Teaming up With Mercy Corps on Financial Literacy in Myanmar

It’s an exciting time for Myanmar. The Southeast Asian nation is undergoing rapid cultural and political shifts as it transitions to democracy. New market reforms are creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to pull themselves out of the poverty that has gripped the country.

But many people lack the skills needed to capitalize on this evolution. That’s where Mercy Corps steps in.

Women engage in interactive workshops to gain confidence while learning critical business and financial literacy skills through the MasterCard funded program. Photo: Ben Manser for Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps has been working in Myanmar since Cyclone Nargis hit the region in 2008, and has gained trust as an innovative NGO that uses market-based approaches to empower poor communities. It is also MasterCard’s first NGO partner in the country, and has identified a key gap in business and financial education. Together we will implement a business literacy program: Business and Financial Literacy for Success. The program aims to reach 1,000 beneficiaries, with a special focus on women entrepreneurs.

This new program will teach things like: marketing, market assessment skills, cash-flow analysis, petty cash management, book keeping and basic accounting. Better business practices will also help vegetable growers operate more efficiently and improve yields, thereby enhancing food security and nutritional intake for local families. The curriculum for this program will be adapted from Mercy Corps’ existing courses in other Asian countries.

Nilan Fernando, the Mercy Corps country director for Myanmar, says this new program will empower  historically poor people with the tools they need to succeed. Business and financial literacy will allow farmers and micro-entrepreneurs to fully participate in the new economy.  We think everyone deserves a fair shot at success.  What do you think?