Rights to Land and Water

5 Women in Kachin Community Forestry

Land rights are central to the lives of tens of millions of rural people in Myanmar. For many people land is a critical asset yet peoples’ rights to land in Myanmar are often weak or not even recognised: land grabs are common, many cannot easily register their land legally, and women face particular difficulties with claiming their land rights. With investment on the rise, there is a growing demand for land across the country. Oxfam is working with Metta Development Foundation, and local civil society organisations Kachin Conservation Working Group and Alin Bannmaw Local Development Foundation, to help protect the land rights of women, men and communities in uplands Kachin and Shan as well as working with Myanmar organisations at the national level to strengthen the policies and laws that help secure peoples’ rights.

Like land, access to water is a central issue for economic development in Myanmar. Major rivers such as the Salween and the Ayeyarwaddy run through the heart of country, supporting thousands of small communities that depend on them for their water and livelihoods. Oxfam is working with civil society, private sector and Government actors to strengthen the role of communities in governance of river water resources, and through partners like KESAN, Kalyana Mitta Foundation and International Rivers, build the capacity of communities to engage with decision makers on the development of hydropower projects. Hydropower projects often overlook the impacts they will have on communities, and on women in particular, so Oxfam is working with local organisations to ensure developers, Government and Ethnic Administrations address their impacts fully.