projects where businesses and markets are a force for positive change in 2017
Ahlin Yaung Renewable Energy Program
The Ahlin Yaung (“light” in Myanmar language) Project is working to provide renewable energy access to 1 million low-income people in rural Myanmar by 2021. Myanmar has one of the lowest electrification rates in Asia, with the national electricity grid reaching only a small part of the population, mostly in urban areas. Ahlin Yaung uses Pact’s Village Development Committees (VDCs) and WORTH savings groups to manage the program at the community level. VDCs, through community-managed revolving funds, provide funding for households to purchase photovoltaic equipment on hire-purchase. WORTH groups manage community solar charging stations, which charge special batteries for household lighting and mobile device charging, to distribute electricity to communities. Both the revolving fund and WORTH group models generate interest and income for other village development activities. Ahlin Yaung also provides funding to villages to purchase photovoltaic equipment at the community level.
Swan Yi uses WORTH, Pact’s savings-based economic empowerment model, 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. Since 2013, Swan Yi has established more than 1,200 savings groups with more than 30,000 members. Swan Yi also incorporates an advocacy curriculum rooted in empowerment principles, educating members on topics including labor law, 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. A recently added project component is creating a healthy physical environment at the community level by promoting improved waste management practices through a participatory community action process.
Watato Inje Ya Mungoti: Children Out of Mining
Since 2015, Pact's Children Out of Mining project has been working with local and international partners as well as private-sector companies to address child labor at DRC mine sites. With positive, collective action and an integrated package of interventions designed to address root causes, the project achieved a 97 percent reduction in the number of children working at project mine sites in the first two years. Children Out of Mining, also known as WIM, has included awareness raising and education and livelihoods and positive parenting skills development. The project has changed attitudes and norms about child labor, increased community awareness of children’s rights and improved the enforcement of bans on child labor. Recent additions to the project have included targeted interventions to support particularly vulnerable and older children, as well as the expanded use of Pact’s signature WORTH for Miners program, which provides literacy, numeracy, savings and financial skills to miners to increase mining families’ economic resources and potential. The project has also added local committees in key mining areas, training for local suppliers on international standards, and exchange visits with other mining communities addressing child labor.
USAID Green Invest Asia
USAID Green Invest Asia operates across Southeast Asia, with an initial focus on Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines. The project is catalyzing private sector finance to upscale and drive investments in agriculture, forestry, and other land use toward low emissions, yet profitable business models. USAID Green Invest Asia identifies and develops promising climate-smart business deals with solid profit potential for investors. The project engages with financial institutions and investors to link them to pipeline opportunities and bridge financial and technical gaps necessary to overcome barriers to investment in businesses that are environmentally and socially responsible. It provides direct technical services to enterprises desiring to "green" their supply chains and assists in structuring corresponding financial deals to reduce investor risk. USAID Green Invest Asia is implemented by Pact, with partners MSP and Control Union. Learn more here.
Zimbabwe Accountability and Artisanal Mining Program
This project is increasing cooperation between small-scale and industrial miners in Zimbabwe and formalizing production and trade of gold by the country’s estimated 500,000 artisanal miners. The project focuses on gold mining sites in the areas of Shurugwi, Gwanda and Kwekwe, working to improve operational, safety and environmental standards. In an extensive 2014 baseline study, Pact found that the use of mercury in artisanal mining in Zimbabwe is widespread. In response and in line with the Minimata Convention on Mercury, Pact is partnering with Zimbabwe's government to develop an inventory of mercury use and a national action plan for mercury reduction. Pact is also informing policymaking, working with the government to increase the contribution of gold to Zimbabwe’s economy and development.
Since 2013, Somos Tesoro—We are Treasure—has worked to strategically reduce child labor in mining areas and improve health and safety in artisanal and small-scale mines. With its local partners, Alliance for Responsible Mining, Fondo Acción and Fundación Mi Sangre, Pact is using an integrated approach, addressing the many factors that lead to child labor, including economic instability, challenges in implementing public policies favoring child protection, and a lack of quality education in rural mining areas. The project focuses on two geographic areas where families rely on mining for their livelihoods: the coal mining communities of Boyacá and the gold mining communities of Antioquia. Somos Tesoro has decreased the numbers of children working in mines and has benefited 4,300 households and 13,000 children. In addition to benefitting children and families vulnerable to child labor, the program is helping adult miners, teachers, educational institutions and local government. Somos Tesoro is working to strengthen schools, promote greater economic stability in mining families, apply labor and mining health and safety standards, strengthen child protection policies and formalize artisanal mining in the two mining regions. The project has developed a comprehensive livelihoods program, including savings and microfinance and increased opportunities to generate income and assets. Learn more at somostesoro.org.
Sajhedari Bikaas Partnership for Local Development
The Sajhedari Bikaas Partnership for Local Development is strengthening the relationship between citizens and local governments and improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness among Nepalese officials. With conflict mitigation and technical assistance that focuses on building the capacity of local organizations and government bodies to function more independently and effectively, Pact is helping communities to better direct their own development. Following the April and May 2015 earthquakes, the program adjusted to help affected villages make disaster recovery plans, including launching mobile service camps and rebuilding destroyed small-scale infrastructure such as water taps, latrines, roads, schools and health posts.