Poverty kept Daw Nan Hla Tin from getting an education when she was a child. After she married, she found work as a domestic laborer in Thailand, but returned to Myanmar after the birth of her first child. At home, she used her savings to open a tiny grocery store, but her income was not stable and she often ran out of operating funds because she didn’t know how to budget or keep accounts.
Through the Improving Market Opportunities for Women Agricultural Producers project, Daw Nan was able to improve her agricultural knowledge and take leadership training and basic accounting. As a result, she decided to rent two acres of land for rice cultivation, and began to cultivate high-quality rice seed. With her new skills, she was elected as accountant for the women’s village and savings group, and now provides support to two other women’s groups, as well.
Her husband is very proud of her—so proud that he asked her to help the village development committee with their accounting and village activities. Her new skills have also been applied to her grocery store, which now runs more systematically and, as a result, her income has increased. Daw Nan is very pleased that she can now give her children an education. The prospects for the entire family have improved and their future looks brighter.
The project is working with local women and men to increase their knowledge of gender equality and women are learning about leadership principles. It links women producers to savings groups and is mentoring women in leadership positions. The project also works with local NGOs, to help them facilitate market-oriented training and services for women producers. These services have been delivered in more than a hundred villages, where an estimate 2,000 people participated. An innovative matching grant program has been developed for small and medium-sized agri-businesses geared to their inclusive growth, including market opportunities for women producers.
The project also works with financial institutions to design better financial products that serve the needs of women producers like Daw Nan.
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