This month ECOPER completed a systematization of the livelihood programmes run for Myanmar refugees by the Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Refugees (COEER) as part of its project ‘Strengthening capacities and developing sustainable livelihood opportunities for the Myanmar refugees largely encamped along the Thai-Myanmar border in preparation for eventual repatriation.’ The project is funded by the EU and Caritas, a partner of COERR. The systemization took the form of a case study and was achieved through a broad document review and interviews with beneficiaries and COERR staff. Three field missions to Thailand were conducted in the course of the study.
The refugee camps for Myanmar refugees along the Thai border have existed for over three decades. Though they are dependent on external aid, the refugees involved in farming activities inside the camp generate their own income and have developed skills which are likely to serve them outside the camp. By providing an in-depth analysis of COERR’s livelihood programme in these camps, it was hoped the study would produce transferable knowledge on economic development in refugee camps. This would in turn improve understanding of other livelihood programmes run by the humanitarian community and contribute to improving refugees’ self–reliance.