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International Partnerships

SEEing opportunities for education and employment in Myanmar

Three children with backpacks walking on a wooden bridge
Basic education is a human right

Continuing conflict since the February 2021 coup in Myanmar is causing new forced displacement and disruption to economic life and basic services in the south east of the country. The long-term displaced have been joined by a surge of newly displaced people that grew throughout 2021 and the beginning of 2022. In addition, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic overlaps with armed conflict to create a double crisis, with negative impacts on basic education, skills training, and employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

This lack of opportunities is exacerbated by inadequate access to protection services and limited prospects for more peaceful and pluralistic communities in the near future. The Southeast Education and Employment Opportunities project (SEE Opportunities) supports children, youth and the unemployed from displacement-affected communities to progress from basic education to skills training, then employment. This project is being implemented through funding provided by the Lives in Dignity (LiD) Grant Facility.

Scope and objectives

This project provides a chain of support for children, youth and the unemployed from displacement-affected communities to advance from basic education to skills training and on to employment. Progress through these stages is enabled by protection services and peace building initiatives, which also benefit the wider community.

Basic education is an indispensable part of the project. It is a human right, but also a prerequisite for vocational skills training and quality employment leading to economic independence. Basic education also provides skills needed to effectively understand and defend human rights for oneself and for communities.

Vocational skills training is the transition phase between basic education and employment, providing trainees with transferable skills that they can still use if they are further displaced or choose to migrate to another area. Increased income from employment due to new skills or entrepreneurship support provides economic independence and security to provide for family members and support the education of children. Employment and entrepreneurship also provide an incentive to strive for a stable, peaceful and rules-based community that respects the rights of its members.

The protection and peacebuilding component of the project provides a stable enabling environment that allows education, skills training and employment to function, and individuals to enjoy the results of their efforts. The education and livelihood components provide entry points to introduce protection services. This could include addressing child protection issues in educational settings, labour and migrant rights during vocational skills training, or conflict sensitive business during entrepreneurship support.

The SEE Opportunities project will achieve its goals by strengthening key actors that research has shown are best placed to sustainably support displacement-affected people to be productive and to equitably participate in the life of their host communities.

Expected results

  • 2 000 displacement-affected youth between 16 and 30 (50% women) have new skills needed to get jobs in their communities or through migration
  • 400 displacement-affected youth find jobs or become self-employed, of which 50% are young women and at least 4 are entrepreneurs with disabilities
  • 5 000 school-age children, split evenly between boys and girls (including 100 with disabilities), receive quality, IT-enabled educational services through volunteer-led alternative learning
  • 20 000 displacement-affected individuals of all ages (including 5,000 school-age children) benefit from improved protection services and knowledge of their rights that contributes to increased feelings of safety and enjoyment of human rights
  • 20 000 displacement-affected individuals and host community members of all ages and genders are reached by actions promoting pluralism and peace in their workplaces and communities


The EU-UNOPS Lives in Dignity Grant Facility was founded in 2020. The facility aims to promote development-oriented approaches and solutions to new, recurrent and protracted displacement crises. It funds innovative projects that support the resilience of communities and empower their members through livelihoods and basic services, making a concrete difference in the lives of displaced people.

The project was selected because it demonstrated an equal and mutually-reinforcing partnership, with the inclusion of the private sector. It uses innovative and sustainable approaches to reach children with no access to education. There is a strong focus on the environmental impact of the project throughout. Finally, and critically for Myanmar, there is a strong peace and protection component, which is integrated into the development of livelihoods.