A pivotal Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement was signed today at an official ceremony in Yangon between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Chevron/Unocal Myanmar and Pact Myanmar. The agreement launches a major $3 million, three-year Chevron/Unocal-funded project called SHINE, which includes additional funding from USAID.
More than 30 individuals from USAID, Chevron/Unocal, NGO implementing partners, major private corporations and media attended the event, with remarks from the United States Embassy, and Mr. Mariano Vela, President of Chevron/Unocal Myanmar.
United States Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell underscored US Government commitment to the benefit of Public Private Partnerships:
“Public Private Partnerships such as this are an integral part of the United States Government strategy for improving development outcomes worldwide, and supporting the reform process in this country. We are pleased to partner with responsible investors like Chevron and follow this key principle: it is not just what we do, but how we do it that matters. We will continue to work with others, like Chevron, to promote inclusive, informed, and transparent engagement with the people of this country.”
The Chevron/Unocal-funded project is the second phase of a highly successful program known as the SHINE (Sustainable Health and Empowerment) program, and is the latest in a 10-year partnership between Pact and Chevron/UNOCAL in Myanmar. Between 2014 and 2017, the SHINE program will help improve the lives of 160,000 people in 310 villages in 3 townships in Central Myanmar. This program is focused on women’s economic empowerment through the establishment of Village Health and Development Funds (VHDFs), which will focus on maternal, newborn and child health, tuberculosis, water and sanitation, and financial empowerment of women in target communities. One of the key outputs of the SHINE program will be to double, to 80%, the proportion of pregnant women in target villages that give birth with skilled birth attendants.
Representing Chevron/Unocal Myanmar, Mr. Mariano Vela said:
“Over 10 years of supporting Pact in Myanmar, we have positively impacted the lives of 902,405 individual Myanmar citizens in 181,000 households in almost 1,500 villages in 13 townships. Chevron is proud of this and we continue to see the incremental benefits of our corporate social responsibility funding in the communities in which SHINE is being implemented. As a long-term private sector investor in Myanmar, we see ourselves as part of the solution for Myanmar’s future development, and it is our hope that projects such as this help people to make their own economic choices. This PPP with USAID and Pact offers a way for us to magnify our support to Myanmar. We hope this partnership serves as a model for future development commitments in Myanmar.”
US Government funding support is part of USAID’s flagship Shae Thot program, which is also implemented by Pact. This $55 million 5-year project is a multi-faceted development program that is building integrated community resilience in approximately 367,300 households in 20 townships in the Dry Zone, Kayah State and peri-urban Yangon through diverse but integrated programs including maternal and child health, nutrition, water and sanitation solutions, and improving agricultural methods and local governance, coordinated through Village Development Committees. The SHINE and Shae Thot programs are both part of an overarching strategy to harmonize Pact’s projects into an integrated national community resilience approach.
In his opening remarks, Pact’s Country Director Richard Harrison said:
“This agreement marks a major step forward in a new model of development, where our common goal is integrated community resilience. Today, we have the opportunity and responsibility in Myanmar to do development differently: through true partnerships such as this we can better address the government’s highest priorities, and reinforce the intractable benefits of the current reform process. We see this as a potential paradigm shift based on lessons learned in the past – we see this as part of a deliberate and strategic shift in Myanmar where private sector and civil society links no longer lag behind the links between donors and civil society.”
Pact has been active in Myanmar since 1997, and is currently active in 2,753 villages in 30 townships nationwide, including Kayah and Shan States, and the Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, and Yangon Regions. With financial support from USAID, Chevron and Coca Cola, Pact is actively improving the health and livelihoods of 1,542,110 individuals nationwide. To support service delivery interventions, and to help build sustainable financial resources for villages, Pact has established 1,617 village-owned Village Health and Development Funds, which have seen an average annual growth of 60% over the last 11 years. Over this time, almost 52,000 women have engaged in 2,100 savings-led economic groups which have collectively saved an astonishing $1.5 million. These funds have enabled villages, with their own resources, fund electrification projects, water systems, new schools and sub-rural health centres, as well as providing life-saving transportation and medical costs.
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