UNICEF in Myanmar
UNICEF has been working in Myanmar continuously since April 1950. Despite difficult political and economic circumstances, UNICEF helped to successfully initiate programmes to protect children against small pox, leprosy and yaws. Over time, UNICEF expanded its programs to support the development of rural health services, basic education for children, and community water supply and sanitation systems. UNICEF also advocated for Myanmar's accession to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which the government ratified in the 1990s.
For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been working to positively change the lives of Myanmar’s children. Through its strong working relationship with the Government of Myanmar over the decades and significant engagement with other stakeholders, UNICEF is positioning itself to continue and strengthen its efforts to improve children’s lives.
The ongoing political and economic reform process including decentralization provides a good opportunity for UNICEF to continue working with Government and other partners and achieve major gains for all children. The current country programme (2011-2015) has been extended to 2017 to ensure that the opportunities provided by various reforms are effectively tapped to accelerate results for children, especially the most marginalized.
In this context, UNICEF support will focus on strengthening systems in education, health and nutrition, WASH and child protection and making them accessible to the most disadvantaged, including through opportunities generated by decentralization. It will support capacity building at Union, State and Townships levels to develop and implement plans and budgets for children. The current momentum of engagement in various sector reforms will continue, and support will be provided towards the development of policies and legislation that will enable wider and accelerated realisation of children’s rights.
UNICEF will systematically implement a comprehensive advocacy strategy to influence a range of decision makers and other relevant audiences. UNICEF has identified 4 office-wide advocacy priorities for the period 2014-2017: increasing public finance for children; protecting and promoting the rights of all children in Rakhine State; children affected by armed conflict; and the first 1000 days of a child’s life.