News Column

ADB, Japan Projects to Improve Lives, Incomes of Poor Myanmar Communities

June 24, 2014



MANILA, Philippines, June 24 -- The Asian Development Bank issued the following news release:

Three grant projects to improve the lives and health of poor and vulnerable communities in Myanmar are set for rapid implementation following the recent signing of financing agreements between the Ministry of Finance and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The grant projects, totaling a combined $26 million, are being financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and administered by ADB.

"These projects demonstrate our commitment for grassroots development in Myanmar," said ADB's Country Director for Myanmar, Winfried Wicklein. "They will help address key development challenges by providing communities with new income opportunities, improving their health and living conditions, and strengthening the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS."

"The Government of Myanmar welcomes the projects' innovative approaches to promote partnerships between the government, communities and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and achieve quick and meaningful wins," said U Maung Maung Win, Director General, Budget Department, Ministry of Finance.

The $12 million livelihood project is expected to benefit 700,000 people in villages in Ayeyarwady Delta, Central Dry Zone, Tanintharyi Region, and Shan State, where rural communities suffer poverty rates that are more than double urban levels. It will reflect the priority needs of the target communities, with support for infrastructure upgrades and income earning opportunities in agriculture and fisheries. Basic English language training will also give communities skills needed to take advantage of the country's fast growing tourism market.

The $4 million community infrastructure and basic services project will improve living conditions by providing communities in Yangon and Mandalay access to safer water and improved drainage and sanitation facilities. The community and local government will partner in the development, operation, and maintenance of the facilities and services. This 4-year initiative aims to cut the prevalence of infectious diseases, improve solid and liquid waste disposal, and reduce flooding in two of Myanmar's most populated cities.

Around 200,000 people in Myanmar are reported to be living with HIV/AIDS. The health project, financed by a $10 million grant, aims to improve prevention and treatment along fast developing economic corridors in Mon, Kayin, and Shan states, where migrant workers and mobile populations have higher risks of being infected by HIV. The project will foster partnerships between the government and NGOs to increase awareness of, and access to HIV/AIDS services among the populations most at risk. The funds will be used to build and refurbish health centers and township hospitals, and provide medical equipment and training.

"The projects will be instrumental in ensuring that the country's growth is inclusive, with benefits reaching vulnerable and poor populations," said Hideaki Matsuo, Counsellor of Economic and ODA section of the Embassy of Japan in Myanmar.

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