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heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$85.5 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$90.0 million


Australia aims to reduce poverty in Burma and help the country transition to a stable, more democratic and more prosperous member of the region and the international community. Australia’s early engagement with the Government of Myanmar positions us well to support the country’s reform process. Through the Myanmar–Australia Partnership for Reform, we will invest in the Government’s governance including public financial management systems and transparent allocation of resources. By encouraging financial sector development and regulatory reform we will help improve the investment climate, including in key sectors of interest for Australia. To support the Government of Myanmar in its chairmanship of ASEAN we are providing Australian advisors to the Government.

Australia will continue to align our development assistance programme with the Myanmar Government’s development priorities and work together on matters of mutual interest, including trade, investment and human rights. Australia will also help the Government prepare for parliamentary elections in 2015.

Australia will build resilience in Burma by supporting peace and reconciliation by working with local and international organisations to facilitate successful negotiations between the Government, military and ethnic armed groups. Australia will respond to the immediate humanitarian needs of conflict and disaster-affected people by providing food, shelter, sanitation and protection.

Two smiling girls read colourful newspaper Students at the Karen Young Women Leadership School reading the Burmese news (credit: Angela Wylie/The Age, International Women's Development Agency).

Australia’s support in the health and education sectors will help to establish a healthy, educated and productive people capable of contributing to the nation’s growth. In 2014-15, Australia will:

  • provide health care services to women and children including antenatal care to 23,000 pregnant women, skilled birth delivery assistance to 19,000 women and vaccinations to approximately 23,000 children
  • lead efforts to improve the education system, by funding quality basic education for over 300,000 children studying at government, monastic and community schools, as well as schools in hard to reach ethnic areas
  • help train more than 3,000 teachers and almost 8,000 parents and caregivers in providing better care for children
  • offer up to 50 Australian Awards Scholarships for study in Australia and support the revitalisation of Rangoon University, Burma’s oldest tertiary institution. Through the programme, Australia’s tertiary institutions are renewing higher education linkages and exchanges between Australia and Burma.

Woman on small motorbike on unsealed road, with buildings and other people in background. A senior midwife attends to her malaria and primary health patients by motorbike (credit:

Australia will seek to engage the private sector in the agriculture sector in modernising farming practices, increasing access to markets and facilitating trade linkages. Australia will help generate livelihoods in regions that were previously affected by conflict. The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) will identify better production techniques and improve quality of produce. The Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund will support up to 25,000 rural households increase their incomes and improve quality and quantity of yields.

Man uses two cattle to plow field Ploughing fields, Shan, Burma (credit: DFAT).

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.


Results July 2012–June 2013

Between July 2012 and June 2013, Australia:

  • increased access to basic health services including antenatal care, emergency obstetric care and immunisations for poor women and children
  • immunised over 10,000 children against key communicable diseases like diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.
  • helped ensure more than 5,500 additional births were attended by a skilled health professional.

Commitments 2012–2016

Between January 2013 and June 2016 Australia will contribute to:

  • saving the lives of 25,000 children and 3,000 mothers from largely preventable causes
  • an additional 250,000 births being attended by a skilled health professional
  • 300,000 women receiving full antenatal care
  • 280,000 children receiving vital immunisations
  • 29,000 infants being exclusively breastfed.

These results will be achieved through our $100 million contribution to the Three Millennium Development Goals Fund (3MDG) from 2012-2016. Australia will:

  • continue to support HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria interventions by distributing needles and condoms to reduce HIV incidence, detecting and referring TB cases to appropriate health care facilities and providing long lasting insecticidal bed nets in malaria prone areas
  • help build Myanmar Government capacity to provide equitable, affordable and quality health services which are responsive to the needs of vulnerable populations. This will be achieved by investing in a well-trained health workforce with quality and accessible health facilities that are sufficiently funded to ensure that equipment and medicines are available where and when required. Australia will help the Myanmar Government improve its ability to gather information on health issues and disease outbreaks through improved surveillance and reporting so that resources can be targeted where they are most needed.


Results July 2012–June 2013

Between July 2012 and June 2013, Australia:

  • helped children go to school by distributing essential school supplies such as textbooks and stationery to 234,524 children
  • provided incentives for families to keep 35,106 children in school through the Food for Education initiative (implemented by the World Food Programme)
  • increased access to quality basic education by supporting an additional 10,004 children to enroll in school
  • provided 34 Australia Award Scholarships for students from Burma to study at tertiary institutions in Australia.

Commitments July 2013–June 2015

Between July 2013 and June 2015, Australia will:

  • increase the number of children accessing and completing quality basic education by providing learning kits for 1.3 million primary students, training 32,000 teachers, and facilitating access to early childhood development for more than 140,000 children by 2015
  • support children in some of the nation's poorest and most remote areas to access and complete a quality basic education in non-formal schools through the Myanmar Education Consortium (MEC). By 2015, MEC will provide access to early childhood education for 52,752 children and basic education for 163,800 children as well as train 4,575 non-government school teachers and 2,500 monastic school administrators and principals.

In 2014, Australia will offer 40 Australia Award Scholarships to individuals who have the potential to strengthen the delivery of basic services and be leaders in their chosen field. In 2015, Australia plans to increase to 50 Australia Award Scholarships.

Economic development

Results July 2012–June 2013

Between July 2012 and June 2013, Australia:

  • supported increased food production and incomes of 14,490 farmers and rural households
  • provided 6,315 poor women and men from farming households with training and access to agricultural inputs to improve their yields. Farmers have also been able to share newly developed expertise with neighbouring villages.

Commitments July 2013–June 2014

Between July 2013 and June 2014 Australia will:

  • reduce hunger and increase incomes through the multi-donor Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund, by providing support such as agricultural training and access to microfinance for up to 45,600 poor and vulnerable people. This includes 475 women-headed households, and 83 households that include a family member living with a disability
  • support the development of appropriate laws, policies, systems and practices to help guarantee women's economic rights and equal work opportunities.


Results July 2012–June 2013

Between July 2012 and June 2013 Australia:

  • launched the Australia-Myanmar Partnership for Reform ($20 million, 2013-2015), which supports activities focused on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting human rights, improving economic governance and advancing the rule of law
  • through UNICEF, trained 476 public servants in human rights and supported the implementation of a Joint Action Plan with the Myanmar Government to help prevent abuses of children in armed conflict, such as the recruitment of child soldiers
  • through the World Bank, supported an assessment of the Myanmar Government’s public expenditure and financial management systems. This will help the government improve the quality of its public spending in sectors such as education and health.

Commitments July 2013–June 2014

Between July 2013 and June 2014 Australia will:

  • support the Myanmar Government to complete the first census in 31 years in an inclusive way
  • support the Myanmar Government and the Armed forces to implement a Joint Action Plan that will stop and prevent the recruitment of child soldiers into the armed forces
  • support the Myanmar Government design and implement a national child protection policy in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • support improvements to public financial management systems
  • support strengthening the rule of law and improve people's access to justice and human rights
  • support civil society to participate in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) process. The EITI increases the transparency of payments to governments and government-linked entities by companies from the oil and mining industries, and transparency of revenues by host country governments.


Results July 2012–June 2013

Between July 2012 and June 2013 Australia provided life-saving assistance such as food, shelter and clean water to 242,570 conflict and disaster affected people, including in Rakhine and Kachin states, and refugees in Thailand.

Commitments July 2013–June 2014

Between July 2013 and June 2014 Australia will:

  • help to secure a lasting peace by supporting negotiations and delivering assistance to previously unreachable people in ceasefire areas
  • provide essential services and support preparations for 130,000 refugees living in camps in Thailand who may wish to return home in the near future.

Research overview


Australia's Development Research Awards (ADRA) Scheme funds primary research projects to improve the quality and effectiveness of Australian aid in developing countries. In 2012 the Asian Institute of Technology was awarded an ADRA to undertake research in Burma as part of a regional research project that focuses on women’s economic empowerment and social protection.

Australia also supports the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to implement the Multidisciplinary Research Program to Improve Food Security in Burma ($12 million, 2011-16). This program aims to increase food production and enhance access to markets and services for smallholders and farming households in Burma. This is to be achieved through improvements to technology and farming techniques in agriculture, livestock and fisheries, building research capacity in public sector institutions, and by providing technical assistance in support of Government policy development.

Do policy makers understand the economic and social issues affecting low income women in four Mekong countries?

The proposed research will focus on women’s economic empowerment and social protection projects in four Mekong countries: Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Vietnam. It will involve an exploration of the gaps between the level of decision-makers and intended beneficiaries in terms of their conceptions of the ideas of empowerment and security and their perceptions of what is happening on the ‘ground’.

Region/Country of focus: Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Vietnam

Research organisation: Asian Institute of Technology

Duration: 2013–15

Total funds: $767,000

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Multidisciplinary Research Program to Improve Food Security in Burma

Australian Aid supports the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Research Program to Improve Food Security. This program focuses on improving food security and rural incomes for small holder farmers in the Central Dry Zone and Irrawaddy Delta.

Region/Country of focus: Burma

Research organisation: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Multidisciplinary Research Program

Duration: 2011-2016

Total funds: $12,000,000


More information on how Australia funds development research

Find out more about the ACIAR Multidisciplinary Research Program to Improve Food Security in Burma


heading foldWhy we give aid


Burma is one of the poorest countries in South East Asia and has some of the lowest social development indicators in the region. One quarter of its estimated 60 million people live in poverty. Despite this, Burma receives less aid per person than many of the other poorest countries in the world. Australia is committed to reducing poverty and supporting the transition to democracy.

Find out more about why we give aid to Burma


heading foldHow we give aid

Australia's assistance is targeted to reducing poverty and promoting development and reform. We provide immediate support in education, health, livelihoods and governance, and by providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable, including people from communities affected by natural disasters or conflict, and refugees on the borders with Thailand.

Australia delivers assistance primarily through multi-donor trust funds, United Nations agencies, and local and international organisations. Australia will work with the Myanmar Government to identify aid priorities and build its capacity to deliver essential services.

Find out more about how we give aid to Burma

Read the Australia-Myanmar Aid Program Strategy (2012-14)

Read the Burma Aid Program Performance Report 2013-14


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Demographic and development statistics for Burma


Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014