The combined effects of the coup d’état in Myanmar in early 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic are having a profound impact on the country’s population, particularly its most vulnerable group: children. Forecasts predict that this dual crisis could push the country’s progress in reducing poverty back by a decade. A 2020 UNDP study found that 83 per cent of households had their incomes slashed almost in half due to the pandemic, further fuelling concern about the wellbeing of families and children.
To provide much-need support to workers in Myanmar, the EU Myan Ku Fund is distributing cash assistance to out-of-work and under-employed workers in the apparel sector and is committed to supporting child workers with access to alternative education.
However, given the volatile and complex situation in Myanmar, the EU Myan Ku Fund has initiated a research activity to get information on the most up-to-date situation of children in Myanmar and the key factors pushing them into work. The Centre is leading this research, with research activities on the ground to assess conditions for children and families in Myanmar. Research and field support provided by The Centre is made possible by funding from the European Union under their United Nations Office for Project Service (UNOPS) managed Nexus Response Mechanism.
The Centre has interviewed close to 120 young and child workers to understand their current situation and why they are working. The final data analysis will enable the EU Myan Ku Fund to understand the root causes of child labour in Myanmar at present, and to subsequently give concrete recommendations and guidance to business stakeholders on carrying out child labour prevention and remediation work in the country.
As part of the EU Myan Ku Fund’s effort to get children back into education, The Centre has also assisted in the procurement and distribution of learning materials to support their education. Eight children formerly in child labour situations have received such assistance from The Centre to date as part of this project.
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