The NGO Child Rights Working Group (NCRWG) and Members of Parliament from Population and Social Development Committee held a one-day meeting on 11 March 2015 in Pyithu Hluttaw, Nay Pyi Taw, to discuss increasing the government of Myanmar’s budget allocation and spending in social sector (including Health, Education and Social Protection) and increasing transparency in budget management.
There were 22 members of parliament attending the discussion. The NCRWG gave presentations on education (by MEC), health and social protection with data from the field where their member organizations are working in. Currently, only a small portion of the government’s resources is directed towards spending in the social sector, despite it being vital in fulfilling children’s rights to survival, development, protection and participation.
Overall, the NCRWG had eight recommendations to Members of Parliament:
- To increase the spending in the social sector
- To allocate budget for children’s services
- To have transparency in budget allocation process
- To consider children and child rights in the budgeting process
- To increase the space for civil society organization participating in budgeting process
- To exercise transparency in sharing information on “Investment in Children” to the public
- To develop and implement a monitoring system for needs-based budget plan for children
- To release budget report according to national development plan 2012-2015.
For fiscal year 2015/16, the GoM increased the budget for education from 5.43% to 5.92%, which is still much lower than other countries in the region. Find photos of the event here.
MEC and Karuna Myanmar Social Services (KMSS) Pathein jointly organised an advocacy event on Disability Inclusive Education with the theme ‘We are the same’ at the Roman Catholic Church in Mayan Chaung, Pathein. Altogether 250 people attended the event on 23 May 2015, including government officials from the Ayeyarwaddy Region. The event was held with three main objectives which were:
- to increase awareness of Inclusive Education (IE) for disabled children in the Ayeyarwaddy Region
- to promote participation of parents, educators and local authorities in this MEC-funded IE project
- to strengthen networking among NGOs and government officials in implementing the IE project.
It was the first advocacy event in the area on inclusive education with regional government participation. There was a children’s panel discussion where disabled children shared their situation and the challenges they face with everyday issues like going to school. There was also a video documentary screening. Parents expressed pride in their children, who were on the stage and talking confidently to the public and the government about their experiences and advocating for their right to education. Find photos of the event here.