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Myanmar, Asia

MYA06 - Bright Network Micro-loan Programme

Partnership Ref.:



Khup Thang



Funding Status:

Completed - No Funding Required

Partnership Type:

Micro-enterprise / Micro-loans

Funding Size:

$0 - $2,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 0

Connected To:

MYA01c , MYA02


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Funding Contact:

No funding required


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Population: 50.5 million

Life Expectancy: 61.2 years

GDP: US$446 per capita

Unemployed: 5.7%

unknown% earn less than US$2/day

Partnership Overview 

Poverty is rife in the suburbs of Yangon. Many people cannot make ends meet, even people with jobs struggle to clothe, feed, house and educate their families. Along with that, a number of recent climate events have added pressure onto families who have little to fall back on economically.     

For a number of years BHW has been partnering with MCTS, a Bible School in Hmawbi, just outside Yangon. We have been helping them to become self-sustaining, mainly to grow rice to underpin their costs. As well as this, we have been assisting them to support key people around Myanmar. This has seen small amounts of financial support assisting people to fulfil their work. For a number of years we have been discussing the best way to help these people become self-sustaining and they have been working on this. 

Kevin at workIn December 2011, the BHW Field Director had meetings with some of the key people and since that time the team there have been working on the best way forward. The plan is to start with a pilot micro-loan programme with some people well known to the team and then as they gain confidence, the programme will grow out to more people. 

It has taken some time for the team in Yangon to find the right person to lead the programme and to work out the best way to manage it. Initially the expectations were too high in terms of the size of loan people were wanting. We had to work this through and assist them to understand that it is possible to start small and grow the project over time. Realistic time frames were also an issue we had to address.

People in this country have never had access to loan money before apart from loan sharks with exorbitant rates of interest. That is why this is a pilot programme, they are not entirely sure of all the dynamics of running a loan programme there.

History of Partnership 

Learning hardBack in 2003, during our first visit to Myanmar, we started talking about micro-enterprise. It seemed like a foreign concept and has taken many years of conversation to find the right people to lead this. We have researched many ideas but have found them to be uneconomic.

The greatest barrier has been that the cost of inputs are not controlled by the government supply stores, but the sale price has been controlled. The sale price was not governed by the actual cost of production, but an arbitrary figure was set. This meant that many ideas were far too risky. However, with a better understanding of the dynamics and with more training, the issues are better understood now.


The initial beneficiaries will be some staff members of MCTS and some other extension personnel living in the Hmawbi area. The plan is that for the first couple of years these people will be given loans and be closely monitored.

Once the programme is established, it will be introduced to many of the Christian people associated with MCTS. These people are spread around Myanmar, many in very rural areas.  

What We Like About The Partnership

The fact that this has not been rushed gives us a fair degree of confidence it will work. There are also some very motivated people involved in leadership of the programme.


Key personKey People

Leadership Profile

Khup Hlei Thang is the key person. He is on the faculty of MCTS Bible College and also in charge of their self-sustainability programme. In this programme a Chinese tractor has been supplied to assist with the growing of rice for their own food and to generate some income as well. Also a chicken layer project has been commenced to attempt to make the Bible School sustainable from within the country.

Other People Involved

Dr Aung Mang is the person who oversees the MCTS programmes and the one in charge. He is Principal of MEGST, a large seminary in Yangon.


Vision and Annual Strategy

The vision is to empower key people and their families so they can remain in ministry and to empower the poor to become economically self-sustaining.

The strategy is to give out small loans to people at a low interest rate that should be repaid within reasonably short time frames. The same people will then be able to obtain further loans. There will be a savings component to the scheme as well so people can grow the equity in their small businesses.

The loan directors will meet regularly to receive new applications for loans, to oversee membership of the scheme and to receive repayments of loans.

The initial commitment is to inject capital into the programme for a 3 year period and then to review the programme.


Annual Budget

The annual budget is $US4,400 per year for a period of 3 years at which stage the loan programme will be self-sustaining.