Enabling community-led development in rural Myanmar

Tired of “business-as-usual” efforts in aid and community development, we helped Asia-Resource Development (ARD) to prove that design research isa valuable method for better understanding communities.

Our research documented both immediate and long-term development possibilities in a broad number of areas, including health, energy, education, water and micro-finance.

We spent a week living with and talking to locals in Ainggyi village, Sagaing State, about their daily lives, focusing on the broad themes of Health, Education, Water, and Micro Finance.

Responsive research in context

To understand the challenges of daily life in a village in rural Myanmar, we designed a flexible research approach, that was responsive and reflexive – to allow the daily research findings to guide us.

Working with a translator and team of local fixers, we toured one rural village, including its medical building and primary school. We conducted 40 interviews with individuals, families, and community groups. Through our interviews and in-situ observations we gained insight into the everyday practices of families around health, education, water and energy use.

We documented extensively through photographic imagery and videography, allowing us to reflect, and report quickly and effectively.

We investigated and reported on the social, cultural and technical contexts of rural Myanmar in a way that would inspire new action. The research helped our client imagine new approaches to community development that were grounded in the everyday realities of life in the region.



  • Produced a printed report that incorporated ethnographic vignettes and rich documentary material that communicated the complexities and challenges of life in the village.

  • Presented research findings to ministers of the new Myanmar government as a generative tool for future programs and procedures.

  • Our insights assisted Asia-Resource Development (ARD) to design targeted aid and development programs, working closely with ministries in Myanmar.

  • As a result of this research, a number of programs have been tested in the community

Want to hear more about community development?


Call Ernez +61 413 749 661

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