The Thilawa Special Economic Zone


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Long-term livelihoods support

Income Restoration Program and livelihood support

Initially, the Income Restoration Program was implemented in accordance with the Resettlement Work Plan. The workshops were conducted with the Project Affected People (PAPs) on 11th December 2013, 22nd December 2013, and 16th January 2014. Based on the outcomes of these workshops the following trainings were provided to interested PAPs.

  1. Security Training
  2. Piano Training/ Key board Training
  3. Singing Training
  4. Metal bending and installation Training
  5. Welding Training
  6. Food Production Training
  7. Furniture Production Training
  8. Car Driving Course
  9. Electricity installation Course Training
  10. Car repairing Training
  11. Computer skill Training
  12. Language skill Training
Collaboration with NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)

The Thilawa SEZ Management Committee (TSEZMC) had realized that the income restoration program as well as the improvement of living conditions of PAPs would be more effective if it effectively collaborates with more stakeholders including NGOs and CSOs. Hence, more than twenty informal and formal discussions among the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee, the Developer (MJTD), NGOs, CSOs, and JICA expert team were conducted in late 2014 and early 2015. Finally, the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MSAG) was formed.

In the MSAG, Myanmar Center for Responsible Business (MCRB) acts as a chair and other stakeholders include Earth Rights International, International Alert, Paung Ku, representatives of Project Affected People, various civil society groups, representatives from the Developer company (MJTD) and the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee. The objectives of the MSAG are as follows;

  • To create a broad dialogue between relevant key stakeholders of the Thilawa SEZ Phase 1 project
  • To identify and assess potential issues, concerns and complaints from PAPs
  • To monitor implementation of resettlement and income restoration activities to ensure that they fulfill obligations set out by relevant Myanmar and international commitments
  • To promote and facilitate improved outcomes for PAPs
  • To promote good international practice in stakeholder engagement including disseminating information to generate a better understanding of Thilawa Phase 1 project
  • To identify lessons learned from TSEZ Phase 1 to inform planning and implementation of the Phase 2 project

As a result of discussions with the multi-stakeholders even before the MSAG was formed, the following activities have been or are being implemented as part of the income restoration programs and long-term livelihood support.

  • Social welfare support program
    • Social welfare support financing is provided to each project affected household with conditions. According to the program, initial financing of Kyats 1.8 million has been provided with the conditions that (a) key household members have to participate in the money management training provided by TSEZMC/JICA expert team (b) at least one household member of working age is working in a permanent/stable job, or (c) agrees to attend a vocational training course which will be provided free of charge, or (d) agrees to work in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone or elsewhere. The households headed by women, disabled or a sick person who cannot work are also eligible.
    • After three months later, additional financing of Kyats 0.7 million is provided under the conditions that (a) during the three month period, at least one household member of working age has been attending or has completed a vocational training course, or (b) has been working in the Thilawa SEZ or elsewhere for more than two months, or (c) has been working in a permanent/stable job. Again, the households headed by women, disabled or a sick person who cannot work can be eligible.
    • After another three months later, additional financial of Kyats 0.5 million is provided under the conditions that (a) at lease one family member has a stable job, or (b) has been working in the Thilawa SEZ or elsewhere, or (c) has established a successful micro enterprise to earn enough income to support family. Again, the households headed by women, disabled or a sick person who cannot work can be eligible.
  • Improvements at the relocation site
    • Various infrastructural improvements are being made at the relocation site that include improvement of drainage system, improvement of water supply system, improvement of ceptic tanks and land filling at some necessary places.
  • Micro-finance program
    • Micro-finance program is initiated with money management training first. When the PAPs become equipped with the knowledge of managing the financing, it is planned to provide micro credits to them.
  • Vocational training at a professional Japanese vocational training center
    • PAPs and local people around the Thilawa SEZ area are provided with the international standard basic vocational training free of charge at the Fujiwork, a professional Japanese vocational training center established in the Thilawa SEZ. It is arranged by the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee under the "Thilawa SEZ local community support vocational training program" with the sponsorship of the Developer (MJTD) and the Fujiwork . The courses include arithmetic necessary for sewing machine operators, basic manufacturing operations, expected behavior in manufacturing operation lines, business manner, and safety at manufacturing sites.