Employment promotion in northern Shan State

Project description

Title: Promoting employment prospects for Internally Displaced Persons and Host Communities in Northern Shan State in Myanmar
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Myanmar
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population (MoLIP)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022


Myanmar’s transition to democracy in 2015 gave rise to the hope that human rights violations would now be halted and internally displaced persons (IDPs) would be able to return to their regions of origin. However, a large number of people, especially in Shan State, continue to face the problem of land grabbing by the agriculture industry and are caught up in clashes between ethnic militias and the Myanmar military. As a result of being displaced, many members of ethnic minorities have lost their livelihoods because they are no longer able to cultivate their fields and are forced to develop other strategies to meet their needs. Many young people, for example, are seasonal migrants to China where they often work under slave-like conditions. For IDPs, formal employment is hard to find in Myanmar because they lack the necessary education in Burmese or other required vocational qualifications.

Drug abuse is widespread in the region, leading to family disintegration. Women with children cannot leave the camps in which they live, one of the reasons being the patriarchal society. This puts severe restrictions on their ability to work and limits their opportunities to start a business. Lack of basic education for children prevents access to education and non-agricultural jobs.

The few training opportunities available in the camps are provided by the international donor community. However, they are not sufficiently aligned with the needs of the market and do not facilitate sustainable labour market integration.


The income and employment prospects of vulnerable adolescents and young adults, especially women, IDPs and host communities in northern Shan are improved.


Employment-oriented training for young people and young adults, especially women, is being improved. Curricula for short courses are being developed together with schools. These curricula are aligned with the requirements of crafts, industry and commerce, which were identified at the beginning of the project. They are based on the standards of the National Skill Standards Authority (NSSA).

Various courses and programmes are being revised or set up to improve the provision of public and private labour market services for young people and young adults. The project is implemented with employment offices, vocational secondary schools and non-governmental international and national organisations. 

In addition, the project strengthens the capacities of governmental and non-governmental organisations to offer work-oriented training and labour market services. Based on a qualification needs analysis by these organisations, some 40 people are being trained in the development and implementation of labour market services.

The challenge of this collaboration is the facilitation of an exchange of know-how and experience between governmental and non-governmental organisations with regard to labour market services. Technical cooperation (TC) will play an important role in this regard as a builder of bridges between the various groups. So far, these have tended to keep themselves apart from each other. In the long term, labour market services should be routinely offered by the employment agencies, to enable them to meet the demand beyond the support provided by the TC module. 

Host communities and IDPs are encouraged to engage in economic, social and cultural activities. The goal is to support the communities in the social and economic integration of IDPs.