Metta programmes are grass-roots initiated. As such they operate with the participation of local communities in various aspects of planning, implementation and evaluation. Local resources are mobilised wherever possible and women are afforded the same level of representation as men.
Metta’s assistance focuses on the three programme areas of building community capacity, coordinating sustainable development projects and promoting community controlled social and economic associations. Priority is given to initiatives that are economically viable, technically appropriate and socially acceptable.
The training and education essential for communities to participate meaningfully in their development is provided through locally conducted workshops. Study trips to regional countries with similar community profiles also form part of the training process.
The establishment of a community organisation network which serves as a forum for sharing experiences and expertise forms part of the strategy for reaching out to communities from a diverse range of ethnicity and faith backgrounds.
Metta projects currently operate through funds received from international development agencies but self-help mechanisms incorporated into the project process will enable self-sufficiency within a period of three years.
Metta programmes are making progress through the strong commitment of local communities and the cooperation of national and international development partners.
Detailed progress of each programme can be found in Metta Annual Reports.
World Humanitarian Context and Trends
The humanitarian trends worldwide have changed dramatically since the 1990s. There are now more humanitarian crises caused by natural and technological disasters, both of which are sometimes interrelated. Climate change has been identified to be the main underlying cause of the increase in incidence of natural disasters.
With the increased incidence in humanitarian emergencies, more and more are occurring in urban areas with a gradual reduction of responses to disasters in rural areas.
The number of armed conflicts in the world is now decreasing. However, the impact of the conflicts that are occurring may and do have far-reaching consequences, e.g. impacting people living in a wider geographical region or causing far more damage than in previous conflicts. It has also been observed that there is an increase in lack of respect for international humanitarian laws and international laws in general by the parties in conflict.
Humanitarian agencies have begun to link humanitarian responses and development activities. The main approach utilised in this regard is resilience.
Myanmar Humanitarian Context
Myanmar’s humanitarian context has increasingly changed since 2008. There are more incidences of natural disasters (floods, landslides, earthquakes, cyclones, etc.), technological disasters (caused by increased industrialisation and urbanisation such as dam construction, big infrastructure projects, etc.), and conflicts (caused by political and ethnic issues that have escalated, e.g., armed conflict in Kachin State, Northern Shan State and unrest in Rakhine State).
Metta’s humanitarian mandate is to respond effectively and efficiently in a timely manner to humanitarian emergencies through promoting and enhancing local capacity, community resilience and adhering to international humanitarian principles and standards.
Metta is committed to be a leading humanitarian actor in Myanmar and 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.
Humanitarian Work and Niche
Since 2004, Metta has been more and more involved with humanitarian response activities, responding to natural disasters throughout the country, most notably in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Metta has covered the entire humanitarian cycle of rehabilitation, reconstruction and development. Specific sectors it has covered include food security, education, health, disaster preparedness and mitigation and lifeline systems and transportation. Throughout, Metta has focused on relief, recovery as well as capacity building of its staff and community members. Metta has been able to respond to meet the needs of communities by responding and working in partnership with local partners.
Niche Definition (General Criteria, Added Value and Vulnerability)
Metta will cover the whole cycle of humanitarian action (emergency response, rehabilitation and linking with development) whenever possible. When disaster strikes, Metta will be already on the scene in the first weeks after a disaster. Disaster resilience strategy will be included in all steps.
Metta will link the emergency response with development particularly in areas where Metta have specific added value. Metta defines the humanitarian cycle as follows:
Metta will respond to the needs of most vulnerable populations in humanitarian emergency situations, giving higher priority to children and women. In addition, the following criteria will serve as further guiding principles:
- Higher percentage of vulnerable groups (e.g. children and women)
- Complete destruction of livelihood
- Major loss of basic infrastructure
- Remote and least accessible area
- Limited access to other development or humanitarian agencies.
Metta will respond to humanitarian emergency situation in the following sectors based on the priority needs of the affected communities.
- Non-food item
- Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH)
- Protection (e.g. child protection, women protection)
- Education in emergency (e.g. temporary school, school kits, teaching and learning kits)
- Livelihood and food security
- Psychosocial support
Metta is committed to use cash grants as a specific tool to reinforce sectoral interventions such as livelihoods, education and health, etc., building on Metta’s existing experience.
Metta is prepared and willing to respond to any type of humanitarian emergency in any part of Myanmar as far as it is capable.
However, Metta will prioritise humanitarian emergency response in areas where Metta has the following added value. Metta defines its added value as follows:
- Metta’s ongoing project areas
- Close proximity to Metta branch office or project coordination office
- Presence of Metta’s training alumni
- Presence of local partners in the area
Hence, Metta will respond to and will prioritize humanitarian responses in those areas. Metta will engage in all aspects of humanitarian work, including activities related to DRR and resilience in its priority areas. For emergency response, while these areas have higher priority, high impact areas will also be prioritised.
Detailed of each project can be found in humanitarian projects.