Keeping Children Safe in Myanmar30. 1. 2020
To build resilience in security-challenged parts of Myanmar, People in Need (PIN) established a community-based protection group in Minbya Township, in Rakhine State.
The main goals of the eight-member groups are to increase awareness of the rights of children, and to educate children and their parents on gender-related issues. PIN has also provided trainings to community members to improve protections for vulnerable groups – including children – in the region.
Mapping risks in the village
For Daw Ma Win, a protection group member, helping to improve the safety of her village has been an honor, and a responsibility. “This is my passion, to do such work, even though it makes me very busy in my daily life,” she says. Win and other members are mapping risks in their village and identifying places that are safe for children. Working with other stakeholders, the group aims to protect the main road by which children travel to and from school.
“The villagers, especially the older people, are really recognizing our work; they thank People in Need for sharing with us the basic knowledge of how to protect children,” she adds.
Establishing communication channels for referrals
In parallel to the physical work of security, PIN has also helped establish systems for people to refer children in need to relevant child-protection services. Additionally, PIN is advising people on how to engage with local authorities on these issues. “So far, we do not have child abuse cases in our village, but we now have knowledge of how to manage cases [if they arise], and where to refer children if something needs to be followed up,” says Win.
To sustain these efforts, PIN provided each group with grants to strengthen response capabilities and to raise awareness for events such as World Children’s Day. As Win said, “children are really happy to join the event.”
Due to the worsening security situation in Rakhine State, PIN has recently reduced its work in the region. That said, Win believes her group’s work will continue, aiding in efforts to help her community develop sustainable livelihoods and invest more in health and education.
The community-based protection group project was funded by the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund, and supported by People for People, a Myanmar-based organization that targeted 37 non-displaced communities that have been affected by ongoing conflict.