Alistair Burt has visited Burma on his initial trip as International Development Minister to see first-hand how the UK is supporting Burma to become a more peaceful and prosperous country.
During his two-day visit to the country, Mr Burt met women and children at Hmaw Aing Rural Health Centre who have been helped by 3MDG, a fund supported by UK aid which provides life-saving maternal and child healthcare. He also visited a UK-supported sustainable fishing programme in the Delta region and met rural entrepreneurs who have benefited from UK support to farm a wider area and grow their businesses.
In Rangoon, Mr Burt discussed the need for improved infrastructure to support the city’s rapid urbanisation with the Chief Minister of Rangoon, U Phyo Min Thein, and met business leaders to learn more about the opportunities and constraints of Burma’s business environment.
He also visited Rangoon General Hospital, which the UK has helped rebuild. He was welcomed by the Minister for Health and Sports, Dr Myint Htwe, to discuss how UK and Burmese health institutions can work together to realise the government’s National Health Plan.
Mr Burt later called on Minister of Education Dr Myo Thein Gyi and met teachers from a UK-supported programme to improve teacher trainers’ English language and teaching skills. The programme has placed English teachers in almost all teacher training colleges across the country.
UK International Development Minister Alistair Burt said:
Burma is advancing down the path to democracy, peace and prosperity. I was encouraged by the progress made towards inclusive peace at the recent peace conference which will encourage better and faster economic development, reducing both poverty in the country and Burma’s dependence on aid in the future.
Burma still faces serious development challenges, and the UK remains committed to helping the country tackle these to make sure all of its people are healthy, educated and do not go hungry.
To date, UK support in Burma has:
- Provided Malaria testing services for over 1m people
- Helped 49,000 children to access a decent education and aim to support a further 100,000 by 2020.
- Trained over 2000 teacher trainers to improve the quality of teacher education for new teachers and their English language skills
- Enabled over 800,000 rural families make a success of farming and other enterprises
- Improved nutrition for over 565,000 children under 5, women (of childbearing age) and adolescent girls, and we aim to reach a further 325,000 people over the next four years.
- Allowed over 1.1 million people to become better nourished and we will support 400 thousand people over the next four years.
- Provided loans to over 3.5 million rural people (92% are women)
- Given 608,000 people with sustainable access to clean water and/or sanitation
- Trained over 5,000 civil society election observers who helped make last November’s vote the cleanest in Burma’s history.
- Supported humanitarian assistance will aim to reach 400,000 people over the coming four years
- Continued support for all sides in the peace process, and to civil society and women’s organisations to broaden and deepen public engagement on peace.
- Ensured that 30,000 more women and girls are using modern methods of family planning