Our Work

MYANMAR: Training Helps Farmers and Families Escape Poverty

Current Project

Project Overview

Program helps people improve their income and living conditions

Timeline: 1 year

Spiritual Engagement: 900

Community Engagement: 3,850

Anticipated Lives Impacted: 3,850

Total Amount Requested: $46,200

 

In their own words:

“In Katha town, Mandalay division, Daw Bauk Ja, a woman [in her] late fifties, whose dragon-fruit trees bear lots of fruits for the first time is so joyful and thankful to the church. [She received the trees through the Church of the Province of Myanmar.] ‘I will give them to the elders in the village because they are my first fruits. I will also give them to the priest.’ She breathed a sigh of relief when her fruit trees started to bear fruit. ‘At first, when the trees grew taller and taller and no sign of fruits were seen, she was so worried and disappointed,’ said Juna, the development coordinator from Mandalay diocese. ‘Now, the long branches bear lots of fruits. ” — as reported by church officials

Context:

Nearly 70 percent of the working population is employed in or heavily dependent on agriculture in Myanmar. The country has failed to attract adequate financial investment in research, technology and infrastructure, resulting in less than optimal harvests, widespread poverty and a decline in rural income.

Need:

Using a survey, the Anglican Church of the Province of Myanmar uncovered an immediate need for technological transfer in the agricultural workforce in order to maximize crop yields, efficiently market products and establish micro enterprises. The survey also found people needed help with their finances so they can avoid informal loans at unregulated interest rates.

Solution:

The Church of the Province of Myanmar will utilize the Church and Community Mobilizing Process to build community capacity. People will learn about economic development, management, agriculture, animal husbandry, environmental awareness, fruit preservation and processing, and motorcycle and engine repair. Church staff and local leaders will learn to train community members on how to provide for themselves, families and communities.

Life Impact

This project benefits at least 3,850 people:

  •  900 church staff and community leaders and members will participate in devotions before each training session; devotions are biblical, but suitable for non-Christian communities
  • 210 clergy and staff who undergo training that teaches them about development, managing project activities and conducting core training sessions
  • 100 local leaders from six dioceses who receive training on development issues and methodologies, financial management, project management, proposal writing, networking with donors and monitoring and evaluation
  • 590 community members who receive training on financial management, livelihood training and small business development, among other topics
  • 2,950 family members who benefit from improved household finances, as family members become more skilled and earn more income

Project Design

The Provincial Development Department of the Church of the Province of Myanmar will use the Church and Community Mobilizing Process approach to build community capacity, working primarily with 12 churches within its six dioceses. Through this project, 210 staff and clergy, 100 community leaders and 590 community members will gain training, awareness and capacity in community development, financial management skills and knowledge of how to better utilize resources within the community to help break the cycle of poverty. This project will emphasize educational, health and sanitation, economic, social and environmental development. The diocesan bishops and development committees, with guidance from the Provincial Development Department, will choose participants to attend training sessions.

As a result of this project, the morale of participants’ family members will improve, as will their household incomes. The project will also help to ensure an efficient transfer of knowledge throughout the community, giving individual households and entire communities the ability to transform their circumstances.

The Church of the Province of Myanmar will solicit technical assistance from local and international nongovernmental organizations when developing and implementing training courses. The Church will collaborate and network with existing partners, as well as establish new partnerships with other institutions.

Measuring impact: Outcome evaluation will utilize both quantitative and qualitative means, including focus groups and interviews with individuals and key informants. The diocesan development office will record the number of participants at core, retraining and all other training sessions, capturing the dates and the names of participating communities. These records will also be shared with the Provincial Development Department. Regular follow-up programs will be conducted locally, with support from clergy, staff and community leaders.

Track record:  The Church of the Province of Myanmar has conducted economic development work in six dioceses, and has been doing so in some places for more than 10 years. The Provincial Development Department opened in 2008, in collaboration with five overseas partners, focusing on food security, livelihood, income generation, health, education and community development.

Project Budget

Livelihood activities: $18,500

Staff retreat: $11,000

Leadership training: $8,200

Community training programs: $6,000

Transportation: $2,100

Audit fees and office supplies: $400

Total: $46,200

Risk Analysis

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

Concept: Risk Level 1

The Church and Community Mobilization Process helps church leaders and their congregants work together to bring about positive, long-lasting change by increasing communities’ capacity for self-development. This approach is community-driven and develops self-confidence among people as they grow and utilize resources already available to them. The main objective is to empower the local church to be the force in bringing about holistic community development.

Program Design and Experience: Risk Level 2

The Church of the Province of Myanmar has worked in some dioceses for nearly a decade and is well-received by the community. Field research and study have made the Church aware of community needs and enabled it to design projects and strategically respond to these needs. The Church has a systematic and thorough plan for regular monitoring and evaluation. This project has tremendous potential to transfer knowledge within the community and inspire ongoing community development, even beyond the project time frame. There is slight risk that participants could drop out of training sessions, for a variety of reasons. Also, the Church lacks a mechanism for gauging participants’ learning. Therefore, staff and clergy will constantly reiterate the importance of capacity building training, participant empowerment and beneficiaries’ roles as catalysts to development among families and community members living in abject poverty.

Leadership: Risk Level 1

The Church of the Province of Myanmar has strong leadership that understands the changing needs of people in Myanmar. Under the leadership of U San Lin, Church of the Province of Myanmar empowers the local church to effectively collaborate with and transform communities.

Financial Control: Risk Level 4

Church of the Province of Myanmar has stable management, but was not able to present three years of financial statements.

Sustainability: Risk Level 3

The development process gives the local church a platform where community members can discuss and initiate sustainable solutions to problems. Although the Church of the Province of Myanmar requires funding for the entire project, the model will allow the project to operate sustainably over the long-term. This project promotes horizontal knowledge transfer, helping to ensure its long-term sustainability and growth. However, this project currently requires external funding and does not earn sufficient income to be sustainable.

External: Risk Level 3

As a predominantly agrarian country, Myanmar is affected adversely by unpredictable and extreme weather conditions, which can breed poverty for rural populations in particular.

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