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CRS in Myanmar

Myanmar – also known as Burma  – is situation in South East Asia with shared borders with China, India, Bangladesh, Laos and Thailand. Myanmar’s abundant natural resources, young labor force, and proximity to Asia’s dynamic economies have attracted investment in the energy sector, garment industry, information technology, and food and beverage industry.

In Myanmar, Catholics make up about 1% of the mostly Buddhist population. In 2014, the Church celebrated its 500th anniversary and named Archbishop Charles Maung Bo as the first Myanmar bishop ever to be named a Cardinal.

Current ongoing projects are in the areas of agriculture and livelihoods, and support for emergency response. CRS works with local Caritas partners in capacity building to incorporate international best practices of community-led project design and implementation. 

CRS Myanmar also supports partners in Kachin on community-led shelter efforts. CRS provides technical assistance to partners in the area of community led return and resettlement.

Read more about CRS history in Myanmar…


People Served: 186,218

Population: 55,123,814

Size: 261,228 sq. mi.; slightly smaller than Texas

CRS' History in Myanmar

CRS has been engaged in Myanmar for more than a decade, with past programs on agriculture, education and emergency response, including Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

CRS Myanmar maintains a small administrative footprint, while leveraging the expertise and reach of local partners and the local Church.

Agricultural Livelihoods

CRS and its partners work to improve food security and to generate income to meet the needs of the poorest families. CRS recently implemented two agriculture and livelihoods projects in Chin State and Bago Region. Both projects aimed to increase food security by working with local farming communities to improve production and storage practices. 

Chin State, in the west of Myanmar, is the country’s poorest state, manifesting itself in high food insecurity and malnutrition. The majority of the households depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods, with maize and rice as the most important crops. The maize that is produced in Chin state is not necessarily used as food as much of it is destroyed by insects and other pests during storage. The maize is either sold soon after production with the money used for the purchase of rice, or has to be thrown away, contributing to a hunger gap.

CRS and its partner KMSS Hakha aimed to increase the availability of maize for food insecure households in maize-growing areas. The program trained and supported 22,400 men and women in the production of good grain and seed, and how to securely store them. 

In Bago region, CRS and KMSS Yangon worked to improve food security via improved rice paddy production and storage in 10 villages for approximately 2,700 individuals.

In the project area, yields of paddy are significantly lower than what can be expected due to a combination of factors including traditional low yielding varieties, poor seed quality, weather and limited time and labor availability for agricultural operations during the monsoon months. What is harvested and stored is exposed to significant losses due to mold, insects, rats and birds. The project assisted with training and registering Community Animal Health Workers who provide services to livestock owned at the household level.