WASHINGTON, September 26, 2019—Pregnant women and mothers with children under 2 years old in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Region and Shan State will benefit from a US$100 million project, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
The project will finance expanded coverage of a cash transfer program that focuses on improving nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life and strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to provide social protection services.
Poor nutrition in young children is detrimental to cognitive development, future productivity, and learning and earning potential. This in turn has a negative impact on the country’s overall human capital. One out of three children under 5 years of age in Myanmar are stunted, and in some states and regions this rate is four out of ten. A child born today in Myanmar can expect to be only 47 percent as productive as she could be if she enjoyed full health, nutrition, and education.
“In the past decade, Myanmar has lifted many people out of poverty. But high levels of malnutrition and inequality remain,” said Gevorg Sargsyan, the World Bank’s Acting Country Director in Myanmar. “This new project will help about 700,000 expectant mothers and newborn children in the most impoverished parts of Myanmar to improve nutritional intake and their chance for a healthier and more productive future.”
The MCCT program, which began in Myanmar in early 2017, is already working in several states and regions—including conflict-affected Rakhine and Chin states—covering over 200,000 beneficiaries. The project will expand the MCCT program to Shan State and Ayeyarwady region and strengthen social protection delivery systems overall. It will also leverage the potential of ICT and e-payments to help ensure that the MCCT program can include those living in remote and potentially excluded areas and areas affected by conflict.