Community driven development leading to a safer life and improved market access for villagers.
NIRAS, in collaboration with IID Australia is implementing a rural livelihood project in Ywangan township situated in the highlands of Shan State, known for its fertile land, production of tea and coffee, and otherwise cool climate. The project is part of the ADB and JICA co-funded Enhancing Rural Livelihoods and Income project (ERLIP) which aims to reduce poverty in three targeted townships and increase income in the predominantly agricultural based economies through a Community Driven Development (CDD) process to rural development.
Participatory village plans and small scale infrastructure projects
Since October 2016, NIRAS has supported the township government and village authorities developing participatory village plans and implementing small scale infrastructure projects in the township’s 28 village tracts (a total of 125 villages). The small community projects are financed through small grants administered by Department of Rural Development (DRD) in Ywangan and passed over to the village tract development committees for implementation. The village plans are elaborated and implemented on a participatory basis facilitated by NIRAS’ team in the township.
NIRAS TA Team meeting in Ywangan.
During the first planning cycle the project supported 61 infrastructure projects mostly access roads, bridges, water supply, community houses etc.
The village committees are organising the implementation of the projects facilitated by the NIRAS team and villagers are contributing to the implementation with labour and in some cases also with minor building material. The finalised infrastructure projects are all contributing to improving everyday life in the villages and for some it even means greater safety as access to health clinics in some cases has been reduced with two third of the time. In fact, improved access to the main roads for health reasons and for products are the most common benefit mentioned by villagers.
The second planning cycle started in July 2017 and the grants are now allocated for small scale infrastructure projects as well as livelihood or agricultural related projects to be identified during a participatory planning process in the village tracts.
A bridge constructed under the ERLIP project which received particular high score by the review team due to its consideration of the surrounding trees.
In August 2017, ADB and DRD conducted a Multi Stakeholder Review in Ywangan. The review was highly positive to the progress of Ywangan and concluded that the Ywangan project is being successfully implemented.
All supported community projects passed both the technical and the social audit with only minor comments. Furthermore, the team was congratulated on having caught up with the planning cycle in spite of having commenced 3 months late (i.e. the team has completed the first planning cycle in only 8 month in spite of the scheduled 12 months).
The successful implementation of the first planning cycle is very much due to the team in Ywangan, which is impeccable led by Township team leader Daw Min Min Myat together with her deputy team leader and finance officer. The total team includes 45 team members in Ywangan all local people living in Ywangan township. The team is furthermore supported by Dr John Leake as short-term international Livelihoods Expert.
The project is expected to be extended for a third planning cycle until end of March 2019.