ADB, Myanmar Sign Grants from Japan for Rural Livelihoods, HIV Prevention
NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR – The Government of Myanmar and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed two grant agreements financed by the Government of Japan through Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) grants to help cut rural poverty and to expand HIV/AIDS services to vulnerable groups and into remote areas.
“The livelihoods grant will help communities develop viable new income opportunities needed to end the vicious cycle of rural poverty,” said Putu Kamayana, ADB’s Myanmar Country Head at the signing ceremony. “The HIV/AIDS assistance will strengthen treatment and prevention of the disease, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).”
The $12 million livelihoods grant will benefit at least 700,000 people in villages in Ayeyarwady Delta, Central Dry Zone, Tanintharyi Region, and Shan State, where some rural communities face poverty rates more than double the urban level.
“Grants under the project will help to identify and prioritize community specific needs, which can then be financed through community block funds to enable rural people to benefit from political and economic reforms,” said U Tin Ngwe, Deputy Minister for Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development.
A key feature of the project is its community-driven approach, under which village infrastructure like access roads, jetties, water and irrigation facilities, schools and community health centers will be improved. New income earning opportunities will be developed in areas such as fish, shrimp and pearl farming, livestock husbandry, and production of cash crops, including garlic and chilies. Basic English skills training will allow communities to take advantage of the country’s fast growing tourism market.
An estimated 200,000 people in Myanmar are thought to be living with HIV. The $10 million HIV/AIDS JFPR grant will increase access and quality to health and HIV/AIDS services, along fast developing economic corridors in Mon, Kayin, and Shan states, where new opportunities attract migrant workers and mobile populations. In these underserved areas, these mobile populations as well as local communities are at increased risk of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
The JFPR project will support innovative partnerships between the Government and NGOs to develop and deliver better health services for underserved population. The project will also enhance the Government’s capacity to manage public services delivery and to design innovative models for reaching out the people at risk.
“This JFPR funding will build 47 rural health centers and sub-health centers, refurbish three townships hospitals, supply medical equipment and training, and lead to better access to basic health services to some of the country’s most vulnerable people,” said Kazuhiko Koguchi, ADB’s Executive Director for Japan.
“We are committed to improving health services for all people, both structurally and functionally, and this project will help us achieve that goal,” said Union Minister for Health U Pe Thet Khin. Both projects aim to pilot approaches that can then be replicated in other parts of Myanmar and abroad. These large grants represent the special commitment of the Government of Japan to provide fast, meaningful assistance since the resumption of ADB operations in Myanmar in January 2013. Since its establishment in 2000, JFPR has provided over $620 million for 308 grant and technical assistance projects in ADB developing member countries.
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