Background of Natogyi Township, Mandalay Region, Myanmar
Dry Zone of Myanmar is significantly known for its water scarcity or prolonged droughts and associated difficulties in making livelihoods especially for those subsistence farmers who with limited resources. Most livelihood constraints in Dry Zone originate from the scarcity of irrigation water which is often caused by prolonged drought and has become worsened since some four or five years ago. Prolonged drought affects not only crop production, but also livestock raising further due to the resulting scarcity of feed. Though most families of the region were known as farmers, many now have already stopped crop growing while there is also a potential for decrease in livestock raising. Instead, they tend to convert to various coping strategies such as casual works and labor migration as many farmers have already done.
Natogyi Township is situated in one of the most difficult areas of Dry Zone. While most farm families engage in crop cultivation and livestock raising as their major livelihood means, both these two livelihood means depend on rain-fed system in such a way that crop production is affected by prolonged drought and so is livestock rearing which again depends on crop production for feed. For farmers in the area, it is difficult now to keep on doing their existing livelihood systems or to find alternative livelihood means which are not dependent on the timing of rainfall. However, it might not be rational if any alternative livelihood mean also depends on rainfall that is not under the control of farmers. On the other hand, it will be more practical if any alternative livelihood strategy is proposed based on farm works with which local farmers are already familiar rather than a potential direct conversion into non-farm activities.
Another important issue for this area is the very limited number of development agencies present in the area. CAD has started a project in Natogyi Township since 2015, providing assistance to more than ten villages. But the provision as well as coverage of support are still quite limited compared with the actual needs of farmers. By just assessing the needs of farmers in the communities covered by CAD through its on-ongoing project, it is difficult or almost impossible to know the needs of support in the entire area. Thus, any specific assessment identifying the types and quantity of support needed by farmers of the area. The actual needs of farmers in the area can be known only by conducting such a need assessment and only then can any development agency or government departments take any proper intervention.
Background of Project Area
CAD has set up its Sub-office in Natogyi with financial support of British American Tobacco company since 2015 for uplifting living standard and livelihood of farming communities in the region. In 2016, New Zealand Embassy has started funding to CAD for this area as well. Natogyi is one of the poorest area in Myanmar and also the poorest township in Mandalay region, Myanmar.
History the Township
At the time of King Swasawke, king of the Innwa first dynasty, in the Myanmar year 763, the town was called “Nwa Dho”as a village (nwa meaning “cow” and dho meaning “herd,” for “the village which herds the cow”). Some named the village as Nwa To (nwa meaning “cow” and to meaning “prosper,” because the villager prospered by breeding the cow). There is an assumption that the name was changed from Nwa Dho, to Nwa To, to Natogyi according to the Shin Pin Tha Dohn Oo pagoda’s bell inscription from the Myanmar year 1267. It was demarcated by 6 wards, 64 village tracts and 186 villages by order No. 103/49 branch (1) by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Religious Affairs on July 31, 1972.
Natogyi township administration is under the Myingyan district under the Mandalay Regional Division. It is located between the latitude 21° 17′ 34″ north and 21° 38′ 42″ north and between longitude 95° 27′ 54″ east and 95° 58′ 32″ East. Natogyi township is bordered by Myittha Township to the east, Myingyan Township to the west, Ngazon Township to the north and Taungtha Township, Mahlaing Township and Wundwin Township to the south.
The area of township is 481.20 sq miles, 307,968 acres. It is 30 miles long and 3 furlongs from east to west. It is 22 miles wide and 2 furlongs from north to south. The township is located in the middle dry zone of the country and the average temperature of the township is 41 °C at the highest and 36.1 °C at the lowest. Rain falls on 32 to 55 days and the rainfall is 21 to 43 inches.
There are 35504 families, 35014 households and total population is 184767 (87878 numbers of men and 96778 of female) in this township. There are 188 villages and 64 village tracks in this township. In education, there are 102 primary schools, 19 post affiliated-primary schools, 2 middle schools, 19 affiliated-middle schools, 9 post affiliated-high schools and 6 high schools and in health, there are 38 numbers of village health centers in this township.
Currently, there is no source of electricity for the students to study during the evening in many of the schools in Natogyi township. So the students have to use dim candles’ or kerosene lamps’ light to study. Using dim light for studying can negatively affect the eyesight of students. There is also a danger of fires and serious burns with candles and burning of kerosene.
Solar panels will allow the students to be able to study during the evening hours without having to rely on dim light sources. They will be able to use the money used for buying candles and kerosene lamps for other livelihood or educational purposes. The risk of fires and burns will also be reduced.
10 solar panels are provided to primary schools of 10 villages in Natogyi Township. The villages include NabeTha, Oat Shin Kyin, Si Tha, Kya Twin Bo, Youn Yin Taw, Ba Hat, Sa Taung, CheenYaa, Ma Kyi Kone and PhaungKyin villages. These schools have been assisted based on the need expressed by the community and accessibility by CAD.