Myanmar: Vocational Training for Vulnerable Youth

With the YMCA Myanmar program, Horyzon supports the promotion of an integrative and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for young people and contributes to the reduction of poverty in Myanmar.

Myanmar, the young democracy in Southeast Asia, faces many challenges. The country gained international attention through the Rohingya crisis, in which the Myanmar military violently persecuted the Muslim minority. As a result, over one million Rohingya fled abroad. But not only ethnical conflicts, but also widespread poverty and the fragile democratization process pose major problems for the country. Young people are particularly affected by this.

An analysis conducted by Y Care International identified lack of economic stability, lack of jobs and exclusion from social decision-making processes as the greatest challenges for Myanmar youth from poor backgrounds. Young people are under family pressure to earn an income, but day laborer jobs under dangerous conditions are usually the only option. More than a third of those interviewed do not earn enough to cover their basic needs. 63% are not able to invest savings. The opinion of young people is generally not appreciated: 58% of those surveyed said that they cannot influence decisions in their community. 2 out of 3 are not aware of their rights. 3 out of 4 young people believe that men have more power than women. Only 15% of those surveyed who live with a disability have a stable livelihood. 80% of the interviewed indigenous people are confronted with human rights violations. Lack of involvement and low participation of young people lead to tensions. Myanmar's transition to democracy offers opportunities to involve young people in development and prosperity.

Target groups

The project focuses on 400 young people (of which approx. 75% are female, 25% male and 5% young people with disabilities) as the core group. Through multiplication activities and community initiatives, an additional 6'160 people will benefit directly and 15'840 people indirectly within the project duration of 3 years. Among them are also 70 young people living with disabilities. The project area comprises 4 townships (poor districts) in the cities of Lashio, Maubin, Monywa and Taung Gyi in Myanmar.


The project follows a multi-track approach: On the one hand, the young people are trained in basic and technical skills and on the other hand, the training is combined with an additional support package (mentoring, savings groups, networking, etc.). This approach aims to promote entrepreneurship and employment of young people. In addition, the young people are politically educated and informed about their rights and duties as citizens. By carrying out youth initiatives in the communities, stigmatization and discrimination are fought and civic participation is promoted.

Activities & Impact

Section " Skills for Enterprises"

Here, young women and men acquire the necessary skills to improve their opportunities in business and employment.

  • Reading, writing and calculation courses
  • Vocational Training Courses
  • The young people show improvements in literacy and numeracy skills
  • 299 young people (43 of whom live with a disability) run a company.

Section " Property and Networks"

Vulnerable young women and men have access to financial and material resources, markets and networks to develop their business and employment opportunities.

  • Provision of funds for the creation of micro-enterprises (equipment and start-up grants)
  • Promoting resilience through savings clubs, access to credit and life skills training
  • Build supportive networks and create a supportive environment through structured mentoring and inspiring presentations by business people
  • 239 young people use advice from mentors in the private sector to promote their businesses and expand their networks
  • 299 young people are constantly improving their companies in line with their business plans.
  • 269 young people state that their families support them in their economic activities.
  • 150 young people (22 of whom live with a disability) have a monthly income of over 50 USD.

Section "Young people as agents of change"

Vulnerable young women and men gain the skills and self-confidence to become agents of change in their communities. 

  • Awareness-raising visits to the family and activities to raise community awareness of gender issues
  • Promotion of youth participation in the democratization of Myanmar through civic education, voter education, peer education on the rights and duties of citizens and the implementation of community activities by the youth.
  • Young people and community members demonstrate improved knowledge of civil rights and accountability issues and apply more civic knowledge/awareness in their lives to participate in community initiatives and/or democratic processes.
  • 90 youth leaders* report improved confidence in their ability to communicate messages.
  • 299 young people are actively involved in community initiatives.
  • 3,080 youth, family and community members show an increase in awareness of gender and power dynamics.
  • 199 youth and 648 community members state that their voice is heard and respected within the community.


Activities worldwide

Further information

Flag of Myanmar
Facts about the program

Title: Vocational training for vulnerable youth
Partner organization: YMCA Myanmar and Y Care International
Location: Lashio, Maubin, Monywa and Taung Gyi Townships
Goal: Securing sustainable livelihoods and socio-economic resilience for marginalized youth in Myanmar
Target group: 400 young people between 15 - 35 years and other beneficiaries through multiplication activities
Required funds 2020: CHF 34'877
Duration: March 2018 - March 2021
Duration of support from Horyzon: July 2020 - December 2020
Isabelle Aebersold,isabelle.aebersold at

Facts about Myanmar

Capital: Naypyidaw
Population: 53.4 mill.
Human Development Index: 0,584 (rang 145)
Life expectancy: 66,9 years
Median age: 29 years
Vulnerable employment: 59,5%

Source: Human Development Report