Vocational Training Expands Opportunities for Myanmar Youth and Women

Dec 8, 2014

A partnership between UNDP and the Ministry of Cooperatives provides wome and youth in border areas with economic opportunities

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Small Scale Industries Department (SSID) of the Ministry of Cooperatives are partnering to provide vocational and livelihood skills training in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin and Shan, as part of UNDP’s livelihoods and social cohesion programme.

Under this new partnership, vocational trainers attached to SSID are conducting mobile training clinics on   motorcycle repairing, carpentry, sewing, food processing and handicraft-making, reaching up to 621 people in 179 villages in 14 townships.  As part of the training clinics, participants are also trained to develop business plans and provided with start-up capital or tools for setting-up small enterprises based on the merits of their business plans.

Speaking about the initiative, U Mya Than, Director General of SSID, said “The Small Scale Industries Department is already working with UNDP on upgrading one of the country’s vocational training institutes. We are pleased to continue this partnership to promote vocational skills for small-scale enterprises in the Border States. We started this work by conducting a scoping mission to the townships to identify which skills were most in demand and which enterprises were most suitable based on the availability of raw materials and market potential.”

Speaking at the inauguration of training activities in Kayah in September, U Zaw Min, Chief Minister of Kayin State Government confirmed the potential of this partnership. “This initiaitve brings good business opportunities for rural communities by turning vocational skills into entrepreneurship opportunities.” he said.

This work aims to increase income-generation, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities among vulnerable communities. The mobile clinics are helping people to access training opportunities that are otherwise only available in urban areas. This is especially helping the 312 women trainees, who would otherwise have found it hard to travel and be away from their families.

“I need to go to Hopong Township for tailoring because there is no tailoring shop in my village,”’ says Nant Aye Yee from Htee Ka Too village in Shan state. “I plan to run a tailoring shop in my village as soon as the training is completed. I can earn about 3000 kyats per blouse.” she added.

Daw Daung Naw, from Le Kone village, from Myitkyina Township in Kachin state recently joined the food processing training clinic. “I will start wine making business as soon as the training is completed. In addition, I will conduct a three-day food preservation training for fellow community members who are currently staying in the IDP camp. I would like to be a multiplier”.

The intervention is contributing to the social cohesion objectives of UNDP’s work in this area. People from different communities are finding the training clinics a good opportunity to interact with others from different villages, townships and ethnic groups. Khun Htay Maung of Kyaung Lwae village who joins other young men from Shan for the motorcycle repair training says, “Now, all of us have become friends. I am slowly learning the art of living with others peacefully.”

This work is part of a UNDP programme that covers 313 villages in 24 townships in 07 states in the country. In partnership with over 35 non-governmental organizations, UNDP is supporting the livelihood and social cohesion needs of communities by providing them with social protection assistance; grants for agriculture, livestock and micro-enterprises; vocational training; community mobilization and training; and infrastructure. The work is made possible with funds from Japan, DANIDA and UNDP.

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