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.  

Región/País Tema Período Presupuesto
Cambio climático y medio ambiente
Asistencia humanitaria y RRC
Agricultura y seguridad alimentaria
Participación democrática y sociedad civil
Atención primaria de salud
Ayuda y servicios materiales de emergencia
Protección, acceso y seguridad
Política de seguridad alimentaria
Protección de la biosfera
Gestión de las finanzas públicas
Fortalecimiento del sistema sanitario
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. 

Objetivos 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.  
Grupos destinarios

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.

Efectos a medio plazo

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.


Resultados previstos:  

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.

Resultados de las fases anteriores:  

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. 

Dirección / Officina Federal responsable COSUDE
Contrapartes del proyecto Contraparte del contrato
ONG internacional o extranjera
Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU)
  • Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo
  • Contribution to Paung Ku (PK) – Local CSO; Contribution to UNDP Myanmar – CSO Unit; Contributions to Local CSOs (SDC Administrated)

Coordinación con otros proyectos y actores 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.
Presupuesto Fase en curso Presupuesto suizo CHF    5’500’000 Presupuesto actual suizo ya emitido CHF    2’150’576
Fases del proyecto Fase 3 01.07.2023 - 30.06.2027   (Fase en curso) Fase 2 01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023   (Completed) Fase 1 01.02.2014 - 30.06.2019   (Completed)