Strategic Period

The strategic period will be marked by many significant transitions and developments in the society, government and economy of Myanmar. Because of the pace of change our strategic scanning will be updated every 6 months. 1Our June 2013 scan has identified three major programme context factors for the strategic phase:

  • Renewed efforts in the peace process and the re-negotiation of minority ethnic interests with the Union government.
  • Even in the best-case scenarios, “peace dividends” will arrive slowly for poor and marginalised women and men, especially those living in conflict-affected areas, and they will remain reliant on non-government service providers for at least the period of this strategy.
  • Myanmar’s continued propensity for natural disaster, and poor state of preparedness.

Impacting on these factors we have identified trends and events for the strategic period which will be significant in the programme environment.

  • The national elections scheduled for 2015, and shifts in the balance of national power and leadership.
  • Probable increases in overseas development assistance, which will not be readily accessible by Myanmar civil society.
  • The increasing opportunity and space for civil society actors, and need for leadership and support for these many, emerging civil society groups and organisations.
  • The growing tendency for policy and legislation to be developed without genuine consultation with the people and with civil society.
  • Most Myanmar people will be much more connected to each other through telecommunications, and increasingly connected to outside actors and media.
  • The growing importance of regional actors and factors for the development of Myanmar (e.g. AEC, AFTA, MAPDRR, ASEAN).
  • The impact of increasing investment flows on the people and natural resources of our programme areas.
  • Conflicts within and between communities.
  • The on-going destruction of natural environments – in particular the impacts of changing climate.
  • The growing availability and use of drugs within the communities where we work.

Strategic Intent

Within a rapidly-moving context, Metta will continue to build its core focus on communities that are coming out of the devastating consequences of conflict and humanitarian emergencies.

Metta has put emphasis on its commitment to its integrated, multi-sector approach for supporting these communities towards sustainable growth and development.

To achieve this intention, we will work with and through others. At community level, we will support community-led and managed initiatives and organisations. We will bring the experiences of these communities to the attention of government and other development actors through our research and advocacy work. We will build our own capacity to achieve our goals, particularly through ensuring the strength of our local (Branch) offices and teams.

Working together with other like-minded local organisations will continue to be another key approach for Metta. We will ensure that our partners are fully involved in decision-making processes. We are also committed to sharing our experiences and resources and learning together.

Scope & Scale

During this strategic period:

  • Metta will continue working in 5 States  and 4 Regions  in Myanmar, and will work in any other area struck by disaster that meets the criteria in our Humanitarian Strategy.
  • Metta aims for an annual budget for the core programme of around USD10 million.
  • Metta will be working with a team of 600 staff, largely based in its 6 branch offices. Two existing coordination offices will become new branch offices.
  • Metta will establish a research and advocacy department to increase its learning, its documentation of grounded experience, and its engagement with government, other development actors and the private sector.
  • Metta will have significantly expanded its national level networks as  well as stronger engagement with regional networks such as theTowards Organic Asia movement.

Strategic Objectives

During this phase, the Metta strategy has prioritized three programme objectives, two cross-cutting objectives and one organisational objective.

To support the sustainable livelihoods and ecological practices of households and communities in our programme areas.

  • Building the food security and food sovereignty of communities through our programme approach of sustainable farming, bio-diversity conservation, local seed promotion and natural resource management by communities.
  • Establishing village banking systems, and sustainable social protection mechanisms that include access to market, value addition and value chain development.
  • Deepening our understanding and practice on how development actions affect women, and ensuring they can benefit.
  • Helping youth discover how they belong and play important roles in the sustainable development of the community, including addressing issues such as drug use.

To provide four types of essential services to households and villages that are in our programme areas, and areas where other organisations do not easily reach. These services are led and managed by the communities themselves.

  • Providing access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services.
  • Establishing Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) services. Child protection will be a key focus area in these initiatives.
  • Supporting HIV & AIDS, Reproductive Health and Community Managed Health care programmes.
  • Providing basic, essential rural infrastructure.

To respond to any type of humanitarian emergency in any part of Myanmar to the best of our ability – prioritising our ongoing project areas, proximity to out existing office bases, and presence of our partners and alumni.

  • Promoting local capacity, community resilience and international humanitarian standards and principles.
  • Covering the whole cycle of humanitarian action where we can add value (emergency response, rehabilitation and linking with development).
  • Applying our sectoral niches as needed (food, non-food, shelter, WASH, protection, education services in emergencies, livelihoods and psycho-social support).
  • Our Humanitarian Policy and Strategy (2013-16) is our guiding framework during this strategic period.

Metta will incorporate a fully-resourced Action-Research Department capable of implementing both centre-based and community-based research, advocacy and publications projects, and of managing commissioned research project in priority areas.

  • Second selected core staff to other research and advocacy institutes, and for compilation of existing Metta field-data.
  • Cultivate a selective network of research collaborators, and complete initial research collaborations based on our field-access to over 1,000 villages.
  • Formalize existing agriculture and forestry research activities into defined projects (e.g. seeds, agro-technologies, crop policies, community forestry) with publication and dissemination outputs.
  • Initiate community-grounded research projects with advocacy outcomes in non-agricultural fields, based on our PAR information and processes.
  • Appoint a Research Coordinator and key staff. Pilot, test and develop • a research policy and strategy (2017- 2020). Attract full funding.
  • Transition some or all of the Metta Centres into full local resource • centres able to implement and commission their own research & advocacy projects, and to host international degree programmes.

To provide leadership, resourcing and capacity for civil society groups and networks to implement their own community-centred strategies.

  • Promoting and advocating for civil society access to international, private sector and government funding.
  • Ensuring that our civil society partners have the space and support to develop their own community mandates and strategies.
  • Offering Metta’s voice and networks to support civil society engagement with donors and government.
  • Making Metta’s experience and expertise available to civil society actors that wish to access it. Bringing Metta’s experience to national forums and networks.

To focus our organisational resources during this strategic period on our centres of programme delivery and the key to programme quality – our Branch Offices.

  • Transition two existing coordination offices to full branch offices.
  • Efficient and effective decision-making by branch offices which will contribute to quality programme implementation and timely response to humanitarian emergencies.
  • Each branch office able to develop and manage programmes competently in line with local priorities.
  • Branch office teams will advance and expand engagement with local stakeholders (local authorities, government departments and partner organisations and networks) which will include coordination, collaboration and knowledge sharing.