Online learning gains new ground among artisans in Myanmar. Finn Church Aid’s (FCA) training on entrepreneurship builds new paths of cooperation that help businesses grow sustainably.
A new toolkit on artisan entrepreneurship inspires a fast-growing community of entrepreneurs in Myanmar, driven by its popularity and increased demand for remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.
FCA released a package of seven videos under the name of Myanmar Artisan Toolkit (MAT). Thus far, 192 people have completed the training designed to meet the demand for new business opportunities in Myanmar. The country’s tourism and business environment has grown rapidly.
The MAT education materials offer guidance on starting and running businesses. The training was translated into animated videos and paired with physical working materials that enable independent learning at home and allowing more people to participate in the training.
A Facebook Messenger Chatbot included in the learning concept allows participants to ask advice from administrators and other members of the online community, and watch additional lectures.
The training particularly benefits those that are already skilled in handicraft but lack experience in running businesses. Nin Nu Htwe makes hand puppets and participated in the live MAT-training in 2019 and took part in the online training during the pandemic.
“The Facebook Chatbot was particularly helpful for me. I used to work alone, but now I have a large, expanding network of artisans and trainees who I work with”, Nin says.
The training supports quality and marketing
The videos are available in four languages; Burmese, Rohingya, Rakhine and Pwo Kayin. During the first four months, 1,200 users registered to the service.
Htoo Thint Zin graduated as a MAT trainer in 2019 and gained both skills and a new network of entrepreneurs. Her business focuses on handicraft, and she works with 50 other artisans.
“On top of my business, I teach business skills such as quality control, planning and bookkeeping to youth, women and persons with disabilities”, she says.
Htoo credits the training for improving the quality of their local handicraft as well as expanding the opportunities of delivering the products to markets.
“The training has resulted in social and financial gains for my business partners and me, and soon our products will meet international standards”, she says.
Finn Church Aid (FCA) develops entrepreneurship training in Myanmar in collaboration with Lutheran World Federation Myanmar (LWF).
Photos: Myat Kyaw Thein