Pact and its partners, Chevron and The Coca-Cola Co and its Foundation, have pledged $7 million to help over 65,000 women in six regions across Myanmar through financial inclusion, health and mobile technology support.
The commitment, announced at 2014 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, builds on two existing projects between Pact and its partners to improve the lives of women, their families and communities in Myanmar.
One of the key challenges to lifting people out of poverty in Myanmar is inadequate access to capital. With an average per capita income of less than $2 per day, more than one in four people live in poverty.
Pact has been active in Myanmar since 1997, improving health care, livelihoods and community development with nearly 4 million people across 11,147 villages.
Pact’s WORTH initiative, a savings-led finance program, has been implemented across four projects in Myanmar. WORTH enables women to build transparent savings and credit groups and empowers them with financial literacy skills and entrepreneurial training needed to start and grow microenterprises.
In 2012, Pact and Coca-Cola implemented a 5by20 project to support women’s economic empowerment and job creation initiatives in Myanmar. The project has already helped improve the incomes of 21,000 women, Pact said. The three-year project aims to empower 24,500 women through training, capacity building, and microenterprise development.
“Projects such as this help people to make their own economic choices and improve their health and their lives,” said Melody Meyer, president, Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company.
Pact and Chevron have been partnering in Myanmar for more than 10 years. Through the Sustainable Health and Empowerment (SHINE) program, Pact and Chevron have reached more than 169,000 people in 245 villages with integrated health and livelihoods support. The project facilitates community-led networks, providing them with technical knowledge and training needed to put healthy behaviours into practice.
The new funds will expand the current partnerships in Myanmar and start efforts in two new regions of the country, Pact said. It will also train and equip WORTH groups and community health workers with mobile technology to improve data collection and access to information.
Pact said it is seeking additional partners on the commitment, including those that can help develop mobile technology tools and platforms to provide participants with improved access to education, training, banking and social services.