-managed shops in the camps. This enables households to diversify their diets and allows more decision-making about household finances.
We collaborate with both international and local partners to address healthcare issues in Myanmar and to enhance local capacity to improve access to better healthcare services for those most in need. This is particularly important where there are service gaps in Non-Government Controlled Areas (NGCA).
Through our partner, we provided essential medicines and health equipment and ensured supplies were available in 26 clinics attached to IDP camps and host communities in Kachin. As a result, approximately 58,000 people benefited from improved health services.
HARP-F also provides capacity enhancement support to partners on health education or specific health technical capabilities. For example, we supported health training and a ‘Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices’ survey on common health problems in IDP camps in Kachin. This resulted in a local authority developing training guidelines for pharmacy management, as well as a health information management system for field clinics.
Myanmar is a country with high protection needs, where the population faces situations of armed conflicts, disaster risk, gender-based violence and inter-communal conflict.
We focus on improving the safety, well-being and dignity of populations in vulnerable states of Myanmar, such as Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan and the Thai border. We work on child protection, general protection and, return and resettlement programs. We also aim to increase the protection of persons with disabilities, give them equal access to humanitarian assistance and services and improve their living conditions.
We are increasing the use of cash-based assistance in Myanmar's humanitarian response, rather than in-kind assistance.
When goods are accessible locally, cash-based programming is more cost-effective than bringing in supplies from other areas. Cash incentives can boost local markets and provide those in need with a diverse set of goods and services. For crisis-affected populations, receiving cash can provide a sense of restored power over their immediate situation and reduces the use of negative coping strategies. By allowing families to choose items they most need and provide for the welfare of their families, cash-based assistance both restores choice and dignity.
One of our partners has rolled out an e-voucher cash programme in seven Rakhine townships, with a total of 21,000 people having received e-vouchers, supporting over 4,200 households. This is the first initiative of this kind in Rakhine.
The e-vouchers enable beneficiaries to choose the goods they need the most, thereby meeting their needs more effectively, while also supporting the local economy. We trained the vendors and local partners remotely to be able to continue roll-out despite access restrictions and the COVID-19 lockdowns.