29 March 2012, Pyapon - First Secretary Mr. Philip Hewitt from the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok visited Ngutaw and Kan Seik villages of Cyclone Nargis affected Pyapon Township to inspect LIFT’s partner PACT Myanmar’s microfinance project.
“The enthusiasm from the potential borrowers at the microfinance training showed that the LIFT project is helping to meet a demand for capital at the village level. Microfinance borrowers are using loans to increase their incomes and to better support their families,” said Hewitt.
From 2010 onwards, 2,715 microfinance clients from 35 villages have benefited from LIFT’s funded microfinance programme and a total of 2,389 loans amounted to US$ 259,573 have been disbursed to initiate small businesses across Paypon Township.
LIFT funded PACT project was initiated in Pyapon Township of Ayeyarwady Delta in January 2010. This project is one of 22 LIFT-funded projects in the Delta that is boosting people’s livelihood opportunities. The first phase of LIFT-funded 22 projects focused largely on replacing agricultural assets lost during Cyclone Nargis. PACT’s microfinance project supported storm-hit rural communities to organize self-help groups and introduce savings-led microfinance projects.
LIFT’s projects also provide training to assist communities manage their business and technical training to implement their local businesses such as setting up tailoring and grocery shops.
During the first phase LIFT provided cash grants amounting USD 287,500 to 2,500 vulnerable households through PACT. Moreover, it assisted local people to organize 43 savings-led microfinance groups and 31 village disaster preparedness taskforces.
The second phase of microfinance project has focused on the provision of credit and creating rural employment opportunities for the landless and marginal farmers. LIFT funded microfinance project also provided agricultural loans to 1,218 farmer households from 35 villages, ensuring that subsistence farmers were able to invest in paddy cultivation. The microfinance-based rural development project aims to assist vulnerable grassroots from 50 villages of the township by May 2014.
Mr. Philip Hewitt concluded that “New Zealand is committed to supporting sustainable economic development in Myanmar and helping villages recover from the effects of Cyclone Nargis. The LIFT project provides a coordinated and efficient mechanism to manage donor funds to make a difference through small scale loans.”