The EUs EUR5m Rapid Response support fund was launched to support the mostly female garment workers from across Myanmar

The EU's EUR5m 'Rapid Response' support fund was launched to support the mostly female garment workers from across Myanmar

Myanmar's garment workers have now received more than MMK4bn (US$2.9bn) in payments through the EU funded Myan Ku 'Quick Assistance Fund'.

The European Union's EUR5m 'Rapid Response' support fund was launched in April to support the mostly female garment workers from across Myanmar who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Since 1 May and 3 August, the initiative has distributed payments to a growing number of recipients, with 45,061 transactions, equivalent to more than MMK4bn, carried out so far.

In addition, the EU Myan Ku Fund cash transfer programme has been extended until 30 November 2020. Cash transfers will continue to be provided to garment, textile and footwear industry workers who have lost their jobs. Unemployed pregnant workers, migrant workers and workers who are using their unemployment period to enroll in educational and skills training programmes can from now on also benefit from this support.

The broadening of the target group will mean the nutritional needs of unemployed pregnant workers are met, and will specifically help migrant workers and workers facing discrimination in employment to receive essential basic support that could facilitate their return to the workforce.

In total, 26,578 factory workers from about 230 factories in the garment, textile and footwear industries have been enrolled and supported since the programme started.

Cash transfer support has ranged from MMK35,000 to MMK125,000 per month. Workers who are only employed part-time in the factories and earn less than MMK100,000 can receive 50% matching assistance from Myan Ku.

The initiative is funded by the EU's NEXUS Response for Myanmar and implemented by the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) and Sequa's SMART Textile & Garments project staff.

Local stakeholders and organisations supporting the implementation of the project include the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar, the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA), the Centre for Economic and Social Development, Pyi Gyi Khin, Opportunities NOW and Thone Pan Hla.

Cash transfers are remitted to workers digitally using Wave Money. To support garment workers in need, and as part of their corporate social responsibility, Wave is providing services to the Myan Ku project without their regular transaction fees.