Mekong Connections: Supporting Governance, Transparency and Local Voices
Mekong Connections is building an engagement network of key stakeholders to foster transboundary collaboration and information-sharing among local voices on key policy challenges facing the Mekong region. The network will focus on governance and transparency projects from the perspectives of community actors, enhance and develop regional networks to connect community perspectives to central policy debates in the Mekong, share global lessons learned and best practices on transboundary challenges in the region and beyond, and propose concrete policy approaches to these challenges. Ultimately, small-grant awardees and fellows funded through Mekong Connections will strengthen community voices and civil society directly.
Fish for Livelihoods
Led by World Fish, the Fish for Livelihoods (F4L) project is improving the availability of diverse, safe, affordable, nutrient-rich foods, especially for women and young children from poor and vulnerable households. F4L is helping families prioritize nutritious-conscious decisions, and the project will leverage fish culture technologies to generate employment and increase local incomes and the availability of fish to eat. The project’s aquaculture activities include improved land and water use, increased access to high-quality feed, seed and equipment, capacity development and research into production, and access to credit. Nutrition and WASH education will ensure food-safe aquaculture.
Yaung Chi (‘radiance’ in the Myanmar language) is a three-year project to stimulate economic growth and improve health and educational outcomes through the productive use of energy. Pact will work with up to 70 unelectrified villages in Meiktila Township, Mandalay Region to promote women’s entrepreneurship through training, skills development and linkages with government and financial service providers; advance small enterprise development through standalone decentralized energy solutions; and electrify rural education and health facilities. The project will build the local governance capacity for administering loan schemes for productive use equipment and the operations and maintenance of roof-top solar projects for public facilities by community members, leading to long-term self-reliance.
Advancing Community Empowerment
The Advancing Community Empowerment in Southeastern Myanmar project, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Burma, works with communities to bolster their ownership, capacity and action to meet the needs of the most vulnerable; broaden participation for more inclusive decision making; and strengthen mechanisms for more responsive and accountable local governance. Pact is implementing Advancing Community Empowerment in partnership with Community Partners International, Mercy Corps and Save the Children. The five-year project also partners with a broad range of local and regional organizations, service providers and actors to address community development priorities.
Smart Power Myanmar
Smart Power Myanmar is accelerating access to renewable energy for poor and vulnerable people in Myanmar by bringing together key players in the public and private sectors, spurring economic growth and transforming lives in rural communities. The Smart Power Myanmar facility is building a viable, decentralized renewable energy ecosystem by ensuring the right incentives and policies are created to expand the reach of productive power to those who live without sufficient access, with a focus on customer-centered solutions, long-term socio-economic development and systemic change. The Smart Power Myanmar facility aims to mobilize hundreds of millions of dollars to support the rollout of thousands of mini-grids and other rural electrification solutions that are in line with Myanmar’s National Electrification Plan. In addition to The Rockefeller Foundation, the facility’s founding members include The World Bank, USAID and Yoma Strategic Holdings. Learn more at smartpowermyanmar.org.
Swan Yi III
Swan Yi uses Pact’s award-winning savings-based women’s economic empowerment model, WORTH, to help women better support themselves and their families. In addition to helping women save money and access credit, WORTH provides intensive training and support to build members' capacity as successful entrepreneurs. The project incorporates leadership skills to support the health and education of women, their families, and communities. Swan Yi also incorporates an advocacy curriculum rooted in empowerment principles, educating members on topics including labor laws, domestic violence, divorce, and children’s and land rights. Continuous self-learning helps women develop business literacy and numeracy skills to start, manage, and sustain their businesses. Recently added project components include creating a healthy physical environment at the community level by improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools, and promoting improved waste management practices through a participatory community action planning process. As a part of the latest project component, Pact is building connections between recycling-based SMEs and WORTH groups to explore new income generation opportunities for women.
Essential Health is a five-year project working in four townships to improve maternal and child health outcomes by increasing the availability and quality of equitable health services for Myanmar's poor and vulnerable populations. The project is supporting these communities to effectively demand such services, strengthening health system governance and improving the efficient delivery of health services by public and private service providers at the township level and below. Pact is implementing this project with Jhpiego.
Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership
The Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership works with governments in the Lower Mekong region to build capacity for managing the impacts of environmental change. The program supports planners and policymakers in the use of technical and conceptual tools to better understand how pressures on land and water resources are affecting local populations. SIP provides training in applying cumulative impact assessment, enables collaboration for monitoring and managing socioeconomic data, and promotes sharing of data and information about water resources. The program serves as a platform for countries to cooperate in addressing transboundary development challenges, including the impacts of upstream hydropower dams on the Mekong. Through training, dialogue and partnerships, countries are better able to anticipate and manage issues such as reduced fishery yields, salinity intrusion, and groundwater depletion. SIP is implemented by Pact and is part of the Mekong-US Partnership, which builds on the work of the previous Lower Mekong Initiative in strengthening water security in the region. Learn more here.