GraceWorks Myanmar (GWM) is a community development organisation. We partner with local organisations and individuals who are working in communities, helping them achieve improvement and sustainability in their quality of life, while building their capacity.
Community development is the key focus of our activities, which are delivered through four sectors: village-led development, peacebuilding, health and livelihoods initiatives. We invest in practical, grassroots programs and projects with an emphasis on building capacity and long-term relationships with local partners to play our role in empowering people in Myanmar to achieve sustainable development.
In our community development education and peacebuilding programs, we are contributing to a world-first body of knowledge and practice. We primarily exist to serve people in Myanmar who experience poverty, vulnerability and marginalisation, with a heavy focus on community-level work, supporting them in gaining the freedoms and capacity to achieve the life they desire.
GWM was founded in March 2004 by Peter Simmons. It was born out of his first missions-based trip to Myanmar in 2000. Peter was confronted with stories of young children dying needlessly from a lack of medicine. During the next four years, Peter gained support through his business networks, formed alliances with other aid organisations and continued to visit Myanmar. Once established, GWM then focused on meeting the health-related needs of people living in poverty. At that time, GWM was primarily a humanitarian organisation responding to emergencies of a more individual nature. From the early relationships established with local community leaders, GWM branched into a role that supported several community leaders – in providing funding for infrastructure, vocational training and health initiatives and partnering with them in the development of sustainable livelihoods and income streams.
In 2011, Community Transformation, a smaller Australian-based organisation led by Drs Anthony and Vicki-Ann Ware that also focused solely on development in Myanmar, merged into GWM. This significantly contributed to our first season of transformation, which started in 2012. Then, we began to transition from purely humanitarian, missions-based aid into a grassroots, sustainable development organisation. This included shifting our focus from health and education, largely in relation to orphanages, to our focus on communities.
Today, our operations build on nearly two decades of working with local communities. This is enabled by grants and philanthropic gifts from organisations based on Australia, the UK and Myanmar; corporate partnerships; and the generous financial and volunteer contributions of private supporters in Australia.
We are a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct. The Code defines minimum standards of governance, management and accountability for non-government development organisations. Our voluntary adherence to the Code is our commitment to ethical practice and public accountability.
We are a registered charity through the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC). We can be found on the Charity Register. We display this symbol to promote our commitment to being transparent, accountable and well-run.
We are a member of the Australian Myanmar Chamber of Commerce. Membership offers the exclusive opportunity to build ties with key decision-makers across many different sectors in both Australia and Myanmar. The Chamber aims to provide members with the resources and access required to successfully navigate the business environment in Myanmar.