Fostering peace for development: UNDP implements a pilot project in Rakhine

Jul 3, 2013

Members from two communities together with Rakhine State Minister of Social Welfare Dr. Aung Kyaw Myint, UNDP Country Director in Myanmar Toily Kurbanov, UNDP staff and government officials from various ministries seen near an enbankment renovated by the collaborative efforts of two communities

Sittwe – UNDP pilots a series of community projects to help reestablish livelihoods and to rebuild trust and confidence between communities in conflict-affected areas in Rakhine State. The initiative implemented from April to June provides space for both communities to work and interact with each other.

With the ultimate aim to strengthen social cohesion in Rakhine State, so far the initiative was implemented in 12 villages in Pauk Taw, Minbya and Mrauk-U townships. During their recent joint visit with UNDP to the pilot project areas, Rakhine State Minister of Social Welfare Dr. Aung Kyaw Myint and other government officials had an opportunity to learn from the early progress of the initiative.

The immediate results of UNDP's assistance include restoration of rural infrastructure and creation of immediate job opportunities through cash-for-work initiative. As witnessed by UNDP and State Government officials on their joint visit, support to livelihoods provided by UNDP helped to increase peaceful interaction between the two communities.

Building trust takes time, according to Mr. ToilyKurbanov, UNDP Country Director in Myanmar, and yet it is possible to gradually restore trust between the affected communities through joint collaboration for their improved livelihoods. On top and above of creating space for inter-community dialogue, such joint collaboration empowers the communities as "stakeholders in peace".

Though many challenges remain the positive results and lessons learned will help UNDP, government counterparts and international development partners to scale up livelihoods support for social cohesion in future, Kurbanov said.

The initiative is part of UNDP’s new country programme for Myanmar and is cost-shared by UNDP and the government of Japan.

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