FISONG Project in Myanmar is a 3 years pilot project led by a consortium of 3 NGOs; Green Lotus Myanmar, Actionaid Myanmar and Women for the World, which is solely funded by the French agency AFD (Agence Française de Développement). With the support of local authorities such as Yangon City Development Committee, Yangon Regional Government and Ministry of Construction, the project is implemented in Ward67, Dagon Seikkan Township in Yangon.
The project goal is the resilience and empowerment of the community people and to bring this innovative project as an example for the creation of future similar projects in Asia. Its approach aims to help dwellers to become leaders of their own empowerment thanks to a bottom-up strategy and a participatory approach.
Ward 67 is one of the biggest slum areas located in the Southeast of Yangon. The slum population has increased in Yangon mostly due to natural disasters and lower employment opportunities in rural regions. According to the Ministry of Construction in 2016, more than 30% of Yangon’s population is living in sub-standard housing which are slums. (1) The population in the informal settlement is varying dynamically as households keep moving and shifting. Unofficially, there are around 4,000 households of 18,000 population in Ward67 at present.
According to the community survey conducted in the Ward, the community is deprived with fundamental needs. The population suffers from lack of electricity and potable water. Indeed, the Ward infrastructures are very limited which cause sanitation problems and improper waste management. These conditions are also threatening women safety and cause social identity struggles.
Some people of the community of Ward 67 find difficulties in getting their National Registration Cards. Moreover, their legitimacy to live on the ward is still discussed and they are in a constant fear of eviction.
The project aims to experiment a livelihood model for vulnerable populations in the settlement. Its innovative character is a strong opportunity to carry successful models of social emancipation for the inhabitants in the area. It will allow the people to attest their central contribution to the city life. In doing so, each team of the consortium has its own focal area; Green Lotus for Social and Green Businesses, Actionaid Myanmar for Climate and Disaster issue and Women for the World for Woman Empowerment.
In September 2018, Green Lotus is going to provide training for around 30 women in handicraft and tailoring. There are also other programs of life-skill and technical trainings in line to be continued in the ward such as urban/organic farming trainings, garment trainings, green constructions, etc. These activities are contributing to the Social & Green business development activity of Green Lotus.
‘People need to see that slum people actually are not a problem. From the bright side, they are even a great support for our country’s labor. So, undeniably, it is a must to empower them, to enlarge their capacity to the fullest,’ said Ms. Ei Khin Khin, the Country Representative of Green Lotus Foundation.