As you go down the kilometers on the rough track leading to Hta Nuang Kahn village, the electric power facilities become increasingly scarce and finally disappear. We are in the Dry Zone, one of the poorest regions in the country where 18% of the population lives. The residents here do not have access to reliable and quality electricity.
Most households use wood for cooking on traditional stoves, which puts forest resources under a lot of strain, while the deforestation rate stands at 2% a year nationwide.
This energy source also places an extra burden on the chores of women, who spend 200 hours a year on average collecting wood, to say nothing of the respiratory diseases related to the exposure to toxic fumes.
Geres, with support from Agence Française de Développement (AFD), is addressing this issue by promoting the emergence of distributors of “last kilometer” sustainable energy solutions (SES), which are the missing links to reach the most remote villages. In this context, eight women have been trained in entrepreneurship to sell several types of SES: solar solutions, such as solar lamps or kits, as well as an improved wood cookstove.
In Myanmar, 50.5% of women work, against 85.2% of men. In addition, according to a study by the International Labour Organization on women’s entrepreneurship in Myanmar (2014), they come up against a number of obstacles to set up their own business: less access to resources, credit, information and education, but also the burden of domestic responsibilities…
These are barriers that the project wants to remove by offering a comprehensive solution to help volunteers, who are selected for their motivation and commitment, start their activity. In addition to training, they benefit from working capital to facilitate the investment. In practical terms, Geres provides them with products which they repay as and when they make their sales.
Being an entrepreneur makes Myint Myint Maw really proud: “I’m really happy to have been able to start this activity, support myself and be independent!”