Su Mon speaks about her experiences managing a rural sales force in Myanmar Last Thursday, the development media platform Devex…
Rural stimulus projects
An isolated village is a poor village
For most of Myanmar, work is seasonal. When crops aren’t growing, many families find themselves without sufficient income for their basic needs. At the same time, there is a great need for infrastructure in their own villages, and the potential for labour opportunities is huge. Our community-led infrastructure projects address both these issues.
Building bridges. Literally.
Number of projects completed: 546
Total amount of wages earned: $3,339,533
Since 2010, Proximity has funded 546 community managed rural infrastructure projects, in over 400 villages in Myanmar. In the central Dry Zone, rain water harvesting reservoirs have reduced water collection times by up to an hour in some areas and, in the Ayeyarwady Delta, hundreds of footpaths are enabling easier and quicker access to schools, hospitals and market towns. Jetties built alongside riverbanks enable larger boats to dock near remote villages, thereby increasing trading opportunities and mobility. Strong, sturdy bridges transform epic odysseys by boat, into quick trips over the river.
Decided upon by local families, and managed by an elected committee of trusted villagers, each of these projects is undertaken during the long dry season. This is the time when many rural families are without regular work, making them vulnerable to food shortages and accumulating un-payable debt. By participating in the construction of the project, in a number of different ways, villagers receive an equal daily wage. This is mostly put towards food for immediate consumption, or paying off high interest loans that they had taken out to survive the season.
"Now we have the road, we don't feel so isolated. Finally, we exist!"
"The work came at exactly the right time, any longer and we would have been in so much trouble. I was scared, but I feel brave again now."
Ma Kyee Kan Village
"The NGO, 'River Doctors', can dock their hospital boat here, now we have a larger jetty. They come once a month and provide everyone with free healthcare. This is invaluable."
Kan Gyi Village, Bogale
"I feel so proud to be part of building this footpath. It will help my neighbors and I have easier access to the market towns and the hospital."
Kun Chaung Village