The Pantanaw Karen Youth (PKY) is carrying out a mat weaving project to increase the income of rural women in Pantanaw Township, Ayeyarwady Region with funding from an international non-governmental organization (INGO).
The PKY started the mat weaving project on July 1 with financial support from the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) and assistance from the GRET Myanmar, an INGO.
“We gave training from the other sector to build their capacities while they are working in the mat production industry. [The training is given] to teach them how to work in teams, draw up their own financial accounts, and do other livelihood businesses after generating their income through this project,” Sa Ye Thurein Han from the PKY said to Karen News.
A mat bank has been established within the project period, which will end on December 31, and 20 women from the targeted villages have to weave mats that are worth at least Ks 45,000 per month.
Income is generated by selling these hand-woven mats and five women out of the 20 women have been selected as group leaders and the mat weavers have to work in groups after dividing duties among themselves such as treasurer, market finder, reed issuer, and mat receiver, according to the project officials.
“We have to submit mats that are worth at least Ks 45,000 on the 28th. We can also submit mats worth more than that [amount]. We were in a tight spot at first in the first month due to the rain. Now, the sun is shining so we are doing well. We are doing better than before. We don’t have to go and get loans,” said Nam Kyi Kyi Win, a mat weaver.
By carrying out this project, the officials aim to reduce the migration of local residents, reduce loans, increase income for families, and provide better educational support to their children by working with local products.
This project has been initiated for the first time in Pantanaw Township and local residents of the township weave and sell hand-woven mats as a small-scale business besides working in the agricultural and fishing industries.