Next Generation Myanmar Series, Myanmar’s Report

11 June 2019

Next Generation Myanmar, a first-of-its-kind nationwide study exploring the hopes and aspirations of young people in the country, was conducted by the British Council and VSO in partnership with Conflict Management Consulting and the Center for Diversity and National Harmony. It was led by, designed by and shaped by a task force of young people from across Myanmar. The research was finalized and released as a public report on the 7th of June 2019, David Tanner got the detail of it.

Unemployment, crime, drug use, and social media obsession are top concerns for Myanmar's youth.90 per cent of Myanmar's youth feel that making a positive contribution to their societies or communities is important to them, says new research published today by the British Council and VSO.The research, which involved a national survey of more than 2,400 Myanmar youth, reveals nearly nine in ten (89 per cent) also felt making Myanmar more democratic was important for the country's development. Over three-quarters (76 per cent) of youth felt their quality of life would improve in the next five years, citing training opportunities and greater freedoms as reasons for their optimism.

However, the survey also highlights significant concerns the vast majority of youth consulted were worried about Myanmar's drug problem, with 93.7 per cent saying reducing people's use of the development of the country. Employment prospects are also a major issue, with about one in four (26 per cent) survey respondents revealing they were jobless and searching for work.

Education and earning good money are seen as priorities by Myanmar's youth, while marriage and family were cited by far fewer (14 per cent and 15 per cent respectively) as important goals for the future.

Thanks to the greater number of training opportunities available, many young people felt their future goals were achievable. They explained that training offered in their areas by local CSOs and international NGOs, particularly vocational training, were giving youth a chance to build valuable new skills - an opportunity that only recently became available. They hoped that skills could then translate into greater opportunities for education or employment, and even greater political awareness.

Dr. Richard Sunderland, Country Director of British Council Myanmar, said: "The British Council and VSO are delighted to have supported this research and the aspirations of young people, helping amplify their voices and make a positive contribution to their country and to the world. One of our research participants commented that 'youth are an untapped potential in Myanmar. We agree and are confident that Myanmar's youth will play a positive role in the country's future.”

VSO Myanmar Country Director, Joyce Laker said: "Young people are the cornerstone for durable peace and development in Myanmar. The Next Generation research has set a foundation for government and development partners to better understand and explore viable options and alternatives for engaging youth. Unless we recognize young people potentials, invest in empowering them, building their resilience and creating space for them to lead initiatives to transform their lives, we will be missing a lot of achieving sustainable development. Ma Phyoe Phyoe Aung, a task force member who helped design and deliver the research, said: "Thanks to this research we now have robust data on a range of topics to generate debate about issues such as peace, jobs, our communities and discrimination. Also, we have more confidence advocating solutions for issues and discussing priorities with the policy makers. And it's not just us policy makers, donors, and other stakeholders all now have a common data set on which to discuss youth issues.”