In Myanmar, ADB through a grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) is supporting 87,000 households in their efforts to improve productivity and enhance livelihoods through community-driven development initiatives.
Cohesive communities participate at every stage of the project through a holistic approach that fosters ownership rather than dependency. This is a model that can be replicated across the country.
Myanmar – It’s a country with enormous potential; a young and dynamic population, rich in natural resources and a strategic location ready for trade and investment.
Much of the population lives in rural areas. But livelihoods have long been constrained due to limited employment opportunities, inadequate infrastructure, access to markets and scarce microfinancing options. Even access to clean water is a challenge.
“Before the fence was built our village water pond was not secure,” says Kyi Kyi Khaing, a villager from Sat Kone, Ngaputaw Township.
“Animals came here, making the drinking water unsafe because of their feces. The children were often sick with diarrhea.”
In response, ADB through a grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, supports the Department of Rural Development to implement the Enhancing Rural Livelihoods and Incomes Project, or ERLIP.
ERLIP aims to improve productivity and enhance livelihoods through community driven development initiatives. Project sites in Shan, Ayeyarwady and Taninthayi support more than 87,000 households.
ERLIP’s unique model supports cohesive communities that organize and participate at every stage of the project.
“All the villagers use water and infrastructure so we’re aware we must help build it,” continues Kyi Kyi Khaing.
“Working together as a community on these projects wasn’t difficult as they improve all our lives.”
Community members identify priority needs. They design the proposed project and manage allocated funds – then, implement the plan and monitor and evaluate its impact on the community.
Funded projects include rural infrastructure development for access to clean water and the construction of roads, jetties and community centers.
INTERVIEW CLIP -: “We decided to build this road so we could connect properly to our neighbouring village. Now with this road both villages can reach to the boat jetty,” comments village committee leader Thein Zaw, from Yone Chaung in the Ngaputaw Township.
“It is easier for us now to buy and sell goods and have other business opportunities during all the seasons so this is why we selected this concrete road to be built as a priority.”
ERLIP encourages opportunities in animal husbandry, agriculture and fishing.
“We use any profit we make on our children’s education and healthcare so our family’s wellbeing has really improved,” says Zar Zar Moe, a fish broker from Pamma Waddy village in the Ngaputaw Township.
Women, and the poor, are encouraged to voice their needs and influence community priorities. They’ve also assumed leadership roles which, in the past, had been mostly taken by men.
“Once this project started things changed with encouragement from the government and the project coordinators because they really encouraged women to participate,” says San Lwin Oo, a villager from Yone Chaung in the Ngaputaw Township.
“It gave us an equal opportunity and a chance to have our say in the project development and community activities.”
ADB, with the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, aims to improve livelihoods by reducing poverty through infrastructure and community development.
It’s a holistic approach that fosters ownership not dependency and one that can be replicated across Myanmar – empowering communities around the country.