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A woman wearing a face mask installs a COVID-19 social distancing poster in a village in Kayin State
Installing a COVID-19 social distancing poster in a village in Kayin State
Photo credit: Hong Sar/PACT Myanmar

Burma embarked on a long and challenging process of democratic and economic reforms following its peaceful transition to a civilian-led government in 2016. On February 2, 2021 the U.S. Department of State assessed that the Burmese military’s actions on February 1, having deposed the duly elected head of government, constituted a military coup d’etat. USAID works with Myanmar’s civil society, local organizations, and other partners to reinforce democratic values and support the people of Burma who are working to build an inclusive, prosperous future for all people in Burma.

USAID promotes and protects human rights, mitigates conflict, supports democratic processes, and improves access to life-saving services for underserved and disenfranchised communities. USAID helps vulnerable communities across Burma to overcome development challenges. USAID works to expand the exercise of fundamental rights, bolster inclusive economic growth and improve health outcomes, and mitigates transnational health threats such as COVID-19, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. 

DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Ongoing conflict and use of force threatens Burma’s future as a resilient, democratic society. USAID promotes tolerance and inclusion, and encourages citizen participation in efforts to address intercommunal conflict, including in Rakhine State. Between 2017 and 2020, USAID funded 1,500 training activities and events to build support for peace and reconciliation and trained 258 local organizations to improve conflict resolution skills. Still, development challenges that stem from the legacy of authoritarian government, limited judicial independence and repression of basic freedoms pose challenges. To help empower civil society and restore basic freedoms, USAID has trained 255 independent media outlets on unbiased reporting, strengthened the capacity of 235 civil society organizations to advocate for democratic reforms. 

ECONOMIC GROWTH

USAID addresses the economic drivers of conflict, promotes democratic dialogue by creating economic linkages between communities, and promotes responsible and transparent business with a broad range of partners. Since 2018, USAID’s investments in agriculture helped benefit more than 670,000 households and encouraged the adoption of improved technologies that led to higher incomes — including for marginalized populations in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states. 

HEALTH

Millions of Burmese living in conflict-affected communities and peri-urban migrant neighborhoods lack access to basic health care. USAID works in underserved areas and improves access to health care to reduce maternal and child mortality and mitigate the transnational health risks of infectious diseases like COVID-19, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. Thanks in part to USAID’s assistance, Burma recorded an 88 percent decline in reported malaria cases and a 96 percent decline in reported malaria deaths since 2012. USAID supports a network of civil society organizations to provide advocacy, training, and support for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. The percentage of patients diagnosed with multidrug resistant tuberculosis who started treatment jumped from 24 percent in 2011 to 96 percent in 2020. 

Last updated: February 20, 2021

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