Improving Local Livelihoods in Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in South East Asia and has some of the lowest social development indicators in the region. One-quarter of its estimated 62 million people and a full half of Myanmar children live in poverty. Around ten per cent of Myanmar people do not have enough food. According to UNICEF, nearly 30 percent of children suffer from moderate or severe malnutrition.

Three Treasures Bagan: Responsible Tourism in Myanmar

Three Treasures Bagan: Responsible Tourism in Myanmar

Three Treasures Responsible Tourism is our flagship social enterprise. We create jobs and help local communities take advantage of the opportunities available as the number of foreign visitors to Bagan continues to grow.

SEEDS Supports Local Women and Youth

poverty spans generations

Myanmar SEEDS champions environmental awareness and education in the local community, acting as a training center to support local women, youth and marginalized entrepreneurs to improve their livelihoods and participate in the formal economy under challenging conditions. Our goal is to create model businesses, producer cooperatives, and community-based projects by supporting activities that facilitate knowledge and skills exchanges toward ethical sustainable development best practices.

Subsistence Farmers Trapped in a Cycle of Debt

dry zone agricultural debt cycle
The continuously reinforcing cycle of debt facing agricultural communities in the Dry Zone;
a result of exposure to several interlinked types of pressures (shocks and stresses). Source: MerciCorps

Most Myanmar villages are agriculture economies dependent upon the land and waterways for their livelihoods. These communities of smallholder subsistence farmers have developed adaptive methods and practices to cope with the alternating heavy rains of monsoon season and drought of dry seasons. Recently, annual droughts and flooding have become more challenging due to more extreme weather as a result of climate change. Families struggle to grow enough of their crops to provide a basic income. More than 44 percent of households in the dry zone had problems meeting food needs in 2014 despite being part of a major agricultural region, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Hybrid Structure Model

SEEDS hybrid structure model

Marginalized communities and entrepreneurs have lost confidence in public institutions through insidious corruption and economic exploitation, limiting their ability to receive funding from international donors due to lack of formal institutional structure, accountability, and oversight. New institutions, business networks, and supply chains must be developed to support enterprises and activities that generate higher economic value through processing and services than the over-reliance on low-value commodity production typical of developing countries.