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Delivery of public services in ethnic minority states: Gender equality and decentralization in Myanmar

In 2017, to sustain Myanmar’s democratic transition, IDRC and Global Affairs Canada launched an initiative, Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar, to nurture meaningful engagement and promote economic growth that benefits women and men, regardless of ethnicity. Working with other development partners, the initiative targets diverse and complementary entry points to strengthen analytical thinking and research capacity through capacity development for individuals, including emerging researchers, civil society, and policy makers. It also targets engagement and collaboration, through roundtables, conferences, workshops, and other forms of policy dialogue, and capacity development for institutions, providing support for think tanks and government. Finally, the initiative provides funding for research projects on the topics of inclusive democratic governance and economic development.

This project will examine the factors that affect the delivery of public services (education, health, and security) in five ethnic minority states in Myanmar (Kayin, Kachin, Magway, Rakhine, and Chin), which represent Myanmar’s diverse ethnic composition. It will also examine factors that affect conflict resolution. It will look at ways to improve the coverage and quality of these services in a more inclusive and decentralized Myanmar. In particular, the project will address the new fiscal and administrative state-level powers to provide education, health and security under the current decentralization initiative, and whether they use a gender-sensitive approach; the strategic deployment of resources and personnel to address women’s concerns and set priorities for reform, especially within the security sector; and local communities’ expectations in education, health and security, with a focus to identify gender-specific priorities of men and women.

Project leaders and staff from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs (Asia Centre) and the newly-created Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security (MIPS) will collaborate in the design and implementation of the research in all five Myanmar states. An explicit objective of this partnership is to develop the analytical capacity of MIPS as a new research centre in the country.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Edgard Rodriguez
Total Funding
CA$ 427,849.00
Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar
Institution Country
Project Leader
Jacques Bertrand
The Governing Council of the University of Toronto



Road to decentralization in health service delivery in the ethnic states of Myanmar


Decentralization of the police and its performance in four ethnic states of Myanmar


Gender, ethnicity, and geography on security in Myanmar


Education, language and conflict in Myanmar’s ethnic minority states