Strengthening Civil Society in Myanmar – Paung Ku

In Myanmar, civic space has considerably shrunk since the military coup. In the absence of a legitimate government, networks of independent civil society organisations (CSOs) are essential actors for basic service provision and promotion of democratic values and human rights. Showing commitment to localisation, Switzerland will enable local CSOs to further support vulnerable communities and to protect the foundations of a pluralistic and inclusive society.  

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Changement climatique & environnement
Aide humanitaire & RRC
Agriculture et sécurité alimentaire
Participation démocratique et société civile
Système de santé primaire
Assistance matérielle
Protection, accès & sécurité
Politique de sécurité alimentaire
Protection de la biosphère
Gestion des finances publiques
Renforcement des systèmes de santé
01.07.2023 - 30.06.2027
CHF  5’500’000

From 2012, Myanmar underwent a threefold transition to peace, democracy and a market economy. The military coup d’Etat in February 2021 brought this development to an abrupt end. The country is experiencing a deteriorating political, conflict and economic situation. This decline has led to increasing needs and numbers of vulnerable communities and households. At the same time, the willingness and ability of the State Administrative Council (SAC) to respond to these needs has decreased. Communities are relying less on public services, but rather turning inward and relying more on mutual support and self-reliance. 

In spite of multiple constraints imposed by the regime, CSOs have gained unprecedented value and relevance since the coup. CSOs perform a dual function: they both provide services to the population in the absence of functioning state institutions and continue to defend fundamental democratic rights and principles. However, they need continued flexible commitment from donors to assist communities and to promote non-violent political and social change. In Myanmar, Switzerland has been in the forefront of supporting civil society and brings comparative advantage from its leadership role in promoting the Localisation of Aid Agenda. 

Objectifs The overall goal of the project is to protect democratic, inclusive and rights-based civic space with the potential to contribute to positive political and social change.  
Groupes cibles

500 local CSOs

This support will indirectly benefit to at least 1.2 million conflict-affected or vulnerable communities in both government-controlled and non-government controlled areas. The project will only support organisations that are clearly committed to non-violent civic engagement and strictly adhere to the UN/Swiss Principles of Engagement in Myanmar.

Effets à moyen terme

Outcome 1: Local CSOs are enabled to provide protection and basic services to vulnerable and conflict-affected communities.  

The civic space is preserved by strengthening a diverse ecosystem of Myanmar CSOs.


Principaux résultats attendus:  

1.1 CSOs are better organised and enabled to effectively manage their operations and resources; 1.2 CSOs are enabled to continue providing basic services; 1.3 CSOs increase their responsiveness to community needs arising from conflict and displacement and strengthen Community-Led Crisis Response Mechanisms.

2.1 Financial resources are provided to a diversity of Myanmar independent CSOs; 2.2: CSOs are equipped with the necessary technical skills, capacities and resources to operate in a closing civic space.

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

As the main implementing partner of both previous phases, Paung Ku (PK) has, as a national CSO network, led efforts in countering hate speech and disinformation on the Rohingya crisis, and channelled vital support to communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the coup, the main achievement was supporting transparent and inclusive general election in 2020 through meaningful participation of CSOs in the political process. 

Since the coup, the project was successfully reoriented and supported over 330 CSOs and networks to become more effective in supporting non-violent democratic mobilisation. It enabled to provide essential protection and legal assistance to exposed and vulnerable groups of people such as Human Rights Defenders, internally displaced people or former civil servants at risk, particularly in conflict-affected areas. Over 1.4 million people (48% women) in 162 townships received protection and basic services through supported CSOs in 2022. CSOs, including from Paung Ku’s network, have been contributing to provide evidence on Human Rights violations to the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM). New initiatives such as Survivor and Community-Led Crisis Response and Safety and Security Support Initiative were launched in the conflict hotspots such as Magway and Sagaing. Furthermore, key independent media continued to produce quality information broadly accessible in Myanmar. 

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
ONG internationale ou étrangère
Organisme des Nations Unies (ONU)
  • Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement
  • Contribution to Paung Ku (PK) – Local CSO; Contribution to UNDP Myanmar – CSO Unit; Contributions to Local CSOs (SDC Administrated)

Coordination avec d'autres projets et acteurs The protection and promotion of civil society is a cross-cutting theme of the new Swiss Cooperation Programme Myanmar 2024-2027. The project will both advance governance as a cross-cutting issue and support CSOs to achieve the three portfolio outcomes of the SCPM. SDC will engage with key likeminded donors which have a strong focus on working with CSOs and promoting the civic space (EU, FCDO/UK, and Sweden). As part of multi-donors funds (LIFT, ACCESS, JPF and MHF), Switzerland will leverage its specific expertise to achieve more efficient and coordinated approaches promoting local CSOs.
Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    5’500’000 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    2’151’416
Phases du projet Phase 3 01.07.2023 - 30.06.2027   (Phase en cours) Phase 2 01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023   (Completed) Phase 1 01.02.2014 - 30.06.2019   (Completed)