Commencement and progress report on LCA System project in Gwa Township, Rakhine State
2022.3.17 Thu 15:13
The 2nd year project starts
This project commenced in March, 2021 after being selected for Grant Assistant for Japanese NGO Project (Note) managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan in the 2nd year of Reiwa (2020) (Project period: 10th of March, 2021 to 9th of March, 2022). This project follows the 1st year project (Project period: 1st of January, 2020 to 31st of December, 2020).
This project is to install Learning and Communication Assist systems for students and residents (LCA system) and hazard maps at schools and villages in Gwa Township, Rakhine State. They are used to improve the disaster prevention ability of students and residents and to raise awareness of health and hygiene.
The main activities of the project are:
（１） Installation of LCA system (not installed in the 1st year due to pandemic of Covid-19：11 schools), 2nd year: 15 schools
（２） Creating and installing hazard maps (2nd year: 15 schools)
（３） Disaster Risk Reduction training session for teachers and Improvement of awareness of health and hygiene
The location of the school where LCA system and hazard map are installed is shown in Figure 1.
The project started in March 2021, but the administration system of the central government and the Rakhine state government related to the implementation of the project changed due to the influence of the military coup on 1st of February, 2021. The minister in charge and most of our counterparts who were familiar with the work have changed, and we had to explain again about project profile. In addition to that, the approval process also changed. Therefore, it took a lot of time before the installation work started. The installation started at the end of June, which was about three months behind schedule.
The first trip of local staff in Yangon was from 27th of June to 10th of July, 2021. We installed LCA systems at schools that could not be installed in the first year. By installing TVs for audio visual education in 15 schools of the 1st year project, we received a letter of appreciation from the school staff and the education department of the township, In addition to installation works, the PHF (People’s Health Foundation), a local affiliated organization in the project, conducted an awareness survey of the residents of the villages where these schools are located for the improvement of the health and hygiene awareness.
The above activities are shown in photos 1 to 3.
The above activities are shown in photos 1 to 3.
During the 1st trip to Gwa for LCA system installation, the Covid-19 infection spread out due to poor medical facilities and the Civil Disobedience Movement by doctors and medical service workers, resulting in the third wave of Covid-19 occurring.
The government made the period ranging from 17th of July to 10th of September, 2021 public holidays trying to stop the flow of people and made an effort to control the pandemic outbreaks.
In addition, the NGO activities in Rakhine State were suspended by the State Government from 12th of July 2021 to ensure thorough infection control measures. However, in November, the number of infected people decreased, and regulations were relaxed. And the school was finally reopened on 1st of December 2021. The reopening of the school was conditional on the students completing the corona vaccination.
The school has also been reopened and BHN has been granted to enter into Gwa township since 9th of December, 2021 so with the entry permission from Rakhine State Government and Corona Vaccination certificate to the BHN and PHF team, the team departed from Yangon to project site Gwa on 12th of December, 2021. The purpose of this trip was a field survey for the installation of the LCA system at 15 schools of the 2nd year project, and a baseline survey for raising awareness of health and hygiene at the 15 schools. The activities above are shown in Photos 4 to 6.
In order to catch up with the delay in the project, the local staff successfully completed the planned works with the devoted and energetic efforts and they returned safely to Yangon at the end of December.
The project was delayed for half a year from the original schedule due to the influence of the military coup and third wave of Covid-19. According to the original schedule, the project should be finished by the beginning of March, 2022. There are concerns about the spread of Omicron strains in Myanmar in the near future, so it is impossible for us to carry out the activities within the planned period, and we have been consulting this problem with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). MOFA has recently approved the extension of the project; up to 31st of August, 2022. Despite this difficult situation, BHN wants to carry out this project to improve the living environment of the residents in this area while gaining the understanding of all related parties.
Note: Grant Assistant for Japanese NGO projects is a fund which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan provides for economic and social development projects conducted in developing countries and regions by Japanese international NGO.
Project coordinator Eiichi Watanabe