Community Gardens supporting Internally Displaced People in Myanmar
The impacts of COVID-19 and conflict in Myanmar have forced over 4,200 individuals from Demoso and Hpruso to evacuate their homes and set up camps in Nyaungshwe, a township in Central Myanmar. In March, to ensure access to diverse and safe food amidst the crisis, IIRR Myanmar and local partners established a community garden at Inn Dein village. Aiming to enrich local food systems, Inn Dein farmers are cultivating a variety of vegetables and other foods which thrive in the local environment. The garden benefits both the growing community in Inn Dein and the Yangon Monastery Camp in Nyaungshwe.
Preparations for small-scale livestock raising are currently underway to further enhance livelihoods and generation of income.
Climate-smart village project, IIRR Myanmar
The community garden is part of the wider research project “Climate-smart villages as platforms for resilience building, women empowerment, equity, and sustainable food systems” funded by IDRC. The project is studying the contributions of climate-smart villages (CSVs) and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in enriching local food systems. This research is focused on two CSVs in Myanmar: Htee Pu in the dry zone and Taung Khamauk in Shan State. In relation to income generation and livelihood activities, a community support fund was provided for two self-reliance groups. In addition, targeted farmers were supplied with trees for agroforestry purposes.
Community garden for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)
In March 2022, the CSV Support Fund was allocated to the IDPs in Naung Shwe Township. The humanitarian and displacement situation has worsened in some parts of Myanmar, including Southern Shan State. Naung Shwe Township has become a host for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are originally from Demoso and Hpruso. A total of 4,199 people are located in the camps in Naung Shwe Township. Because of the lack of opportunities to direct support to IDP camps and the risky situation in food supplies, access to food and nutrition for IDPs is critically important.
Structure of the community garden
The community garden was established 5 to 10 minutes walk from the camp. The garden area is about 1.5 acres and rented for three seasons from the owner. Twenty beds in five blocks were set up in the 50’ x 3’ garden area. Sprinkler irrigation has been installed to cover the whole land area, and 20 types of crops including several legumes crops and vegetables such as mustard, radish, carrot, coriander, okras, eggplant and pumpkin are being cultivated.
For the livestock, the location is not yet selected; the camp’s location in the monastery makes it challenging to raise livestock on the campus and also in the garden area, as it requires close management which is not possible under the current conditions.
Activities are managed by the management committee
As part of the management plan for the community garden, all have agreed to share the produce with other IDP camps across the Nyaung Shwe Township. Moreover, it is expected that the community garden will benefit the IDP camp located in Yangon Monastery. Over 300 IDPs, including children, are currently staying at the camp.
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