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MYANMAR: Farmers Gain Economic Independence

Project Overview

New Technologies and Equipment Give Agrarian Communities Resources, Food and Hope

Timeline: 1 year

Anticipated Lives Impacted: 6,745

Total Amount Requested: $17,295 


In their own words:

When the church started the threshing machine project, Yawshu was the first Holistic person to use it. “When we had to use [a] threshing machine from another village, they charged eight baskets of rice to thresh 100 baskets.” This year, he threshed $17,295 800 baskets of rice and saved enough money to tithe. “Now, my friends and I know that we need to tithe to the church and I am glad to be able to do it this year.” — Yawshu, a 27-year-old man who lives in Nyaung Ngu village in Myanmar


Myanmar has vast resources, but the rural poor lack access to economic opportunities. The country’s economy is one of the least developed in the world, and little wealth reaches the population. Most people live in one of an estimated 40,000 villages. Of those people engaged in agriculture, 37 percent do not own land or livestock. For those agriculturalists who own land, unpredictable weather presents challenges and unstable conditions, making it difficult for farmers to provide for their families.


The most vulnerable people in Myanmar – those living in rural areas – have little chance of escaping poverty and are unable to effectively support their families or access education and medical care. These rural poor need effective and sustainable means for accessing capital and jobs in the agricultural sector.


The Church of the Province of Myanmar (CPM) has developed economic development programs that reach the rural poor. The project provides rural families, communities and the local parish with sustainable economic opportunities through enhanced agricultural techniques and the availability of a local rice mill that will serve four rural communities.


Life Impact

This project benefits 6,745 people, some through multiple impacts:

Spiritual Engagement:

1,349 families (for a total of 6,745 people) will receive biblical teaching and fellowship during sessions on income generation and educational training sessions

Community Engagement:

  •  1,349 families receive income generation education awareness on rice growing and harvesting
  • 10 community members receive training in appropriate technology
  • 8 people strengthen their leadership skills by taking part in an economic empowerment committee
  • 250 people gain steady employment and experience a raise in their household income
  • 484 children will attend school regularly

Project Design

The Church Province of Myanmar (CPM) will mobilize the 1,349 families it serves in the diocese to get involved in income-generation and empowerment efforts. (Based on five people per family, this represents 6,745 people.) From these families, 250 beneficiaries will be selected for training on rice production — from planting to packaging. These will be farmers who have previously demonstrated they are capable of running their own farms. The farmers will meet regularly to share their progress, hear the Word of God and learn lessons on stewardship. The 250 beneficiaries will also demonstrate what they have learned to others. With the increased income, the families will be able to pay their children’s school fees.

This project is a continuation of an earlier phase, which successfully implemented the current model.

Measuring impact: CPM will keep records of the number of people trained and income generation projects started with the establishment of the rice mill. It will track the number of children returning and remaining in school. Through regular community meetings, CPM will track progress on the medical care provided and the wellness information shared.

Track Record

CPM has partnered with the Anglican Relief and Development Fund since 2007. ARDF’s first project trained healthcare workers in rural areas of Myanmar. Micro lending, training in small business start-ups and subsistence farming have been identified as priority programs.

In 2011 ARDF partnered with Five Talents, a Christian microfinance nonprofit, to oversee small business development in collaboration with the CPM Mother’s Union. The partners conducted training in starting a small business and business management and provided train-the-trainer sessions for economic empowerment. Staff from all six CPM dioceses benefitted from this training.

In 2010, Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo established the Economic Empowerment Task Force to identify local needs, potential solutions and funding opportunities. The task force proposed a rice mill project in Nyaung Ngu parish. After successfully completing the first phase project, the task force began plans to complete a second phase before the autumn 2013 rice-planting season.

Project Budget

Rice milling machine: $9,145

Threshing machine and trawler:  $6,297

Research and evaluation: $1,853

TOTAL: $17,295

Risk Analysis

Low: 1, Low/Medium: 2, Medium: 3, Medium/High: 4, High: 5

Concept: Risk Level 1

In Myanmar, most rural dwellers rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. This project not only enhances workers’ and their families’ profits, but the parish and its parishioners also benefit from more sustainable livelihoods.

Program Design and Experience: Risk Level 1

The CPM’s local economic empowerment committee originally developed the rice mill proposal. The project has been implemented over the past year in Nyaung Ngu parish. The impacts of this project have been significant and the model has proven to be effective and worthy of funding. The project benefits participants through training and employment, as well as the community as a whole through profit sharing and the provision of education and medical care. Ongoing monitoring will help ensure overall effectiveness. This project promotes sustainability, community participation and ownership; it thoroughly engages the local church and adheres to best practices for a holistic project.

Leadership: Risk Level 1

Project leadership gained experience while implementing this program last year. Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo has a good reputation in the communities where the CPM works and has demonstrated his commitment to rural families. In addition, the Archbishop appointed an Anglican couple with 25 years of experience at World Vision to lead the project.

Financial Control: Risk Level 1

The CPM has independent governance, secure transfer methods and externally audited financial statements for two of the three years in view. Since the agency will be investing in equipment, depreciation, maintenance and replacement costs will be future considerations. Project profits should cover these expenses.

Sustainability: Risk Level 1

Archbishop Stephen committed to making this project economically independent from the church and has been working toward this goal throughout his 10 years of service. This project will contribute directly to the sustainability of the CPM.

External: Risk Level 4

Although this project reduces the impact of excessive rainfall, the agricultural sector and those who rely on farming for sustenance will continue to be affected by adverse weather conditions. The government has moved away from international isolation and has publicly committed to developing the nation as a whole, but the country still faces internal conflict and nonprofit organizations seeking to assist local citizens, especially in economic capacities, remain at risk of persecution or over-regulation. As a more inclusive and accepting development process is adopted, the CPM must remain aware of the current risks. In addition, communication and reporting may prove to be difficult or delayed due to the rural location of the project.

Read the full research report as a PDF

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