“My village is in northeast Chin State, in Myanmar… my community’s livelihood is from shifting [slash-and-burn] cultivation in upland. Our strengths are that we are hardworking and help each other. Challenges are poverty, poor health, unemployment, and illiteracy.”
Pa Maung’s description of his community is like many stories of village life in Myanmar or many countries – one struggling to make a living from the soil. As a pastor and farmer, Pa Maung understands the problems of his area. Since 2016 he has worked full- time for the CARD as Training Coordinator. As such, he “manages emergency relief and recovery and supports agricultural techniques and environmental awareness [as well as] consumer awareness training.”
Pa Maung started as the project coordinator for CARD’s Ecological Model Farmer Agricultural and Breeding Project. It promotes permanent farming and producing farm products for income generation while protecting the environment. After training 33 model farmers in 9 villages, he led the Empowerment Rural Woman Leadership Project, training 70 women to be leaders who later replicated the training locally.
Upon completing the ARI training, Pa’s objective is to procure comprehensive strategies for fostering women’s empowerment, honing leadership skills, and acquiring innovative agricultural techniques to boost community development.
Community Association for Rural Development (CARD) covers four townships in northeast Myanmar and has already sent several participants to ARI, including its current director, Ngai Men. CARD “provides organic agricultural technical support to the rural community implementing sustainable development projects.” They expect Pa Maung to gain additional insights and techniques to apply to his work with CARD, particularly in emergency relief, recovery efforts, and consumer training.