Providing Gardening Kits, Livestock and Trainings to Address Food Insecurity in the Rakhine State of Myanmar

Providing Gardening Kits, Livestock and Trainings to Address Food Insecurity in the Rakhine State of Myanmar

Feb 27, 2020

Since the beginning of 2019, the clashes between the Myanmar military and Arakan army have been escalating in Rakhine State, where People in Need (PIN) provides child protection assistance and works to strengthen the food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable communities in the Minbya and Mrauk U townships.

With funding from Myanmar Humanitarian Fund managed by UN OCHA Myanmar, PIN distributes kitchen gardening kits and small livestock to almost 4000 vulnerable households with pregnant and lactating women and/or children under two years in the Minbya and Mrauk U townships in Rakhine state.

Ma Kywat Thein, a 30 year old homemaker who has a seven-monthold baby girl, is happily growing vegetables in her garden with the help of her husband to support her family’s nutrition. “I received seeds, tools, organic fertilizer and two chickens last winter season. I plant long beans, pumpkins, cucumbers and other seeds in my small garden in my backyard,” says Ma Kywat Thein. “I share fruits and vegetables from my garden with my neighbours to feed their children. Children love to eat pumpkins especially. It is really sweet and good for our baby's health,” adds a woman from May Lwan Village, Minbya Township.

I am happy to see my own garden

PIN also conducts mother support groups where mothers and caretakers from the community learn about infant- and young child-feeding practices, and participate in cooking model nutrient-rich meals from locally available food. Ma Khin Khin Win from Taung Poke Kay village, Minbya Township, is one of the members. “The chicken I received has started to lay eggs. I also received gardening tools and seeds for a small kitchen garden in my yard. I planted all the seeds with the instructions of PIN and they have grown well enough to provide food for my family and also to share with other people as well,” she says.

PIN also distributed small livestock to vulnerable communities in the townships of Minbya and Mrauk U. Nearly 2000 households with pregnant and lactating women who are vulnerable due to being female-headed, having a chronically ill or disabled member, or being very poor, received four layer chickens and one roster per household. Following the distribution, PIN and its partner organization are monitoring the beneficiary households to prevent major losses or deaths of the distributed animals. During the project period, PIN is also providing replacement chickens to households with lost and/or dead chickens.

As a young gardener, Ma Khin Khin Win is eager to learn more about gardening techniques, such as land preparation, sowing techniques, seedling production, and organic pest control and protection. “While I see my garden which I grow myself, it makes me so happy and proud. Even though I have two children, 5 and 11, I can still manage my garden in my busy daily life. My children are also helping me to water the plants,” says Ma Khin Win.

Empowering community volunteers

In January 2020, PIN’s Agronomist Ma Nilar Htwe provided a capacity building training on good agricultural and livestock practices with support from the local Department of Agriculture and Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department in Minbya Township, Rakhine State. The training aimed to build further capacities and empower community volunteers who are gardening and livestock-breeding role models, and who are motivated to promote gardening and livestock-breeding practices in their communities. Following the training, the community volunteers shared their newly acquired knowledge as well as their experiences with their gardening and livestock-breeding fellows.

“I am really proud of providing agricultural and livestock management knowledge to our beneficiaries from Minbya and Mrauk U townships. During the training, I received some gardening success stories, especially from female gardeners that are gaining some extra income for their family by selling some vegetables from their garden,” says Ma Nilar Htwe. “This is a good opportunity for them. Right now they have nutritious foods from their garden for the food safety and nutrition security of their families,” adds Ma Nilar Htwe.

Ma Kywat Thein and Ma Khin Khin Win share the same enthusiasm towards the support they received: “We love to gain new knowledge and learn about good gardening and livestock breeding practices, as well as about protection and guidance for our children’s safety.”

This project aims to strengthen food and nutrition security as well as to protect crisis-affected communities living outside of displacement sites in Rakhine State. PIN conducts distributions along with providing capacity-building for community members on good agricultural and livestock-breeding practices, as well as healthy infant and young child feeding practices, through trainings conducted together with our local partner organisation, People for People, and with technical support from the Department of Agriculture and Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department.

Author: Aye Pyae Sone, PIN Myanmar Communication Officer