Small Start Leads to Success

Paletwa TCD Expansion, Myanmar


Two months ago, the country of Myanmar was thrown into disarray when the military removed the elected government from power, sparking nationwide protests and civil disobedience. The protests have grown in scale, as has the intensity of the military and police response. Nearly 500 protestors have been killed, and the country yearns for the return of peace and justice. Times are very challenging for the village here, as this turn of events has had a felt impact. Villagers who once marketed their produce in the city have seen the market for their crops collapse. Some markets are closed, and the price offered is so low that they lose money if they sell them. The electricity the community had worked hard to raise funds and planned for, which was promised to arrive in February, has not come. With government workers on strike opposing the military regime, it is unknown when it will arrive.


However, all hope and progress has not been lost. The community has responded to the loss of the produce markets by creating a barter economy. Each person trades from their produce to obtain different food items, thus enjoying a more balanced diet and losing less produce to waste. The new section of road, which the community laid plans for last quarter, has been completed! They are so excited to finish it before the rainy season. They still have additional roads they would like to construct, but for now their local budget has been exhausted. They plan to continue raising funds as able and work on the road more when it is possible. But they started small and showed how Transformational Community Development (TCD) can lead to success!


Lastly, our village Champion reported that the soil in the community is not good for growing many types of vegetables in a home garden. They can grow in the fields, but not near their homes for personal use. Every time they plant near their homes, the vegetables die. GHNI provided distance training on the concept of Keyhole Gardening, where a person creates a raised bed garden from local materials and can grow vegetables even when soil conditions are very poor. This month, while she has not been able to build a full Keyhole Garden, our Champion began vegetable gardening in small containers as an experiment to see if the principle works. It is one step towards a more sustainable future for the community.


June Updates

Electricity poles are in the community. Cable lines have arrived and the community is working to install the cables. The Health Committee already exists – but not successful. They need to collect 500 kyat per month to support sick people in the village. Historically, it was very difficult to mobilise or encourage villagers to be involved. TCD training helped our Champion to understand the concept and increase unity in the village. Now, more villagers are coming to the Health Committee meetings.


Thank you,