Overview of Australia’s aid program to Burma

How we are helping

2013/14 Actual:
$91.8 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate:
$90.0 million

Australia supports a peaceful and prosperous Burma, which can engage constructively within our region and internationally. Developments in Burma, including its transition towards democracy, present new opportunities to make a greater impact in reducing poverty and creating conditions to encourage economic growth and prosperity. Political, social and economic reforms underway in Burma are enabling Australia’s aid to reach more people in need. Australia is committed to building the capacity of people and institutions to prepare for the future and move towards long-term poverty reduction in the country. This includes working with the Burmese Government to identify aid priorities and build capacity to deliver essential services. We’re also working closely with other donors to coordinate international assistance to ensure aid is delivered effectively and efficiently to achieve the best results.

Burma has the lowest social development indicators in the region. Over a quarter of its estimated 51 million people live in poverty (below $1.25 per day) and public investment in both education and health is among of the lowest in the world. Australia’s assistance to Burma totaled $81.4 million in 2013-2014 and focused on education, health, economic development, peace building, humanitarian support, and governance. Australia’s development assistance is scheduled to reach $90 million in 2014-2015. Australia became the first western nation to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Development Cooperation with Burma in January 2013.


Australia is a leading bilateral donor in Burma’s education sector, because we believe an educated and skilled workforce is necessary to maximise the benefits of the economic reform process. We are working closely with the Burmese Government to improve access and quality of education for children, and are supporting locals NGOs and ethnic education systems to assist children in heard to reach, conflict-affected areas access education.

Education assistance in Burma


Australian aid, including our support through ACIAR, is lifting incomes in the agricultural sector and contributing to food security. Our support includes projects that improve agricultural production and access to markets, training and support for non-agriculture related livelihoods.

Agriculture assistance in Burma


Australia’s support to Burma is helping meet reform priorities as identified by the Burmese Government and will help strengthen democratic institutions, promote human rights, improve economic governance and advance the rule of law.

Democratic and economic governance assistance in Burma


Australia is promoting stability by supporting the peace process. Our assistance helps to build an environment conducive to successful peace negotiations between Burma’s government, military, ethnic armed groups and affected communities.

Peacebuilding assistance in Burma


Australia is providing humanitarian assistance to address the needs of conflict and disaster-affected people in Burma and refugees on the Thai-Burma border. Assistance is provided on the basis of need and does not discriminate based on ethnicity or religion.

Humanitarian assistance in Burma


Australia is committed to promoting better health outcomes which are essential to creating a productive and healthy workforce. Our aid program prioritises essential maternal, newborn and child health services, and improving the health system.

Health assistance in Burma

Our results

  • Improving access to quality education by distributing learning supplies to 299,962 children and enrolling an additional 24,330 children into government, monastic and community schools.
  • Supporting the development of a comprehensive and prioritised education sector plan to guide government, donor and private sector investment and providing advice on the revitalisation of Burma’s tertiary education sector, including Rangoon University.
  • Vaccinating 9,300 children and providing skilled birth delivery assistance to 5,800 women to strengthen maternal and child health.
  • Delivering humanitarian assistance to 138,354 vulnerable people affected by conflict and natural disasters.
  • Working with local and international organisations to support ongoing negotiations between government, military and ethnic armed groups to engage women in the peace process, and help establish a lasting peace.
  • Supporting the government to deliver key health and education services and promoting economic growth by increasing incomes and providing access to financial services and agricultural technologies for poor rural women and men.
  • Establishing a new $55 million public financial management reform program to build government capacity for efficient, accountable and responsive public service delivery.


Students at the Karen Young Women Leadership School reading the Burmese news (credit: Angela Wylie/The Age, International Women's Development Agency).
Ploughing fields, Shan, Burma (credit: DFAT).
A senior midwife attends to her malaria and primary health patients by motorbike (credit: 3DFund.org).