Mon State, Myanmar
Recent socio-political changes in Myanmar have created new opportunities for philanthropy to support community development across the country. There are thousands of local NGOs working to address social and environmental challenges within the country.
Like many NGOs in Myanmar, Lanthit Foundation is relatively young. Founded in 2010, the foundation implements disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response programs that focus on empowering marginalized populations to become agents of change.
Through the support from Give2Asia’s NGO Disaster Preparedness Program, the Lanthit Foundation is developing disaster management measures in Chuang Zon Township in Mon State, located near the Thai border.
Colloquially, Chuang Zon is known as “Ogre Island” as the township is surrounded by water, the Thanlwin River to the east and north, the Bay of Bengal to the south, and the Andaman Sea to the west. This makes the seven villages chosen for this grant all vulnerable to floods, cyclones and tsunamis, with floods and strong storms occurring annually. Given that the main sources of income for locals are from agriculture, continued fluctuation in weather creates an uncertain future for the inhabitants of this region, with many opting to migrate to Thailand for work.
As with many communities in Myanmar, women, the elderly, and people with disabilities from Chaung Zon Township have fewer decision-making possibilities within the family and community. They are more likely to become direct victims of disasters and other types of violence such as domestic violence, sexual violence, and trafficking. In some previous instances, these populations were not even allowed to attend the capacity building or training programs provided by the government or NGOs.
When it comes to disaster preparedness, there have been limited initiatives in this region, making it hard to mitigate disasters or recover from shocks and stresses. By empowering members of these marginalized communities to assume leadership roles in disaster management, the Lanthit Foundation is simultaneously empowering marginalized people while addressing the growing threat of natural disasters.
The support of Give2Asia will help the Lanthit Foundation provide children, elderly, women and people with disabilities, hands on training in Chuang Zon. Trainees will learn how to implement the community-inclusive approach to hazard mapping, risk assessment, disaster planning, before engaging each community and population. A participatory vulnerability analysis will identify the priorities and needs for different populations. Lanthit will lead the process of forming Village Disaster Management Committees and Task Forces to ensure all priorities and perspectives are valued in the process; and, when each village finalizes its disaster management plan, Lanthit will steward the implementation process.