Stories Of Change

From Boat to Bridge

Han May

In ActionAid Myanmar (AAM) , we have the Program Quality, Impact , Learning and Communication Unit where I am the focal person for DRR /Resiliency projects aside from that I am working as Learning and Knowledge Management Coordinator. See profile

From Boat to Bridge

Lar Yaung village is situated in Kyet Tu Yway village Tract, Pathein Township of Ayeyarwaddy Region in Myanmar. It is a junction of with 8 villages within the tract and these all villages have to count on Tha Lat Kwar, the big village where high school, hospital, market and domestic materials shop exists for these tract villages. However villagers from Lar Yaung village have to cross the river everyday that separates them from the bigger village Tha Lat Kwar. In early 2014, the villagers participated in the Village Book process as well as the Participatory Vulnerability Assessment. Both processes used the PRA tools such as Timeline, Hazard and vulnerability map, mobility map, Venn diagram, resource map, social map and Hazard ranking. The community was able to analyze their problems and came up with possible solution or action plan from the results of the various participatory tools. In the Action Plan they prioritized their needs, risks and actions or projects to be implemented “When community prioritized the risks and vulnerabilities, lacking a safe and good bridge was uniformly proposed at No.1 because we all worried about our children. For years, we have to cross the river with a small ferry boat,” said the pastor Saw San Chi Khaing. Without this bridge, villagers could not go to hospital in time for the emergency health cases, a safer place for any early warning. “Once my motorbike was slipped from BEFORE AFTER the ferry boat, as the boat did not resist the weight of the passengers and other stuffs. It was so dangerous to take it, especially when it rains heavily,” he said. In August 2014, the village representatives had a chance to present the various issues which identified by community and presented them to the Township level workshop where local government officials responded to their queries. During the workshop Lar Yaung village representative reported that the road and the bridge in Lar Yaung village were in bad need of repair. The government officials instructed Participants to discuss the matter with village leader and submit a proposal for funding to the Department of Rural Development. Representative of Lar Yaung Village “Naw Yin Lay shared this information when she came home. The village tract leader also got involved in the meetings and in the end she wrote the actual proposal,” In January 2015, they received a government grant of 250 Lakh Kyat (≅ USD 21,000) to construct a new bridge. ActionAid contributed another 35 Lakh Kyat (≅USD 3000) and the community raised the remaining 165 Lakh (≅ USD14,000) needed. To ensure the quality of bridge, the community hired a civil engineer to design, checked the labors whether their work is systematic or not. All the labors are from village and neighboring villages in the tract as the peoples’ counterpart.. But in order to get the volunteering as labors, we had inter-villages meetings at least 10 times,” said the pastor of Lar Yaung .The bridge was finished in November 2015. Today people in Lar Yaung village do not used boats anymore to go to the other village. Not only the people from that village but also from other junction villages. Children are now using the bridge to access schools in Tha let Kwar village, farmers , fishermen and entrepreneurs now have access to markets and mothers and sick people can now visit the clinics in the other side of the village especially during time of emergency. For sustainability, there is a community committee for Bridge maintenance group that involved people from four villages. Now it is the process of making a road to the village and after that they are planning to collect road tax for maintenance cost.

Read a longer account of this story here: From Boat to Bridge


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