U.S. ambassador commemorates reaching 2,000 villages

December 5, 2014

This week, United States Ambassador Derek Mitchell visited Nat Kan U, Yenangyaung Township, in Myanmar's Magway Region, to commemorate the 2,000th village to partner in the USAID-supported Shae Thot program. Shae Thot provides integrated development solutions in Myanmar’s Dry Zone and Kayah State. Ambassador Mitchell offered words of appreciation and congratulated community leaders and the residents of Nat Kan U.

During the visit, Ambassador Mitchell and other guests observed program activities in the village, including a baby-weighing and nutrition day event, a health education session, mobile clinic operations, water infrastructure training, and revolving livestock and seed bank systems. He also spoke with leaders of the Village Development Committee, a democratically elected local association that manages program activities.

In Nat Kan U, as with all partner villages, Shae-Thot supports a community-based model that enables local communities to develop and implement their own development solutions in health; livelihoods and food security; and water, sanitation, and hygiene. In each community a Village Development Committee supports community ownership of a village-wide development plan, while reinforcing good governance processes. In addition, Village Development Funds enable communities to save and grow their own resources to support community-defined development priorities, even beyond the life of the project.

The Shae Thot program is a five-year integrated development effort funded by USAID and implemented by a consortium led by Pact together with CESVI, PGMF, MSl, UN-Habitat, and seven local, community-based organizations. Shae Thot currently works in 19 townships in Central Myanmar and Kayah State, serving an area with a total population of nearly two million individuals. Over the past three years, the program has trained over 370,000 people in maternal and child health, nutrition, and hygiene; provided financial access for more than 800,000 individuals, with personal and community funds totalling 1.2 million US dollars; improved access to safe drinking water for nearly 400,000 people; and supported the formation and functioning of over 12,000 community groups.

Pact is currently active in 2,636 villages in 30 townships nationwide, including Kayah State and Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, and Yangon Regions. With financial support from USAID, Chevron, and Coca-Cola, Pact is actively improving the health and livelihoods of 1.5 million individuals nationwide through integrated programming that strengthens community governance, increases access to health services, supports economic empowerment, promotes improved water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions, and promotes community-led natural resource management.