Backgrounder: Canada announces development, peace and security projects for Bangladesh and Myanmar


Canada has announced $206.75 million in development assistance funding for projects in Myanmar and in the district of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, and $2.26 million in funding for the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program. This funding is part of the $288.3 million dedicated to support the next phase of Canada’s strategy to respond to the Rohingya and Myanmar crises.

Development assistance funding: Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh ($117.5 million)

International Labour Organization: Gender-Responsive Skills and Livelihoods ($44 million)

This project aims to address the livelihood challenges of host communities and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. It focuses on the challenges women, youths, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups face. The project contributes to alleviating tensions between both host and refugee communities. Also, it seeks to identify strategies to implement and expand activities for Rohingya refugees, particularly women, to keep their hope for a sustainable return to Myanmar while being productive in Bangladesh. This project is jointly designed and implemented by the International Labour Organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and BRAC.

International Organization for Migration: Localizing Sustainable Development Goals for Local by Local ($10 million)

This project aims to respond to locally identified development priorities in the Cox’s Bazar district. It will implement 108 small-scale infrastructure projects. Seed funds will be established for the creation of pooled financial resources to support local organizations and small-scale entrepreneurship.

United Nations Development Programme: Addressing Environmental Degradation ($30 million)

This project aims to contribute to the environmental rehabilitation and long-term development of the Cox’s Bazar district through supporting an ecologically sustainable approach in the Rohingya refugee camps and in host communities. The project includes providing alternative cooking fuel through the continued provision of liquefied petroleum gas instead of firewood to reduce deforestation in the Cox’s Bazar district and restoring the local forestland and watershed with a view to enhancing climate resilience in the face of landslides, floods and droughts.

BRAC: Addressing Gaps in Refugee Access to Health ($10.5 million)

The project aims to improve the health status of the Rohingya refugees to reduce vulnerabilities in the refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar district and increase the utilization of comprehensive health care services by targeted refugees. The project supports capacity strengthening of up to 13 BRAC health care facilities for delivering comprehensive, environmentally friendly primary health care services, particularly to women and girls, with a special focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, disabilities, mental health and sexual and gender-based violence, as well as offering COVID-19 screening capacity.

Nutrition International: Addressing COVID-19-Related Undernutrition ($6 million)

This project aims to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable and hard-to-reach people, especially women, newborns, children and adolescent girls belonging to host communities in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh. The project offers support in response to undernutrition in these communities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project includes training health workers on how to provide quality nutrition services to vulnerable women, men, girls and boys and training officials on developing a coordinated, gender-responsive and environmentally friendly communication package for improving the nutritional status of hard-to-reach communities.

Plan International Canada: Lifting Healthy and Empowered Girls in Cox’s Bazar ($6.5 million)

This project aims to advance the recognition of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of adolescent girls and young women in Cox’s Bazar host communities and refugee camps. Project activities include organizing young married women’s groups and training them on gender equality and inclusion, SRHR, mental health support, protection and decision-making; training members of men’s clubs on gender equality and inclusion, SRHR, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) prevention and mental health; and training facility and community-based service providers on gender- and adolescent-responsive and inclusive service delivery and referral on SRHR, SGBV and mental health.

BRAC: Local Fund for Programming for Refugees ($10.5 million)

This fund is used for the benefit of Rohingya refugees through building local capacity and delivering interventions by Bangladeshi non-governmental organizations. The project includes funding and capacity development support for a minimum of 23 Bangladeshi organizations in organizational governance, gender equality, environmental integration, results-based management, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, inclusion, humanitarian principles and transparency, as well as financial and fiduciary management, among other areas; and delivering key services such as education, skills, livelihoods and the promotion of gender equality by national and local responders.

Development assistance funding: Myanmar ($89.25 million)

Inter Pares: Strengthening Civil Society in Myanmar ($24.65 million)

This project aims to improve the quality of health and political freedom for people, particularly women and girls, who are marginalized, conflict-affected and part of vulnerable ethnic groups in Myanmar. The project provides technical support to human rights defenders who are part of at-risk ethnic groups for adopting digital technologies and platforms to mitigate risks in a politically charged and fluid security environment. It aims to innovate in areas such as environmental protection, community development projects, health care services and in new partnerships and collaborations.

United Nations Office for Project Services: Livelihoods, Nutrition and Intercommunal Dialogue in Rakhine State, Phase 2 ($15 million)

This project aims to strengthen the resilience and sustainable livelihoods of poor and vulnerable groups in Myanmar, particularly women, internally displaced people, migrants, smallholder farmers, landless people, people with disabilities and those vulnerable to trafficking and forced labour. Under this next phase, the funding supports populations across Myanmar, including those in Rakhine State, by increasing economic opportunities, safeguarding and improving nutrition outcomes and empowering women and ethnic minorities. It enhances and improves intercommunal social cohesion within these communities.

United Nations Office for Project Services: Access to Health Fund ($12 million)

The Access to Health Fund is a multi-donor program that contributes to increasing access to better and more relevant health services for vulnerable populations, strengthening health systems and increasing social cohesion in conflict-affected areas in Myanmar through a gender-sensitive and rights-based approach. Canada’s contribution to the fund strengthens its focus on gender equality, especially as it relates to protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights, with a strong emphasis on supporting local voices and partners, including women-led and women’s rights organizations.

Plan International Canada: Thanaka: Girls’ Power in Myanmar ($8 million)

This project aims to improve the realization of diverse adolescent girls’ and young women’s (AGYW’s) rights to safe, inclusive economic opportunities and sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is a multi-dimensional, rights-based, gender-transformative project for AGYW that aims to prepare them to become gender equality leaders and protect their rights in the areas of economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive health rights. The project equips beneficiaries with critical knowledge, skills and resources, including follow-up services such as job placement or enterprise development to strengthen their economic status and become decision-makers and leaders in their own lives, homes and communities.

Oxfam Canada: Women Leading Durable Solutions in Myanmar ($8 million)

This project aims to empower women and girls, in all their diversity, by increasing awareness of their rights and access to and control of resources and decision-making power, particularly in Rakhine State. This includes engaging with local communities to encourage positive social norms, improving equitable access to essential services and resources and increasing participation and leadership of women and girls in governance structures. The project employs a triple-nexus approach to advance women’s empowerment by coherently integrating humanitarian assistance, long-term development and peace and security to meet women’s needs, mitigate their vulnerabilities and address the underlying drivers of conflict.

International Rescue Committee: Prevention of Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Myanmar ($10 million)

This project aims to improve gender equality, safety and the well-being of women and girls in conflict-affected communities in Myanmar. The interventions focus on safe, quality and integrated sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, and sexual and reproductive health services. It also focuses on women’s organizations’ community of practice to address gender inequalities and challenges through a women and girls-centered approach, focusing on their inclusion in decision-making processes.

ActionAid International: Supporting Democratic Action in Myanmar ($4.6 million)

This project seeks to support local civil society groups, journalists, researchers and media organizations to improve service delivery and support democracy and non-violent advocacy in Myanmar, especially considering the recent military coup. It is based on a 3-pillar approach that builds the capacity of individuals and civil society organizations to advocate and deliver services, strengthens networks and the resiliency of democratic movements and supports gender-responsive pro-democracy women-led research to support long-term policy development.

International Development Research Centre: Protecting the Gains in Myanmar’s Democracy ($7 million)

The project aims to support the development of a strong and well-informed civil society that will contribute to an inclusive and pro-democratic vision of a Myanmar federation, and preserve the democratic gains achieved prior to the 2021 coup. It seeks to nurture public and evidence-based policy discussions within civil society for a federal democracy, to provide a safety net for scholars and activists to support their work on democracy and decentralization and promote research on the role of digital communications on democratic aspirations while addressing gender disparities in digital spaces.

Peace and Stabilization Operations Program funding: Myanmar

Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar ($2.26 million)

This funding will help enhance the investigative capacities of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, enabling the expansion of the investigations and prosecutions of perpetrators of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011.

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