COVID-19 update

With fewer than a thousand tests administered in Myanmar by the end of March and only one existing diagnostic lab in the country, the epidemic may be spreading invisibly. LWF partner communities, including migrant source communities in border areas and camps for stateless internally displaced populations (IDPs) are especially vulnerable.

LWF has been working in IDP camps for Rohingya and Rakhine population in Rakhine state for years and closely collaborates with state, township, and local authorities to respond to the pandemic. The authorities have also requested assistance with procuring medical equipment and supplies.

LWF work focuses on awareness-raising campaigns, together with local health authorities, in Chin and Rakhine states. Kayin State is facing an influx of migrant workers from neighboring Thailand, and many returning to partner communities in Hlaingbwe and Kyainseikgyi townships lack basic knowledge about the disease. LWF is working with health authorities to disseminate local-language informational materials among communities.

Since 10 April 2020, LWF is adhering to government guidance to limit camp and communities’ expose to COVID-19 by limiting direct contact with local residents. Before, LWF permanent staff were visiting camps and communities to disseminate information about COVID-19. Now, even though we are no longer allowed to go to the camps, we are in constant contact with camp leaders and all LWF camp based volunteers. All camp residents can contact LWF through Camp Management Committees and LWF volunteers. Our teams are on call to respond to any emergency.  We will return to working directly in camps and communities as soon as possible.

LWF is the main coordinating agency for eight IDP camps in Rakhine State. Since the start of 2020, increased armed conflict has brought in hundreds of additional families to urban centers in search of safety and shelter. LWF Myanmar spreads COVID-19 awareness messaging in Rohingya and other local languages. In many communities, even basic measures such as regular hand-washing are a challenge. After a long drought, there is not enough water available.

LWF plans to distribute face masks, soap, and gloves to the communities we serve.

Possibilities for peace

The marked political progress witnessed in Myanmar over the past several years has created new opportunities for a more open and democratic society. Yet such progress must be balanced against the reality of 60 years of military rule still shaping the mindset of the government and the country’s citizens.

In addition, long-standing ethnic tensions continue to erupt in violence, and hundreds of thousands of political and economic refugees remain outside the country.

What we’re doing in Myanmar

As the people of Myanmar rebuild and strengthen their country, the LWF focuses our community-based efforts on emergency response, livelihood and food security, water sanitation and hygiene, disaster risk reduction, and human rights.

When natural and human-made disasters strike, we rely on participatory processes to address vulnerable communities’ basic needs. As we partner with communities to sustainably develop, we help them learn new skills and advocate for improved services and livelihood opportunities.

Community-based field staff helps facilitate interest groups around common concerns including community organization, health, education, agriculture, natural resources, and climate change adaptation. We also partner with like-minded organizations to advocate for pro-poor and rights-based policy change.

Update: 14. April 2020


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Partners and donors

ACT Church of Sweden

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS)

Bread for the World

Christian Aid

Church of Sweden

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia (DFAT)

Diaconia Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren (DECCB)

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH)

European Union

FinnChurch Aid

Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

Myanmar Relief Fund (MRF)



UN Women

LWF education work in Myanmar 2019

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