Diakonia - People change the world


For over 20 years, Diakonia has been supporting humanitarian and development programmes, both inside Myanmar and on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Diakonia’s partners work in some of the most difficult and conflict-ridden areas in the country. Boosting civil society is a key focus.


Myanmar is one of the largest nations in Southeast Asia, with a population of more than 50 million. It is one of the least developed countries in the world and one of the poorest in the region. 

The country has been subject to severe political repression for decades. Civilian rule was introduced in 2011 amid unprecedented political reforms, and the country is gradually moving towards a democratic society. However, media and information technology are still being controlled and a number of issues need to be addressed, such as nationwide peace and reconciliation, human rights violations, internal displacements, land grabbing, gender-based violence, forced migration and trafficking. The problems are a result of ongoing conflicts, violence and large-scale development projects.

Highly abundant in natural resources, the country steadily registers more than 7 percent GDP growth per year. Yet the majority of the population is lacking access to electricity or basic social and financial services.

Myanmar is at risk in terms of natural disasters. The country is vulnerable to a wide range of hazards, including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis. The likelihood of medium to large-scale natural disasters occurring every few years is high.

Our work in Myanmar

For over 20 years, Diakonia has been supporting humanitarian and development programmes, both inside the country and on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Boosting civil society is a key focus. Diakonia’s partners work in some of the most difficult and conflict-ridden areas in the country. They help build capacity at both organizational and community level. Local community structures such as village development committees share responsibility for ensuring people’s livelihoods and access to health and education. Mobilisation for collective action strengthens dialogue with duty bearers and increases platforms to influence policy towards the protection of human rights.

Partners working on gender equality are aiming to achieve a decline in gender based violence and discrimination and pave the way for improvement in terms of cultural and religious diversity, peace building, democratic development, disaster resilience and sustainable development.

Diakonia also supports the work to protect and assist displaced people and migrants in Thailand through the Border Consortium, providing food and shelter to around 100,000 refugees in camps, as well as engaging in advocacy.

Diakonia’s work makes a difference

For more than a decade, Diakonia has worked closely with local civil society organisations and local partners to raise awareness of gender based violence, particularly the role of men in ending the cycle of violence.

Through direct technical assistance, as well as multi-level partnerships in different states and regions, Diakonia and partner organizations strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to promote gender equality among young people, in communities and religious institutions. This has been achieved by conducting training programmes and awareness campaigns on sexual and reproductive health and rights, LGBTI, domestic violence, migration and trafficking.

Due to our partners’ work, a number of women have escaped from situations of gender-based violence and been reintegrated in their families and communities with dignity. Awareness of gender based violence issues has increased in communities, and some media have improved gender sensitivity in news, publishing and broadcasting.  

Read more about our work in Myanmar

  • Gained independency thanks to a self-help group

    A self-help group, a grant and gender awareness. Those were the components that changed Shwe Sin Myint’s and her family’s life. Now she is running her own business and instead of telling her to take care of the...
  • Works to strenghten transgender people

    Transgender persons in Myanmar / Burma face difficulties in all areas of society. Bullying in school, discrimination in the labour market and harassment are common. In popular culture, jokes are prevalent.
  • From silent to dedicated activist

    Alizabeth Chaw is a busy woman. Despite previously being afraid of speaking in front of people, she is now a dedicated activist for land rights, peacebuilding, and against gender-based violence. The change came...
  • Myanmar: I want everyone to know about the violence

    Gender-based violence is a big problem in Myanmar. Some say it’s because there has been a culture of violence during all those years under the military regime. “Most people think that men are superior and have...
  • Myanmar: Learning to speak out about the violence

    There are many different ethnic groups in Myanmar, all with their own traditions and cultures. But they have one thing in common – the understanding that men are superior to women.
  • People are unaware of being abused

    “In Myanmar, domestic violence is widespread, but people don’t want to talk about it. Most people see men as superior and they think the man has the right to beat his wife and children. Neither men nor women...
  • Myanmar: “We all have a responsibility to end the violence"

    When Saw Neldar first heard of a training course on gender roles and gender-based violence, he wasn’t at all interested; however, a friend convinced him to attend. Now, he is working as a volunteer, promoting...
  • San fights for the children’s future

    A third of all children in Myanmar aren’t able to go to school. They have to work to contribute to the family’s livelihood. “Most children work in agriculture, factories, restaurants and in Rangoon’s simple...
  • Myanmar

    For over 20 years, Diakonia has been supporting humanitarian and development programmes both inside the country and at the Thailand-Myanmar border. Diakonia’s partners are working in some of the most difficult and conflict-ridden conditions in the country. Strengthening civil society is a key focus. Diakonia in Myanmar