Individuals served in FY20: 4,420
- Through new construction –135
- Through incremental building –3,910
- Through repairs –375
Volunteers engaged in FY20: 290
- Population: over 54 million
- Life expectancy: 66.9 years
- Unemployment rate: 0.5 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 24.8 percent
Source: World Bank, World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Myanmar
Habitat for Humanity’s involvement in Myanmar arose after the devastating Cyclone Nargis struck on May 2, 2008. Together with its partner World Concern, Habitat for Humanity built and repaired more than 1,700 core houses in the worst-hit Ayeyarwady delta as part of World Concern’s integrated multi- sector disaster recovery program. In January 2014, Habitat for Humanity began projects in water and sanitation with disaster risk reduction with World Concern.
The housing need in Myanmar
At least 1 million people in Myanmar are in need of humanitarian assistance including shelter due to armed conflict, vulnerability to natural hazards or intercommunal violence, according to the United Nations. A population and housing census in 2014 showed that close to 81% of housing units in Myanmar were not durable, about 28% of households obtained their drinking water from unsafe sources, and nearly 14% did not have a toilet.
Habitat for Humanity started working through partners in Myanmar after the devastating Cyclone Nargis in 2008. The office in Yangon opened in 2014 and direct project implementation began in 2016.
How Habitat addresses the need in Myanmar
Improving housing and human settlements
In Myanmar, Habitat contributes to the development of low-income communities by partnering with village and ward committees and increasing access to water and sanitation services at the household and community levels. Habitat partners with the Department of Rural Development and Yangon City Development Committee and works directly with local and school committees in project delivery. Before Myanmar restricted mass gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, Habitat had raised awareness of proper sanitation and hygiene in schools and in local communities through the community-led total sanitation and participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation approaches. During the pandemic, Habitat distributed hygiene kits and posters on COVID-19 prevention to quarantine centers and hospitals.
In 2020, Habitat re-activated its membership in the Myanmar Shelter Cluster, an inter-agency group that aims to provide people affected by violence and conflict with safe, dignified and appropriate living conditions, as well as access to essential services, while seeking durable solutions.
Raising awareness and mobilizing volunteers
Since March 2020, Habitat has suspended hosting international volunteers under the Global Village program in Bago region, north of Yangon. Both our staff and those of our partners have reduced travels and site visits due to COVID-19 restrictions. Local community volunteers have stepped up, particularly during activity implementation. These volunteers, who help to monitor the construction work and supervise workers, will report daily to Habitat.