Urban Safety Project




Hlinethaya Township, Yangon = 688,0001

Hpa-an Township, Kayin = 422,0001

Taunggyi Township, Shan = 382,0001


Growth Rate


Key Stakeholders

  • Women

  • Informal Residents

  • Whole Community

Women Informal Residents Whole Community

Other Stakeholders

  • Local NGOs, CSOs, CBOs

  • City Authorities

  • Other Service Providers

  • State / Federal Actors

  • Private Sector

  • Donors

Local NGOs, CSOs, CBOs City Authorities Other Service Providers State ; Federal Actors Private Sector Donors

Relevant SDGS

  • 3 Good Health
  • 5 Gender Equality
  • 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 16 Peace, Justice








Strengthening multiple government agencies’ effectiveness and responsiveness to urban safety needs in townships in Myanmar through good data, coordinated responses and community engagement.


  • In Myanmar, only 30% of the population is currently urban, but this is expected to change.3

  • In Yangon, the fastest growing city, 33% of the population still does not have access to basic infrastructure.3

  • In some wards, women say they feel 10-20% safer than their male counterparts, indicating a normalisation of some of the urban safety issues they experience.4


In this interview, the three partners working on the ‘Urban Safety Project’ in Myanmar – David Ney, Urban Specialist, Urban Safety at The Asia Foundation, Shoko Sakuma – Program Manager at Women for the World and Lumin Lwin, Project Coordinator at Thibi – tell us how they are combining community-generated data with simple technological solutions designed around the needs of township technocrats, to start new, inclusive conversations around community identity and collective responsibility.

This project is… helping to lay the foundations for leapfrogging advances in data-driven e-government, so we’re moving fast but very deliberately trying not to break things.

Lumin Lwin

Project Coordinator, Thibi

After working together, [the community] felt like these problems are connected and…they realised just talking with each other reduces your insecure feeling…this was not only me, and I get to know why it is happening

Shoko Sakuma

Programme Manager at Women for the World

The point wasn’t to have the best of piece of technology, the point was to have a piece of technology that was actually functional and useful in the context…the tools that are going to be useful are going to be the tools that are actually used

David Ney

Specialist in Urban Safety at The Asia Foundation

Key Programme Activities

  • Community engagement

  • Data/technology

  • Organisational training/skills building

  • Policy

  • Stakeholder co-ordination and network-building

  • Technical support

Key Outcomes

Since 2016, the Urban Safety Project has:

  • Built community cohesion with ward safety audits bringing together groups across previous social divides – such as formal and informal residents – to perceive and address shared local challenges.

  • Increased recognition of and demand by municipal authorities for community-generated data and changed mindsets on responsibility and service provision e.g. with one ward extending waste collection beyond formal tax-paying residents to informal settlers, for whole-community benefit.

  • Developed and championed organisational cultures and horizontal learning structures for data-driven decision-making across different municipal authorities.

  • Documented guidance for other communities and actors to be able to use the ward safety audit process and Township GIS Tools in other locations and on other issues.

  • Photo Credits
  •  – Women for the World
  • Notes
  •  – 1 Statistics from national census (2014), rounded to the nearest 1,000
  •  – 2 Statistics from UN World Urbanization Prospects (2018), estimated average annual rate of change of the urban population for Myanmar (2020-25)
  •  – 3 Statistics from The Asia Foundation
  •  – 4 Statistics from Women for the World

Innovation Report     2020