Kachin Communities are connected through new road


Connecting communities through a new road. Photo: Shobhna Decloitre/UNDP

Kachin State - As the monsoon starts in Myanmar, there are at least 220 households in the Northern state of Kachin confident in the knowledge that this season will be significantly different for them.

The difference is that villagers from Tat Kone and Lawan Kahtaung wards will be able to travel to and from their homes with more ease this monsoon, whereas in the previous years they could not as a result of unpassable roads.

 “In the past rainy reasons, the road which runs through our village would get very  boggy and students and workers travelling from our village found it very difficult to get to their school and workplaces,” said Ma Sang Nan.

Highlights

  • 6154 households have benefitted from infrastructure improvements in their villages in Kachin State
  • 1464 households were employed through a cash for work scheme
  • 300 villages in 24 townships in 7 States across Myanmar have benefitted from the programme

The unpaved road, became quasi unusable during the rainy season, which lasts from June to October in Myanmar. Cars and carts would get stuck in the mud and making the journey on foot was an uncomfortable and very messy affair. When the roads became unpassable, students could not attend school, nor could workers go to their jobs.

“This rainy season things will be very different, because we have upgraded our road and build proper infrastructure to channel the rain water in the right direction.”

Forty seven year old Ma Sang Nan is one of the 52 villagers who proudly helped build the road in Tat Kone ward in Myitkyina. She was part of the team that brought and distributed sand during road upgrade.

The road upgrade and culvert construction was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the “Improved Livelihoods and Social Cohesion project” and in partnership with a non government organization, ACTED-Myanmar.

The project brings together different communities – older, established ones and newer families displaced by the internal conflict in the State. The communities who live side by side are brought together through joint activities such as small scale infrastructure benefiting both communities and creating jobs for both.

The road was upgraded by the villagers themselves through a cash for work scheme. Out of the 52 men and women who worked to build the road and culvert, 21 were women, including 8 who were had settled in the village after being displaced from their community.

U Bauk Naw, the village administrator of Ngaw Chan village said that the upgraded road and culvert would bring new benefits for the village.

“The road upgrade is a great achievement for the village. Different groups of people co-operated to make this possible. Through this road we can visit other villages, and our children can go to schools all year round. The rainy season will not be so much of a hindrance anymore,” he said.

The road upgrade and construction of the culvert were identified as priority activities by the Village Development Committee, a community based organization.

“The road that you have built for yourselves is the road that will lead you to a better future. It serves your immediate needs and hopefully in the long run contributes to greater understanding and cooperation,” said UNDP Country Director, Toily Kurbanov, speaking at a handover ceremony held earlier this month.

“I hope that this road will bring you prosperity and will hopefully improve things in the village.”

The “Improved Livelihoods and Social Cohesion project” is being implemented in 42 villages situated in six townships – Myitchina, Waingmaw, Bhamo, Shwegu, Momauk and Mansi – in Kachin State. Overall, the project resulted in 84 construction activities, such as road and drainage upgrades, through which 6154 households have benefitted. About 1464 households from both host and internally communities benefitted through the cash for work scheme. The work in this village is part of a UNDP programme that covers 300 villages in 24 townships in 7 states. In partnership with 35 non-governmental organizations, UNDP is supporting the livelihood and social cohesion needs of these communities by providing them with social protection assistance; grants for agriculture, livestock and micro-enterprises; vocational training; community mobilization and training; and infrastructure.

The project has been made possible with funds from Japan.