Pluralism and the Pandemic

Grassroots Community Organization in Myanmar Responds to the Pandemic

Publication Date: June 2020

A winner of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award, Center for Social Integrity (CSI), based in Myanmar, is one of the many grassroots community organizations that has had to adapt its operations due to COVID-19.

CSI aims to develop a non-discriminatory and inclusive society in Myanmar where pluralism is valued. CSI works with youth from conflict-affected regions, giving them the skills and opportunities to build a peaceful, pluralist society. Find out more about their work here.

Hear about the best practices their staff have used to adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19 in this recent interview with Executive Director, Aung Kyaw Moe.

“As an organization, we care most that our staff members are healthy, safe and resilient in the current situation, so that we can continue to be a health provider to those in need on the frontlines. This requires a policy, applied at all levels of the organization, to ensure that on a weekly, daily basis, staff members have sufficient support mentally, and physically.

…Having that sort of policy, or standard operating procedures in place as an organization, that puts the human at the core of the organization rather than any numbers, any dollar, or any projects that we do, is the most important thing.

… ‘Scenario contingency planning’ has allowed us to be in a better position to combat this pandemic. We develop these plans inclusively through mind-mapping…by including everyone in discussions so that ideas are generated and converted into decisions that we all follow.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              – Aung Kyaw  Moe

Strengthening Community Resilience – A Photo Series

The following images depict one of the organization’s programs, “Relief Response, Improving Food Security, and Strengthening Community Resilience in Northern Rakhine State”, a 16-month program aiming to improve households’ ability to guarantee their own food security. The program enables the distribution of food and hygiene kits to support communities living in conflict-affected areas. The program also includes activities such as gardening, menstrual hygiene awareness, general hygiene awareness and social cohesion awareness.

Conscious that many communities in Northern Rakhine State—and around the world—do not have access to the very basic essentials necessary to follow COVID-19 hygiene protocols, such as proper hand-washing, CSI has now also included the distribution of soap and buckets, and the organization of COVID-19 awareness sessions with community members, into its programming.