|What we do
TBC’s main focus is to provide food, shelter and capacity-building support to Burmese refugees and displaced persons. The refugee camps are the key locations for current activities, where TBC also provides support for camp management through the refugee committees. TBC also conducts research into the ongoing causes of internal displacement in South East Burma.
The Border Consortium, a non-profit, non-governmental humanitarian relief and development agency, is an alliance of NGOs working together with displaced people of Burma/Myanmar to respond to humanitarian needs, strengthen self-reliance and promote appropriate and lasting solutions in pursuit of dignity, justice and peace.
TBC envisions peace and justice in Burma/Myanmar where people live with dignity, enjoying freedom from persecution or harm and are able to assert their rights. There is respect for diversity and people work together to develop their communities and country.
To support displaced people of Burma to be self-reliant in a just society where there is full respect for human rights.
To ensure an adequate standard of living and respect for the human rights of displaced people of Burma, by working in partnership with displaced communities, building capacity, strengthening self-reliance and food security.
Strategic Core Objectives
TBC has a Strategic Plan for 2009-2013, revised Jan 2012 for which the five strategic objectives have been developed. These objectives are highlighted below.
- Pursue change leading to durable solutions while ensuring a protective environment for displaced people of Burma/Myanmar.
- Increase self-reliance by promoting and supporting livelihood opportunities.
- Ensure continued access to adequate, nutritious food and appropriate shelter while prioritising support for the most vulnerable.
- Strengthen mutually accountable community – based management which ensures equity, diversity and gender balance.
- Develop TBC organizational structure and resources to anticipate and respond to changes, challenges and opportunities.
The Strategic Plan can be found here.
TBC’s programme is evolving as circumstances change and in the last few years increasing emphasis has been placed on promoting self-reliance of displaced people through the utilisation and development of their own resources. This has included the support of livelihood activities.
Recent political developments in Burma/Myanmar have raised the possibility of reconciliation after decades of conflict in the ethnic areas and TBC is committed to supporting peace-building initiatives. Although it is still too early to promote refugee return, it is not too early to plan for return. All of TBC’s activities remain relevant in the shifting political context but TBC is responding to these changes by re-orientating activities, ensuring they focus on ‘preparedness’. TBC works in partnership with the refugees to maximise their participation in activities, supporting refugees in their leadership and management roles, providing them with a sense of ownership and skills that will be important assets when return and reconstruction become a reality.
TBC supports the organisational development and sustainability of community-based partners. This is not only important for ensuring the efficient delivery of relief in the current context, but also for ensuring that CBOs are ready to assume significant roles in reconstruction and rehabilitation initiatives in a post-conflict context. TBC is prepared to participate in the eventual voluntary repatriation of the refugees when the situation allows safe and dignified return to Burma/Myanmar, and to assist, as appropriate, in their subsequent rehabilitation.
TBC’s programme addresses the humanitarian emergency and rehabilitation needs of Burmese refugees by:
- Provision of basic a food ration: rice, split peas, cooking oil, salt, fish paste, and fortified flour.
- Support of Supplementary Feeding Programmes and Nursery School lunches.
- Nutrition education, monitoring and research.
- Support of Food Security initiatives: Community, Agriculture and Nutrition (CAN) project – training, seed and tool distribution, and establishment of garden allotments.
- Provision of shelter materials and cooking fuel, including environmentally sustainable shelter livelihood activities.
- Entrepreneur development, grants, savings and loans project (EDGSLP).
- Support and capacity building of camp management.
- Participation in CCSDPT/ UNHCR Protection Sub Committee and Camp Management Working Group.
- Displacement documentation.
- Advocacy for change - with the shifting political circumstances, TBC is increasingly supporting displaced people from Burma/Myanmar to advocate and negotiate for themselves.
This programme has been able to adapt and evolve, responding to emergencies and increasing refugee numbers, since 1984 and is still very cost effective in its provision and management per refugee. Although the TBC programme has grown in complexity in the last few years, TBC continues to implement its activities as much as possible through refugee CBOs. Please refer to our most recent six month report for more information on TBC’s programme activities.
Improving environmental sustainability is of importance for both refugee and host communities in light of competing pressures on limited water, land and forestry resources. TBC food supplies are generally delivered in reusable containers. TBC supplies cooking fuel, fuel-efficient stoves and building materials as part of its food and shelter mandate. The cooking fuel is made from waste from sawmills, bamboo and coconut by-products and, where possible, the building materials are supplied from commercially grown plots.
In a new partnership with the RECOFTC, TBC has initiated a pilot project, which aims to strengthen refugee and local Thai community cooperation in natural resource management and explore sustainable and environmentally sensitive livelihood opportunities for both refugees and Thai villagers. In addition, TBC is piloting the establishment of bamboo plantations in connection with the camps, which will have a beneficial impact on the surrounding areas and provide a sustainable source of building materials in the future. Sustainable agriculture and water-saving techniques are fostered in livelihood activities. A rapid environmental impact assessment of TBC’s programmes and activities was conducted in 2012 and can be found here.
With staple food prices increasing dramatically in recent years, it has been more challenging than ever to carry out our essential work. This has forced TBC to make cuts to the programme, including cuts to the food ration, which now falls below the international SPHERE minimum standard. To limit the impact of the ration reduction, improvements have been made to the ration. At the same time, TBC is combining the ration-reductions with an increased emphasis on identifying and ensuring adequate support for the poorest and most nutritionally vulnerable segments of the camp population as well as continuing to invest in vital livelihood opportunities.
Please refer to our most recent six month report for more information on TBC’s programme, changes to the ration and funding challenges.
[Rev: Jul 12]