As one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic and rapidly changing economies, the future looks bright for Myanmar. Its agricultural labor force is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, second only to Laos. Yet, it remains one of the world’s least developed countries with gender barriers preventing women from fully participating in the economy and fulfilling their potential.
This year, the impact of COVID-19 rippled across the entire value chain of Myanmar, affecting everyone from women small producers, sales agents, produce traders and farmers. Women were especially impacted in Myanmar, who are also at greater risk of being victims of abuse and tasked with greater household and domestic responsibilities during this time.
MEDA’s Improving Market Opportunities for Women (IMOW) project is empowering Myanmar women by enabling them to access financial management, leadership training, decision making training, and new sustainable farm agricultural techniques to help strengthen their incomes and livelihoods.
760 women lead farmers were trained in new production techniques
Ms. Yin Nu is married with four children and lives in Than Ban village in Kayin State, Myanmar. Most of her time is occupied with her household and farming activities in their family-owned seven-acre plot of land. She struggled during every crop season with many challenges such as poor soil fertility, low crop yield, high labor costs, limited labor access, and low productivity.
When MEDA’s IMOW project was introduced in her village, Yin Nu seized the opportunity to attend a variety of training seminars, including good agriculture practices, bookkeeping, and gender equality. Yin Nu eventually formed the women savings group, “Wine Su Khiang” in her village and was then selected as the group’s leader.
Over the course of her involvement with the savings group, Yin Nu attained higher harvest yields for her rice plots, conducted gender sharing sessions in her community, and became the first woman to be elected to the position of Village Track Administrator for the Than Ban village tract. Her strong commitment and hard work paid off and she is applying the knowledge gained from past training sessions in her position. As a result of her experiences in the program, Yin Nu’s confidence in herself as a woman and leader greatly improved.