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PlaNet Finance Supporting Financial Access

PlaNet Finance, the lead implementing agency for the European Union (EU) funded projects is starting one to support financial access via cooperative upgrading, enterprise and farm development in Kayin State. The Kayin State Department of Cooperatives has formally approved an application to register a new savings and credit cooperative in Hlaingbwe Township created under the project. On January 8, the cooperative was given approval to start the operations and will be called Life-giving Root Cooperative (Bawa Yay Thouk Myit Cooperative in Myanmar language). It is starting with a total capital of 10 million kyats. At the time of approval, more than 600 of the original savers have purchased share capital in the cooperative, becoming its formal members. The remaining savers can continue to purchase shares and become members, thereby increasing the cooperative’s capital base.

The registration of the cooperative is a milestone in seeking to achieve the objectives of raising incomes by 20% and savings by 10% for 2,000 households in a remote, post-conflict region near the Thai border. Its two main objectives are to expand financial inclusion by creating a locally owned, managed savings, credit cooperative and promoting new farm, business activities through the modeling of successful demonstration activities, cascading that knowledge through the cooperative’s membership.

The 3-year project addresses the underlying need for technical assistance in this field. The project is mainly funded by the European Union together with French Development Agency (AFD) for a total budget of 965,509 euros (1.3 billion kyats). Going forward, the project will continue to provide support to strengthen the cooperative. Training and technical assistance includes lending operations savings, loan product development, mobilization and savings product development, financial management, audit and supervision, membership training and development.

To deliver this innovative project, PlaNet Finance 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.