Building Bridges to Connect People to OpportunitiesSep 11, 2014
Sittwe - Villagers in Myanmar’s Rakhine State capital Sittwe yesterday turned out in numbers to witness the inauguration of the Ye Chan Pyin bridge construction. The bridge will connect four villages to Sittwe providing easy, all-season access to the capital. More than 4000 households in this locality have difficulties reaching schools, hospitals, jobs and businesses in Sittwe especially during the long rainy season when ferry services are irregular or suspended.
The bridge construction is part of the United Nations Development Programme’s efforts to improve the lives of people in the Rakhine State and responds to a request made by the State Government and local communities.
UNDP’s support to Ohm Re Paw village and construction of the Ye Chin Pyin bridge is being supported by the Governments of Japan and Denmark as part of its local governance and local development programme.
The construction work was officially inaugurated by the Rakhine State Chief Minister His Excellency U Maung Maung Ohn and the United Nations Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia Pacific, Haoliang Xu on 10 September. Mr. Xu is on his joint official visit to Myanmar, with Mr. John Ging, Director of Coordination and Response Division of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
“This bridge has tremendous symbolism. It symbolizes the partnership between the Government of Myanmar and specifically, the Rakhine State Government, the United Nations and the international donor community and our collective interest in the peace, security and development of Rakhine State,” said Mr. Xu.
“I hope also that this bridge will serve as a symbol of connectivity between the people of Rakhine; that it does more than facilitate business; that it helps communities on all sides to grow in understanding, tolerance and respect and work together towards the development of Rakhine State.”
“This bridge meets a critical need for the people of this area, and the Rakhine State Government under my leadership, UNDP and the Governments of Japan and Denmark are coming together to meet this need. I hope this will be a model for future development activities,” said Rakhine State Chief Minister His Excellency U Maung Maung Ohn.
Ohm Re Paw is one of the four villages that will be connected by the new bridge. The UN and development partners are providing support to development activities in this impoverished Rakhine village, where the main sources of incomes are from fishing and casual labour work. In addition to the bridge construction, UNDP has established a food bank to reduce the village’s food insecurity, provided capital for livelihoods to reduce the reliance on casual labour and training and equipment for prawn preservation, processing and paste-making to help fishing families add value to their catch.
In addition to livelihoods support from UNDP, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is providing the village with latrines for each household, while the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has initiated a series of capacity building activities to increase gender awareness and promote gender equality.
“Ohm Re Paw village demonstrates the UN’s commitment to equitable development in Rakhine. I hope it will be a good model for supporting other impoverished communities in other parts of the state,” said the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in Myanmar, and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Renata Lok-Dessallien.
In addition to Sittwe, UNDP is working in five other townships in the Rakhine State – Minbya, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-Oo, Maungdaw and Pauk Taw, providing social protection assistance, capital assistance for livelihoods, livelihood training and infrastructure support. The work is designed to improve social cohesion amongst communities living side by side.
Shobhna Decloitre, UNDP Communications Specialist on Shobhna.firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: +95 (0) 9250345158