Building capacity of local NGOs

Project title: Building Capacity and Strengthening Voice of Local NGOs for Improved Environmental Governance in Myanmar

Location: Myanmar

Duration: 2013 - 2016

Project Background: Myanmar’s environment is under increasing pressure from an influx of foreign investment and infrastructure expansion. Strong civil society networks will be essential to protecting biodiversity and the environment in the face of these rapidly increasing pressures and to ensure that Myanmar’s wealth of resources is sustainably managed. At the same time, a large inflow of development funding has been made available to Myanmar civil society groups in the last few years. Civil society groups now have access to these funding mechanisms and are developing the organisational and project management skills to take full advantage of these expanding opportunities.

The Myanmar Environmental Rehabilitation-conservation Network (MERN) is a network of 20 environmental NGOs. MERN and most of its members are based in Yangon. The network was originally formed to coordinate members’ relief efforts after Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwady Delta in 2008. Since its establishment, MERN has broadened its scope to a variety of environmental and conservation issues in the country, with a particular focus on community forestry, forests, and management of grant mechanisms for NGOs. MERN works with IUCN, the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, the Forest and Farm Facility, and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership, among other organisations. This project aims to strengthen MERN’s capacity to support itself and its members through organisational development, targeted trainings, and a small grants program.

Objectives: MERN and its members will be empowered with the skills necessary to obtain, manage, and monitor projects successfully. MERN’s organisational structure will be updated to enable it to function effectively as a network, including developing a new vision, mission, and strategic plan with its members. MERN members will receive training on project cycle management, communication, and other topics and have access to small grant funding to apply these skills.


  • Increase capacity of MERN to support members through networking, information sharing, and management of a small grants program
  • Increase capacity of MERN's members to design and implement field projects, network with peers, and advocate policies at local levels
  • Enhance capacity of MERN and its members to research and analyse policies and participate in national level environmental policy dialogue enhanced
  • Deliver management, technical, and operational support to MERN to ensure effective project implementation, outreach, and communications

Donors: European Union

Partners: MERN, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Forest and Farm Facility, Mangroves for the Future

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