Yangon, 3 July 2017—The Government of Myanmar has handed over a unique housing project for the poorest and most vulnerable families in Dagon Seikan Township in Yangon Region.

The Government of Japan funded UN-Habitat to provide housing and basic services facilities for most poor and vulnerable families in the vicinity of the project area. The project was undertaken in two Phases. Phase One was designed to construct 6 units of 5 storey buildings for 120 vulnerable families and the Phase Two designed to construct 3 units of 5 storey buildings for 60 most vulnerable families.

The handover ceremony for the first batch of 6 buildings was jointly officiated by U Win Khaing, the Union Minister for Construction, Tateshi Higuchi, Ambassador of the Embassy of Japan, Chief Representative Mr.Masuyuki Karasawa of JICA and UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager Mr. Bijay Karmacharya.

The event was witnessed by the beneficiary families, officials from the Ministry of Construction, Diplomats from the Embassy of Japan, invited guests and local officials.

The Union Minister for Construction and the Hjapanese ambassador jointly unveiled the commemorative plaque to inaugurate the 6 newly constructed buildings. Occupancy certificates were also delivered to already selected beneficiaries from the vulnerable families. The construction of Phase 1 commenced on 1 May 2016 and the 6 buildings and infrastructures are now completed and handed over to the occupants.

Land for the housing project was made available by the Ministry of Construction. The beneficiary families were chosen following a process of social mobilization and arduous beneficiary selection based on vulnerability criteria. The community-based housing project has put targeted communities at the center of the process. Right from the beginning, they have participated of the selection of beneficiaries, they have taken active role of the construction, and were involved in the development of maintenance plan, and they will be in charge of the maintenance and operations of the housing project and its facilities.

In his opening remarks Mr. Karmacharya stressed that this was a pioneering pilot project which will contribute in defining approaches of solving the housing problems faced by poor and vulnerable families in informal settlements.

Mr. Win said that the government elected by the people had the welfare and wellbeing of the people as one of its foremost priorities. He noted that this was an auspicious first time ever that the Government of Japan had made available grant assistance for the purpose of housing construction for the poorest and most vulnerable in Myanmar and that it was an expression of the goodwill sentiments of the people of Japan for the people of Myanmar. He congratulated the beneficiaries on their exceptional good fortune for this undreamed-of bounty and expressed the desire that by setting an example of good community living, many more vulnerable communities would also have the chance of benefitting in a similar manner.

Mr. Higuchi expressed happiness on the occasion in which the government and people of Japan could assist in putting some poorest and most vulnerable into decent and modern housing. He said he looked forward to co-operating both with the Union Government and with Yangon Government in similar projects in the future.

On behalf of the beneficiaries the chairperson of the beneficiaries’ committee U Aung Kyaw Oo expressed the great happiness of the beneficiaries and their deep gratitude to the Union Government, Government of Japan and to UN–Habitat for their assistance to the vulnerable people. He recalled that the beneficiaries’ selection process was a lengthy, careful and rigorous process out of which only genuine beneficiaries were chosen. On behalf of the beneficiaries he reiterated the solemn pledge to cherish and maintain the bounty bestowed upon them.

Dagon Seikan township is located in the eastern part of the commercial capital Yangon. The town was established in around 1990s and it was planned to set up as an industrial zone. At present, it has a population of about 166,000. The Construction Ministry has prioritized the area to assist the needy and vulnerable families and to provide them with basic facilities such as proper housing, water and sanitation etc.

The Government of Japan is one of the strongest development partners of UN-Habitat; It has already funded various projects in Myanmar for improving living conditions and basic facilities to poor and vulnerable group of people in the other parts of country.