Strengthening Myanmar’s capacity to map its own future

Yangon, Myanmar - Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar, a CAD 10.7 million dollar partnership with Global Affairs Canada, is helping women and men from all ethnic background in Myanmar to benefit from a transition to democratic development.

Strengthening Myanmar's capacity to map its own future

Note to journalists: The official launch of this project was on 5 December 2017.

When a new government replaced military rule in 2010, Myanmar started to introduce political reforms that helped to pull the country out of decades of economic and political isolation from the west. In 2015, a historic election heralded the return of democracy in Myanmar, offering further opportunities for development for one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries.

Canadian support to Myanmar has evolved in tandem with political changes in the country. As Myanmar transitions to a democratic government, it is crucial to nurture meaningful dialogue about the process and to promote economic growth and social development that benefits all women and men across the country.

Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar, a CAD 10.7 million dollar partnership with Global Affairs Canada, is helping women and men from all ethnic background in Myanmar to benefit from a transition to democratic development.

During the official launch of the project, Canada’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Karen MacArthur, stated: “Canada is proudly supporting Myanmar’s transition to democracy. IDRC’s “Knowledge for Development Myanmar” project complements Canada’s support by strengthening the capacity of partners for research, dialogue and networking which will lead to inclusive policy development.”

The initiative focuses on building capacity in research and evidence-based policy-making, supporting local research, and connecting researchers in Myanmar to experts in the ASEAN (the Association of South-east Asian Nations) and beyond.

The five-year initiative aims to bring forward effective, country-led solutions and policies that address the needs of the nation, based on rigorous research and analysis.

The initiative will strengthen analytical thinking and research capacity by engaging universities, think tanks, legislators, policymakers, non-governmental organizations and the media.

The initiative will have two thematic objectives:

• Democratic transition: To enhance the number of voices from the country’s states and regions, especially women’s perspectives, that feed into government decision-making.

• Economic development: To understand the barriers for the economic empowerment of women and youth and examine practical solutions to increase their participation in business or paid employment.

Myanmar faces the pressing need for more research and evidence to inform development planning.

Working with other development partners, the initiative strengthens capacities of local researchers, civil servants and parliamentarians, through:

• workshops and training activities, including small research grants

• round tables to discuss research findings openly with wider audiences;

• core funding to independent think tanks in Myanmar to enhance their organizational capacity;

• training for civil servants, parliamentary secretaries, parliamentarians, and others about using evidence in their everyday functions; and

• grants for larger research projects on gender equality and decentralization by research institutions in Myanmar in partnership with international researchers.


The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the prosperity and well-being of an inclusive Myanmar, with a focus on women, rural poor and young people.

Since 2000, Canada has provided over $180 million in official development assistance to Myanmar, primarily through international humanitarian assistance and support of multilateral institutions.

Since 2013, after Canada lifted most of its sanctions, over $95 million have been disbursed to Myanmar through many channels, including the current partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The current partnership with IDRC, a Canadian partner, has focused its efforts on strengthening the capacity for better informed policy making, starting with think tanks, universities, sub-national governments and civil society as a whole.

For more information, contact

Edgard R. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Sr. Program Specialist
Initiative Myanmar
International Development Research Centre
[email protected]

Published: 08 Mar 2018

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