Myanma Awba Group was awarded the ASEAN Leadership Award for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication 2017. It is the only Myanmar private company to be recognised by this prestigious award.
The ASEAN Leadership Awards was conferred to 20 recipients across ASEAN, with Awba Group representing Myanmar alongside NGO / CSO Social Vision Services, according to a press release on October 8.
One NGO / CSO and one private sector company from each ASEAN member nation were given the award for their outstanding contributions to rural development and poverty eradication in their respective countries.
U Thadoe Hein, Founder and Group CEO of Awba Group said: “We are honoured and grateful to win this prestigious regional award and to be recognised for our efforts in Myanmar’s rural development. With over 50% of Myanmar’s labour force engaged in the agricultural industry, we believe Awba Group is in a privileged position to help improve the livelihoods of many. To unlock and harness the potential of Myanmar’s rural sector, we need to strengthen co-operation and partnerships between the private sector and the agriculture community as a farmer-focused, environmentally sustainable and globally responsible partner of choice. It is through the holistic approach of producing good quality agriculture products, upskilling and developing smallholder farming families and implementing programs to enrich and strengthen the rural communities that we will be able to improve livelihoods across the agriculture sector.”
About 70% of Myanmar’s 51 million-strong population live in rural areas, with up to 80% of these people lacking access to essential services like electricity and clean drinking water. Only 12% of the roads in these areas are paved, which makes them impassable during the monsoon months and contributes to isolating rural inhabitants from job opportunities, markets and critical services like healthcare.
To assist in rural development, Awba Group has developed a multi-pronged approach to aid farmers in increasing their agricultural productivity and profitability. “Our roadmap for further rural development starts with educating the farming communities on best agriculture practices and access to affordable finance. We also see the importance of mobile technology in harnessing the power of the crowd as well as enhancing supply chain efficiency,” said U Thadoe Hein.
Advisory services educate farmers on best practices and the adoption of modern techniques and machinery to increase yield and labour efficiency. Maha Microfinance, an Awba Group company, has aided 10,000 customers with affordable, sustainable financing. The Group has kickstarted other rural development initiatives, such as building 90 schools and 25 clinics and hospitals and has awarded scholarships to over 470 agri-university students since 2005. The Group has also worked to improve rural access to emergency healthcare by donating 45 ambulances to remote villages and worked on clean water and electrification projects to modernise village infrastructure.
The ASEAN Leadership Awards is in conjunction with the biennial ASEAN Ministers Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (“AMRDPE”). AMRPE was held alongside the 10th ASEAN
Ministers Meeting on 6th October 2017, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The ASEAN Leadership Awards aims to recognise the outstanding achievements and contributions of the private sector in the ASEAN Member States towards rural development and poverty eradication. They encourage the private sector to continue to strengthen their work and contributions to rural community development and poverty eradication, and promote inclusiveness through closer cooperation and partnerships between the government, community and private sector in developing rural communities and eradicating poverty in the country.