Improving the livelihoods, income and resilience of vulnerable populations in Southern Chin State and Northern Rakhine State
In order to improve the living conditions of the rural populations of the Chin and Rakhine States, TGH is carrying out activities in the township of Matupi, in southern Chin State, aimed at increasing agricultural production and farm incomes and at improving access to and the protection of local natural resources.
- Funding: European Union
- Partners: GRET
- Beneficiaries: 40,000 direct beneficiaries, 68,500 inhabitants in the area of intervention
Transport of rainfed rice crop on a slash-and-burn plot
Photo : TGH ©
The state of Chin, located in western Burma and characterized by its geographical isolation, has 465,000 inhabitants and is identified as one of the poorest states in the country. Most of the population rely on agriculture and livestock activities for consumption and income. Many studies carried out by development actors highlight the economic vulnerability of families as a result of unsustainable resource management, weak public services, and poor access to technical knowledge. The township of Matupi, where TGH is operating, suffers from chronic food insecurity that forces most vulnerable households into debt, while the population earns one of the lowest annual wages in the country. Moreover, the states of Chin and Rakhine are frequently the victims of natural disasters: the flowering of bamboo between 2007 and 2010, which repeatedly devastated rice fields, typhoon Komen in 2015, accompanied by rains and floods... Problem analysis highlights the insecurity of livelihoods related to isolation, food and nutrition insecurity, food shortages among farmers, the negative impact of climate change on economic and agricultural activities, the lack of information and financial services available, the scarcity of drinking water during the dry season, and the lack of adequate health services and good hygiene practices.
The current programme - implemented by Triangle Génération Humanitaire in the state of Chin (Matupi) and by GRET in the north of the state as well as in Rakhine State - reaches a total of 8,000 families (40,000 inhabitants) coming from 94 villages as well as from city centres in Paletwa, Matupi and Kyauktaw. Operating in Chin State since 2012, TGH mainly acts in the food security and rural development sectors. For its part, GRET has been implementing microfinance and agricultural development programmes in northern Chin State since 1995, thereby gradually strengthening the capacities of the Microfinance Institution of Chin State and of CORAD.
Meeting with the inhabitants during the agrarian diagnosis in Matupi
Photo : TGH ©
In order to address the problems faced by the inhabitants of the two states in terms of food security, job opportunities, access to the market and lack of social and investment services, the programme develops a multisectoral approach including: support to agriculture and nutrition; improved access to water and sanitation; development of financial services; support to local communities and NGOs for access to and sustainable use of natural resources (through informational support, a consultative process, enhanced dialogue and awareness-raising on the peace process). From an operational point of view, a first set of activities is dedicated to feasibility studies and to the development of the strategy and the action plan (agrarian diagnosis, market and value chain study, etc.). The programme has two main components: generate income and enhance livelihoods on the one hand, and resilience to changing contexts on the other hand.
Concerning the first component, TGH and GRET's income-generating activities include the development of agricultural infrastructure and the provision of equipment, the dissemination of improved and sustainable technical innovations with a focus on agroecology and on nutrition-sensitive agriculture, support for vegetable gardens, services for farmers, and disaster risk reduction activities. These activities are aimed at increasing agricultural production and incomes, and at enhancing a diversified diet.
GRET will also be responsible for the establishment of a municipal sanitation market, access to clean water, communication campaigns and the training of local authorities in order to provide families with improved access to clean water and sanitation, as well as to best practices in terms of hygiene and use of water. It will support the provision of sustainable financial services through the design and disbursement of tailored financial products and the establishment of local governance mechanisms for financial services taking local challenges into account.
The second component, dedicated to improving the resilience of rural households faced with investment projects and changes in the land tenure regime, aims to secure and improve access to natural resources. The following activities will be implemented: awareness-raising activities, training sessions, pilot community activities, support for studies and documentation of local NGOs and community-based organizations, provision of spaces for consultation and dialogue for the sharing of experience, and advocacy plans.
This four-year programme directly involves communities over the long-term, from the initial diagnostic phase to the strengthening of local and community organizations. A sustainable and specific support allows the households to appropriate the tools and activities proposed.