Assisting for self-reliance leading to sustainable development: EB observes UNDP’s poverty reduction support in Dry Zone of Myanmar

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19 March 2013, Pakokku – Like many other natives in Dry Zone, villagers from Htan Taw Chauk Village in Pakokku Township used to face hardship because of lack of business opportunities, difficulty to access to credit, water scarcity and so on. However, it no longer is the case for many residents of Htan Taw Chauk, and Daw Yi and a few other villagers were glad to explain their progress to the delegation of the Executive Boards of UN funds and programmes who visited the village on 16 March. “If I had not got a chance to join self reliance group, I would not have afforded to support my children to continue their education,” Daw Yi, a widow with 2 children said. Being a member of Self Reliance Group established by UNDP Daw Yi enables to borrow money with a reasonable interest rate from the group’s revolving fund for raising pig and growing seasonal crops in her own land. Previously she had to lend out the land as she could not invest for crop plantation on her own.

Daw Yi is one 93 SRG members in Htan Taw Chauk village and other members could also extend their businesses to generate more income by taking loans from their respective groups. The members of the Executive Boards of UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-Women and WFP also witnessed baskets weaving business of two other SRG members – Ma Khin Mar Oo and Ma Than Than Win who expanded their businesses and could even employ some others in the village.

Under its Human Development Initiative (HDI) implemented till 2012, UNDP also provided school building, furniture and stationery, deep-tube well and pump, water collection tanks, and other livelihood assets in Htan Taw Chauk Village. UNDP ensures members of SRGs are able to continue their group functions by themselves and to self-manage meeting, participatory decision making and financial transaction by providing relevant capacity building training. In Myanmar, UNDP begins its three-year country programme in 2013 focusing to promote poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The UNDP Executive Board approved the normalization of country programme in Myanmar in its first regular session held early this year. The approved three-year country programme from 2013 to 2015 will be the first full country programme for the country over 20 years. The new country programme, developed in close consultation with government, development partners and the civil society, includes three components: Effective local governance for sustainable inclusive community development; Climate change, environment, energy and disaster risk reduction; and Democratic governance and development effectiveness. The first component of the new country programme is formulated based on the 20-year experiences of HDI.