A Leader Is Born!
U Lee Tan is a forty-year-old husband, father of two, and a farmer from Shanta’s partner village, Chaung Kaut. In 2015, when the partnership began, he was elected by his fellow villagers to be on the Village Development Team and to serve as the cashier for the Community Loan Fund. He was nervous and not confident he would do well in either role. But after attending trainings held by our staff, he felt he had a better understanding of village development and leadership, and his confidence grew.
“In the past, I intentionally took the back seat in meetings. I was reluctant to express my opinion and join discussions. Instead, I usually followed the decision of the majority of people. Gradually, through the training from Muditar, I began to understand that meetings without any interactive communication and discussion are just like a speech and are not helpful. So, then I tried to be actively involved in the meetings, and I found that I am able to do it. That makes me confident!”.
Through our training, he learned that in community-led development, all stakeholders must be involved. He also discovered the power of advocacy.
He has taken this newfound confidence and skills to his farming as well. He found out who were the key stakeholders in the corn-trading business, met with them, and his sales have expanded due to his networking.
He also led the VDT to contact local county leaders and successfully advocated to lower the village tax paid by Chaung Kaut, which was higher than other villages. U Lee and the villagers are proud of their advocacy and feel they are now on equal footing.
“I am proud of myself to be able to participate as a leader and organizer for our village development. These trainings, coaching, and knowledge provided by Muditar is very valuable. I see myself in a better version now. Other villages are not able to look down on Chaung Kaut anymore. I have decided to work closely with young people in the village to relay my experience so that they can lead our village to be a better version in the near future.”
Trained local leaders are the future of Myanmar and a pillar of Shanta’s sustainable holistic development model. We are grateful for their trust and partnership and for yours!
Chaung Kauts’ Community Loan Fund has grown to $11,000, and in 2020, 41 households took out a loan, with a 100% repayment rate. Since 2016, $5,300 earned from interest was used to support community projects.
Since 2006, Shanta and Muditar have trained 500 adults to lead 37 villages. These men and women trained in sustainable community development practices, basic accounting, and project management. These trained leaders have overseen the planning and implementation of 950 development projects, investing more than 50,000 volunteer hours!