Myanmar is the second country in South East Asia after Cambodia where we have contextualized our self-help group (SHG) model. Data on poverty is limited, but World Bank and UNDP estimates indicate that 26% of the population is below poverty with 29% and 16% of the rural and urban population under poverty, respectively. Landlessness is a significant phenomenon, at 24%, for those whose primary economic activity is agriculture.
As part of our job creation initiative, in August 2013, HiHCSPL implemented the Livelihood Programme in Myanmar to:
• Form SHGs in geographies where credit availability from formal sources is negligible
• Train and build capacity of women on technical skills in sectors such as agro-processing, construction, ICT and carpentry.
• Train and build capacity of women for running businesses.
• Provide affordable credit to poor.
Create sustainability mechanisms for the small businesses.
the SHG model is of crucial importance and its need in Myanmar is vindicated by the stance of the World Bank. It has recommended to the government to include the SHG model in its policy for financial inclusion – the internal savings and lending will be crucial in providing credit where no formal banking channels are currently available.
The pilot project commenced in Bogalay Towship, located 230 kms northwest of Yangon. The objective of the pilot was to build the capacity of and create wealth for the women in Bogalay who were adversely affected by Cyclone Nargis. Bogalay has a population of approximately 350,000 of which 302,000 reside in rural areas.The potential for microcredit operations wasalso more feasible here as it is a relatively larger town.
Please give the targets achieved
The pilot also has a revolving fund for giving out small loans for businesses in the agriculture, fishing and general trading. Savings, hitherto possible only at banks in Bogalay, were channelized to support businesses of members. SHG members who were borrowing at high rates (5% per month) were able to access to finance at 2% per month.