Newly launched UNESCO mobile app empower Myanmar’s agricultural sector with information
UNESCO Myanmar and local agri-tech startup Greenovator have launched an upgraded version of a mobile application that puts a wealth of development information of people working in the country’s agricultural sector.
The Greenway mobile app provides access to a wide range of informational and educational materials – including television and radio programmes, a variety of print materials and media toolkits – produced under a LIFT-funded project implemented by UNESCO.
The app was launched recently at an event in Yangon attended by more than 100 stakeholders from government, media, international organizations and civil society. The event marked the culmination of months of collaboration between UNESCO and Greenovator to respond to the pressing information needs of those working in Myanmar’s agricultural sector. (Video of the launch: https://www.facebook.com/unescobkk/videos/1745834175428993/).
Ms Min Jeong Kim, Head of UNESCO Myanmar, said the initiative can be seen in the wider context of access to information in Myanmar, which had been severely restricted for decades due to tight censorship and poor telecommunications infrastructure. This project, which relies on collaboration with the Ministry of Information, supports the ongoing democratic transition process by “facilitating access to development information on topics like nutrition, food security, weather, innovative agricultural techniques and market prices. Information which was not easily accessible before.”
In the spirit of the project’s aim to be inclusive and ensure farmers’ voices are heard, UNESCO invited people in the agricultural sector from throughout the country to join the launch.
One of them, Mr Win Oo, a farmer from Pauk Township, said that the Greenway app has proven “really beneficial” in his daily life. “It provides us with information on crop prices, how to use fertilizers and weather information,’ he said. “I’ve recommended the application to other farmers, because it is very useful.”
However, as Myanmar is currently leapfrogging in to the 21st century, many challenges remain. Ms Libera Antelmi, the Livelihoods and Food Security Specialist at LIFT, noted how Myanmar is in the midst of a rural and technological transformation. “This UNESCO-LIFT project is therefore absolutely timely, strengthening our collective work to build the resilience of Myanmar’s rural poor and providing them with the tools to participate fully in Myanmar’s transformative process.”
For this process to be sustainable, UNESCO empowers people in the agricultural sector with critical digital literacy and communication for development skills. In collaboration with the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation, more than 1000 agricultural extension workers, NGO-staff and farmers have been empowered to use digital technologies, including the upgraded Greenway mobile application, to improve their livelihoods.
Prof Kyi Toe, the principal of Yezin Agricultural University Hlegu Campus and a beneficiary of these courses, emphasizes that information is key. “In our data-driven world, it is vital to be able to use technology and communication tools for sustainable development. This project provides the necessary tools and trainings to improve the life of farmers in Myanmar.”
Ms Ei Thin Htike, a librarian at Htantabin Township, said that she and the farmers who attended the trainings “will not forget the content but apply it in our daily lives”.
Main photo credit: CRStudio/Shutterstock.com