What's happening on the ground?
February marked the second year of Myanmar being under military rule, with the junta illegally seizing power on February 1, 2021. The country continues to operate in a state of mayhem, with instability, crime and a tanking economy causing turmoil in every facet of society. Thousands of people have been killed, more than 100 villages have been burned to the ground, countless companies, schools, and hospitals have been closed.
There is a pronounced air of uncertainty, recently heightened by the military regime announcing an extension to its state of emergency, in turn delaying the elections the junta had pledged to hold by August.
The military invoke fear at what seems like every opportunity, introducing new laws and punishments for obscure activity. You only need to run a quick Google search to learn about some of these.
Most of us can only imagine what life is like in Myanmar at the moment; with ongoing power cuts; connectivity being severed; men, women and children experiencing harrassment and punishment at every turn; inflation; food shortages; and job losses. We continue to stay in touch with ZMF - our in-country partner - and are doing all we can to support the team.
Despite these relentless challenges, the work of ADC Microfinance continues. Read on to find out how we continue to support Myanmar entrepreneurs with microloans when they need us most.
Left: Thida Hnin cries during the funeral of her husband Thet Naing Win at Kyarnikan cemetery in Mandalay, Myanmar, Feb. 23, 2021. AP Photo.
Right: Streets have fallen quiet in Yangon, the country's largest city. Getty Images.
Our work continues
Thanks to the support of our donors, and support and co-investment from the New Zealand Aid Programme (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) Manaaki Fund, we continue to operate in Myanmar.
While microfinance lending has decreased in recent times due to the extenuating circumstances, it does indeed continue. Most loans have been focused on supporting current clients but, at the start of the year, we were able to support new clients based in Kalay. We're happy to share a little about some of these clients:
The ADC Board