Mission, Purpose, Values


Empowering sustainable development for improved quality of life and holistic wellbeing of Myanmar’s people


Providing vital connections and promoting opportunities by building capacity and partnering for long-term value to enable personal empowerment and community-based development


GWM is an international development agency that respects, protects and promotes human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class, or socio-economic status.

Social Justice

People have inherent value and capacity. We work alongside people in Myanmar to support them in gaining the freedoms they need to achieve the quality of life they desire. Integrity is at the heart of everything we do as we seek to address injustices with positive, long-term development that contributes to breaking the cycle of poverty.


People don’t live in sectors. Only NGOs do. That’s why we approach everything from a holistic perspective. We aim for sustainable outcomes that empower people through processes and results. We are more interested in enabling the good ideas of local people than simply delivering our own.


We emphasise respect and inclusivity for all, regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, age or background, and seek to address marginalisation and exclusion based on these factors. We are driven by compassion and cultural sensitivity. We invest in building understanding and challenging our own thinking so that we are part of long-term change rather than band-aid solutions.


Genuine two-way partnerships that emphasise self-sustainability are central to our contribution in Myanmar. We focus on grassroots partners and projects founded in mutual accountability and transparency.

Capacity building

We work to increase the capacity of our partners, rather than creating dependency on us. Success in the long-term will mean we’ve done ourselves out of a job. Participatory processes give us the opportunity for mutual learning. They make the journey as important as the destination so that we contribute to home-grown development capacity.

Our philosophy

GWM believes that the intrinsic goal of development is to advance human dignity, freedom, social equity and self-determination. A lack of development is characterised by poverty, social exclusion, powerlessness, poor-health, and shortened life expectancy. ‘Good’ development outcomes are best achieved when communities have ownership of the goals and processes and where participation, transparency and accountability are emphasised.

Good development outcomes must also explicitly consider the importance of gender and diversity, as well as expand people’s freedoms and experience of their inalienable human rights. Ensuring development outcomes are sustainable, therefore, requires any underlying factors contributing to underdevelopment be addressed, requiring partnership and local capacity building. Sustainable development also requires environmental concerns be given consideration.

GWM agrees with the UNDP definition of 'human development' (Human Development Report 1990, p.10) as being a process of enlarging people's choices, the most critical ones being to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decent standard of living. If these essential choices are not available, many other opportunities remain inaccessible.

It has been noted by Professor Mark Duffield (On the Edge of ‘No Man’s Land’: Chronic Emergency in Myanmar, University of Bristol) that development agencies in Myanmar create space for programs by adhering strictly to the humanitarian principles of:

  • humanity—the centrality of saving human lives and alleviating suffering;
  • impartiality—implementation of action solely on the basis of need, without discrimination between or within affected populations;
  • neutrality—that humanitarian action must not favour any side in an armed conflict or other dispute; and,
  • independence—autonomy of humanitarian objectives from the political, economic, military or other objectives that any actor may hold.
GWM adopts these apolitical humanitarian principles in its development approach in Myanmar, through what may be termed ‘humanitarian development'.



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"Its not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are"

~Roy Disney