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Financial inclusion in Kayin State

PlaNet Finance, the lead implementing agency for the EU-funded project ‘Supporting Financial Access via Cooperative Upgrading and Enterprise and Farm Development in Kayin State’, officially turned over equipment and materials to its partner organizations as part of the implementation of the project.

A total of 14 laptop computers were pro- vided to partner institutions. Four motor- cycles to be used by village mobilizers and field staff of the local NGO Community Development Association were also turned over. Five additional motorcycles will be provided to the Kayin State Department of Cooperatives and the Union of Cooperative Syndicate (UCS) to be turned over after the upcoming Thingyan festival.

The project will establish two savings and credit cooperatives to expand financial inclusion to at least 2000 households in 35 villages in Hlaingbwe Township where currently no financial service provider operates.

It will also support the members of the co- operatives to undertake new or enhanced farm or enterprise activities that will gener- ate increased income for them. The cooper- atives will provide credit for their members to invest in these new income-generating activities as well as a safe place to save in order to increase income and build wealth in this post-conflict area of Myanmar.

The project is aligned with the economic development program of the Kayin State under the leadership of Chief Minister U Zaw Min.

To deliver this innovative project, PlaNet Finance’s has partnered with the Community Development Association (CDA), a Myanmar NGO. CDA has worked on humanitarian assistance programs with UN Agencies and INGOs in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare, Department of Health and with various government-directed local NGOs. PlaNet Finance has also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Cooperatives, headed by Minister U Kyaw Hsan.

The ‘Supporting Financial Access’ is a project that addresses the underlying need for technical assistance in this field. The 3-year project budget is 965,509 euros (1.25 billion kyat), of which the European Union has provided 82% (795,509 euros or 1 billion kyat) with the remainder being provided by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French bilateral development agency.