The Ministry of Cooperatives and Paris-based non-governmental organisation PlaNet Finance have signed a memorandum of understanding on local economic development in rural areas in Myanmar’s Kayin state.
PlaNet Finance is the lead implementing agency for the EU-funded financial access and enterprise development project in Kayin state, which aims to form and develop financial cooperatives to support development in rural Hlaing-bwe township.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Cooperatives, U Kyaw Ngwe, said, “I strongly believe that this project can potentially support the development of Kayin state.”
The technologies from the project will be transferred to the Department of Cooperatives and the cooperative societies for replication and possible implementation in other areas, PlaNet Finance said.
PlaNet Finance’s project director, Ron Bevacqua, said the project intends “to empower our beneficiaries in Kayin state by facilitating the creation of ‘people centred’ community organisations owned and managed by the beneficiaries themselves.”
Bevacqua added that strong cooperatives providing needs-based financial services will be the foundation for the empowerment of the project’s beneficiaries.
“Access to financial services alone does not reduce poverty. Access only creates possibilities. What is important is how people use those financial services to take advantage of the opportunities available to them,” he said.
PlaNet Finance will also provide financial education and entrepreneurship training, as well as working with the Department of Small-Scale Industries to provide coaching to help beneficiaries find new opportunities to invest in their farms or enterprises.
The project is being implemented by PlaNet Finance in partnership with the Community Development Association (CDA), a local development organisation. The rural appraisal of the 35 participating villages in Hlaing-bwe township has been completed and the NGO said the cooperatives will be registered before the end of 2015.