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Total IDRC Support

79 activities worth CAD28.1 million since 1985

Workers gather after work outside a garment factory in Yangon, Myanmar.

Our support is helping

  • improve research capacity to bridge knowledge gaps on governance issues 
  • advance public policy to achieve gender equality 
  • strengthen climate-resilient food systems 
  • foster dialogue on democratic transition 

IDRC has funded research in Myanmar since the 1980s, with an initial focus on agricultural projects. As the country emerged from decades of economic and political isolation in 2011, IDRC-funded research helped gather evidence to nurture meaningful dialogue in the democratic transition.

Following the military’s February 2021 overthrow of Myanmar’s democratically elected government, support continues for evidence-based public policy to achieve gender equality within an inclusive democratic future.

Developing research capacities 

Decades of systematic underinvestment in research and higher education eroded Myanmar’s internal capacity to generate sound advice for public policy. Considering this gap, IDRC and Global Affairs Canada launched the Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar (K4DM) initiative in 2017. K4DM has helped strengthen local research and analytical capacity among university faculty and students, civil society leaders, think tank researchers and public officials. The initiative also nurtured a new generation of young actors to promote inclusion, gender equality, respect for diversity and prosperity for all in Myanmar. 

Promoting inclusive democracy 

Political developments in Myanmar underscore the need for greater inclusion in a polarized society. With renewed support from Global Affairs Canada and IDRC, the K4DM initiative was extended until 2025. This second phase of programming aims to protect gains in Myanmar’s civil society, with a particular focus on gender equality. IDRC-supported projects are also fostering active engagement across different actors in Myanmar and the diaspora. The objective is to enhance the number of voices that contribute to discussions about a more democratic future for Myanmar. 

Benefiting from digital connectivity 

After years of falling behind with information and communications technology, Myanmar made significant progress in digitally connecting with Asia and the rest of the world. Researchers developed applications to improve public services and entrepreneurship. In one initiative, a free mobile app called Green Way was developed with IDRC support to provide real-time help to farmers. As of 2019, there were more than 120,000 registered app users (20% of them women) in 327 of Myanmar’s 355 townships. Also, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, online tools helped innovations focused on remote capacity building and research dissemination to flourish. 


Explore research projects we support in this region.