SWB: International Commission for Dalit Rights and Pre/Post Natal Care in Myanmar

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Wilson C (Marriott Wardman Park)
Maria Suchowski, Statistics Without Borders, Grand Rapids, MI
Caste Freedom Index  


The Caste Freedom Index (CFI) is a measure of the degree to which Dalit people are discriminated against.  

The term “Dalits” encompasses Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes, other sub-castes and socially excluded groups of people, who have been discriminated against on the basis of caste or analogous systems.  There are two primary states, Nepal and India, where the caste system governs the socio-political and economic realms. However, there are 23 other states around the world9, who also have been practicing caste or similar systems. 

There is ample evidence, and some research and statistics, supporting the argument that the situation of Dalits needs to be improved.  Having regular, methodologically sound and coherent statistics would be a benefit for advocacy and political action.

International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR), together with statisticians/researchers from Statistics Without Borders (SWB), is actively engaged in developing CFI as a standardized framework for measuring caste-based oppression that will provide a clear metric for determining the current status of discrimination and, as importantly, movement over time towards positive social goals. 

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies

Through local partnerships, Global Community Service Foundation (GCSF) supports a range of services to at-risk pregnant women and infants in the Inle Lake and Ayetharyar regions of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). On average, approximately 1200 women and their infants receive GCSF-supported services each year. While GCSF has been supporting this program for several years and has successfully made available critical health-related services to thousands of women and their children, there was a desire to conduct a formal and current needs assessment as GCSF considered its future support. To this end researchers from Statistics Without Borders were asked to conduct the needs assessment work.

Topics of the needs assessment were directed at understanding pregnancy and birth demographics of women in the project area, and in learning the needs for specific health services. The needs assessment was completed in 2015.