Local empowerment and food security are difficult enough to achieve in the global economy; under one of the world’s most notoriously repressive regimes, it is doubly hard. Yet that’s what NEED-Burma (Network for Environment and Economic Development) works towards every day.
Since 2006, NEED-Burma has been teaching ecologically-sound farming practices to young Burmese at its model farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand – from seed saving and rice planting to mud-brick building and fungi cultivation. In 2013, NEED-Burma began operations at a new site in Myanmar (Burma) itself. Called the Eco-Village Foundation (EVF), it is well on its way to becoming a scaled-up version of the model farm in Thailand – a center for community events such as rice harvesting, a practical school for agricultural training, and a model for rural resilience across the region.
As the government of Myanmar (Burma) has slowly opened its economy to outside forces, the country is caught between an oppressive past and an uncertain future. NEED-Burma’s founder Khaing Dhu Wan believes that his country “must be in the hands of its people – not multinational investors seeking to exploit Burma’s natural resources. It is the responsibility of all Burmese people to ensure that the losses of years of civil war were not in vain.” NEED-Burma and its group of young farmers are certainly doing their part.
To learn more, visit Need-Burma’s website.