More than sixty years of internal conflicts have had a devastating impact on the peoples of Myanmar. Many communities suffered displacement, loss of life, property and livelihood. A new era of challenge in the country’s troubled history was ushered in when ceasefire agreements were reached between the government of Myanmar and the majority of armed ethnic nationality groups in 1990s. This backdrop of peace means that it is now possible to reach out to communities in the war torn areas and initiate a development process that would help them evolve into stable, self-reliant societies within the Union of Myanmar.
It is with the specific aim of assisting these communities in address that Metta Development Foundation (Metta) was founded in 1998 as a non-governmental organisation with the initial aspiration to complement the peace processes.
Metta’s main objectives are to:
- Create a framework for self-help initiatives
- Support sustainable community-based projects and humanitarian emergencies
- Facilitate skills training
- Establish partnerships with like-minded organisations or individuals.
The driving force behind Metta is the concept that the very word embodies – that of “loving kindness”.
- Firmly established development organisation in Myanmar
- Creative in building common vision among diverse stakeholders
- Facilitates grass-roots projects, planned and implemented by the communities
- Mobilises existing strengths and human resources within the communities
- Assists communities to become self-supportive
- Utilises field staff from local project areas
- Nurtures establishment of local development organisations independent of Metta
- Effective field management and outreach
- Ninety per cent of all funds go directly to local project costs
Metta Development Foundation is a non-governmental organisation, established in 1998 to assist communities in Myanmar recover from the devastating consequences of conflict and humanitarian emergency.
The primary objective of Metta is the evolution of self-reliant and peaceful societies through social and economic growth. The driving force behind Metta is the concept that the very word embodies – that of “loving kindness”.
Metta Development Foundation (Metta) is founded on the concept of “Metta” or“loving kindness”. Metta works with the most disadvantaged communities regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender and strives to respect the diversity of peoples – their different cultures, values, customs and traditions.
Metta believes in the potential of all people and communities, and conserves and builds on the resources that already exist. Metta believes in the fundamental value of self-reliance and supports initiatives which lead to increased ability of peoples to develop their own resources and determine their own futures. These values are demonstrated through Metta’s commitment to teamwork with each other, with partners and other stakeholders, and with the host communities.
Metta upholds the principle of working independently of political, commercial and religious objectives. Where this generates dilemmas and difficult choices we will deal with this openly, guided by our values and, where required, with qualified independent advice.
Historic and Geographic Description of Metta’s Working Areas
Founded in 1998, Metta Development Foundation (Metta) grew out of the peace process of the various armed ethnic nationality groups and the military government of Myanmar. The Board members were peace negotiators and technical experts, and Working Committee members were responsible for day-to-day organisational management. In September 2008, the Working Committee was dissolved, replaced by a Senior Management Team.
Metta’s community development assistance, initially among the Kachins in the far north, gradually extended to other areas of Myanmar, regardless of ethnic origin or religious orientation and by 2017, Metta have reached communities in five states (Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon and Shan) and four regions (Ayeyarwady, Bago, Sagaing and Yangon). In the twenty (20) years since Metta’s inception, it has today evolved into one of Myanmar’s largest community-based development and humanitarian agencies.
Metta is a social development organisation that has its Headquarter in Yangon, Myanmar. As its outreach extended, Metta established branch offices in areas for effective administration and coordination, where projects are operating on a larger scale:
- Myitkyina, Kachin State (2001)
- Taunggyi, Southern Shan State (2003)
- Lashio, Northern Shan State (2004)
Demonstration and Training Centres were established in Alam, Kachin State (2001); Naung Kham, Southern Shan State (2003); and in Bulaein, Bago Region (2013).
Metta exercises Participatory Action Research methodology (PAR) in all programmes. Working in direct partnership with rural communities, Metta aims to creatively build common visions among diverse stakeholders, responding to humanitarian emergencies and making significant inroads into poverty alleviation and food security through programmes identified and initiated by communities.
From the beginning, Participatory Action Research (PAR) has been the primary entry tool of Metta for community development. Local people learn to identify their resources and needs. Based on the findings, they then plan and implement their own projects. As a result, an extensive range of community development projects have promoted health and nutrition, water and sanitation, holistic early childhood education and crop-based sustainable and integrated farming practices.
Flooding in Kachin State and the tsunami in Ayeyarwady Division in 2004, was the impetus for moving into humanitarian emergencies, placing Metta’s emphasis on speed of response, rather than the usual process of gradual community development through small-scale development with a local focus.
Metta has been involved in large-scale tropical Cyclone Nargis (2008) emergency response and rehabilitation activities in Ayeyarwady and Yangon Regions, response to tropical Cyclone Giri (2010) in Rakhine State and earthquake in Eastern Shan State (2011). In addition to responding to the humanitarian needs of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by the conflict in Kachin and Northern Shan States (2011 to present), Metta has taken on a leading role in coordinating response activities within the humanitarian community in Myanmar. As Metta takes every opportunity to initiate long-term development work with a local focus, the emergency intervention is also employed as an entry in tenable circumstances.
Metta’s role is to oversee the integration of key cross-cutting issues i.e. good governance, equity including gender and minority ethnic groups, creating of a protective environment and capacity building at all levels.
Metta’s work on development and humanitarian for the past 20 years has earned the trust of the government, local authorities, donors and the communities. Today, Metta is a dual mandate organisation working in both development and humanitarian sector. Metta is committed to be a leading humanitarian actor in Myanmar taking an active role in local and regional coordination/sharing through various strategies, including taking sectoral lead roles with a professional, humble and participatory manner. Metta defines itself as a local-national humanitarian actor with global projection dimensions.