Green Waves Social Enterprise

Green Waves Social Enterprise

Bogalay, MyanmarYangon, Myanmar
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Green Waves Social Enterprise strengthens local economies in rural Myanmar by reclaiming abandoned land, hiring and training landless farmers to restore it, and sharing profits with the farmers to lease their own plots by the following year. GW also invests profits into rural social enterprises launched by local communities, who in turn invest in community development activities.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Green Waves is trying to solve the problem of rural land insecurity in Myanmar. Land is at risk of confiscation by government and crony companies, especially when left uncultivated. Due to low access to education, weak community mobilization, and absence of rural banking services to the poor, local economy is weak in most rural areas. These problems are the result of weak and corrupt governance under severe dictatorship; they lead to poverty and food insecurity. In the delta area of Bogale Township where we work, 3000 acres of land was abandoned after 2008 Cyclone Nargis, which killed 80 percent of local people. Due to salt water intrusion and farmers’ lack of access to credit for the machinery needed for restoration, the land remains unused and is highly vulnerable to confiscation.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Green Waves restores productivity to abandoned land and strengthens the local economy through a triple bottom line approach involving land remediation, social mobilization and income generation. In 2010, 100 acres was purchased and cultivated by hiring 8 landless farmers. Agricultural inputs and machinery were invested that farmers could not afford on their own. 50 percent of profits were split amongst the farmers and they were able to lease and cultivate other unused land in the community the following year. The other 50 percent was reinvested by GW to purchase and breed livestock as well as distribute social enterprise start up grants to neighboring village development committees, who used it to develop community-owned enterprise and fund community development activities. Due to income from paddy, livestock and duck eggs, the project became self-financed after only 2 years; each year 8 additional landless laborers are hired and become small holders by the next year.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

One farmer's story reveals the effectiveness of GW's integrated rural SE model: U Than Htut and his wife Daw Khin Win were severely affected by Cyclone Nargis. "After the cyclone, our family was left with no properties or livelihood assets. How could we keep sending our children to school? We had to drop our son out of 7th grade, but we tried to continue sending our daughter." Times were very difficult. U Than Htun started to work with GW in 2010 as a farm laborer. He received ongoing sustainable agriculture training, a small salary ($65) during the season, and a small grant for backyard animal husbandry. “I received salary from GW and it met our family expenses. I bought 2 piglets, from which I earned a total $350. I received 250 baskets of paddy for my share of the harvest, equivalent to $1000. It was enough cash for me to lease and cultivate 10 acres of paddy. “I will also buy a pair of buffalo and hire them out in exchange for 70 paddy baskets. I also will breed 150 ducks for eggs: I estimate I will receive $160 per month from this business. My wife will also keep and extend her business, selling food or vegetables at village. A total of estimated family income from different income sources for a year will be about $4,000. I believe I can continuously increase our family income year by year from practicing different livelihood strategies learned from GW. Now my dream has come true because I could totally change my life from casual labor to a tenant farmer.”

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We know of NGOs and donors working to promote land security and farmer education, but we are not aware of any that also use a social enterprise model in all of Myanmar. We feel there is a great deal of opportunity for this model to be developed and replicated in other regions by other entrepreneurs in order to strengthen rural economies. The rural SE sector in Myanmar would have to expand quite a lot before we could anticipate competition that would affect our success. In Myanmar there is a vast amount of land that needs to be restored, and communities need outside inputs to be able to do so. Our goal is for GW to emerge as a leader continuing to expand and take on new land projects while helping train and guide other investors, NGOs, communities, and entrepreneurs to build on our model.

Founding Story

As longtime development practitioners in the NGO sector, we began to see weaknesses in the donor-driven model and looked to SE for alternatives. We realized we could develop a hybrid model in which we still seek grants from funding agencies, but invest all the money received into land and agricultural inputs. In addition to all the income produced by agriculture and livestock activities, after the first 5-year cycle, we can sell the land to more than recover the initial cost. Therefore we can accept donor money, or work in partnership with SE investors to purchase land for a 5-year cycle. We realized that our model for rural SE, though based on simple economics, is dynamic because of the integrated approach we are taking to create environmental, economic and social benefits for the community, farmers and land alike. It seemed almost too good to be true but due to our years of experience working in this area and good management we have met strong early successes.
About You
Green Waves Social Enterprise
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Green Waves Social Enterprise

Organization Country

, YG, Yangon

Country where this project is creating social impact

, AY, Bogalay

Age of Innovator

Over 34

Gender of Innovator


How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)

Access to financing, Access to talent, Access to supply chains, Access to economic opportunity.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Economic development: 3 villages home to over 700 people have received SE grants for income generation activities including buffalo and piglet rearing

Social development: Villages participated in training on community mobilization and social enterprise management. Village development committees (VDCs) invested profits from community enterprises according to the community’s own interests – examples have included hiring a schoolteacher, fixing village footpath, building jetty, etc.

Farmer support: 16 landless farm laborers (8 per year in first 2 years) have improved economic security and income after receiving employment and profits from paddy harvest, being trained in sustainable agriculture, and using profits to lease their own land

Environment: 100 acres has been transformed from abandonment to productivity

Leadership: SE is little known in Myanmar; GW is in touch with entrepreneurs, investors, donors and NGOs interested in learning about it

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

-Plan to purchase second 100-acre parcel in same region in 2013. Aim to purchase additional plot every 1-2 year. By 2015 up to 400 acres will be held by GW
- At least 16 farmers per year (up from 8 with new land) will benefit from education/profit sharing program. By the end of 2015 approximately 100 farmers and their families will have received services and become small holders
-Expand farmer education program to incorporate thorough training on sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry
-Continue SE grants to VDCs for community enterprise and also add individual grants program to farmers who excel in training
-In early 2013 will implement repayment system for new grantees
-Build GW’s leadership on SE, train other groups, develop Myanmar language curriculum, publish short book

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Weather and climate: In the pilot phase, harvests were good but this varies by year. GW is now modifying the 50-50 profit share model and instead will keep a set number of paddy baskets each harvest. This way GW protects its own financial stability.

Community enterprise: Villages receiving SE grants may not succeed in the businesses they establish and not be able to repay. Our solution is to work with them very closely to improve their business model as needed.

Markets: Rice market can fluctuate, so if the prices drops significantly we would have to redesign profit sharing models again. However rice is often traded directly for leasing buffalo, etc., so the local economy is protected from outside market fluctuations. We promote local economy over cash economy when appropriate.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Within the next six months, GW plans to establish the second 100-acre land reclamation project phase.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Funding: Secure funding from donor to implement second land reclamation initiative.

Task 2

Prepare land: Acquire land and necessary inputs for remediation and planting; purchase buffalo, ducks, chickens and pigs.

Task 3

Community support: Conduct outreach activities, hire 8 farmers, launch farmer education program, make small SE grants to VDCs

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

GW will being restoration of 500 acres of land and emerge as a leader in Myanmar's rural SE sector.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Outreach: Develop website, outreach materials, relationships with SE investors and donors interested in working in Myanmar.

Task 2

Scale up: Scale up by securing investments to acquire and complete preparation stage for 1-3 additional 100-acre plots.

Task 3

Education: Host exposure visits, trainings, networking and other opportunities for rural SE leaders to emerge and share ideas.

Tell us about your partnerships

GW's key partner is Loka Ahlinn, a local NGO focusing on education and sustainable community development. LA maintains strong relationships with local authorities, donors and communities alike. This is a difficult space to carve out in the sensitive Myanmar political climate. Other key partners are the village development committees, local authorities and Norwegian People’s Aid, the donor for the pilot. NPA has been very supportive of the SE approach advocated by GW. Also Heinreich Boell Foundation funded research training for staff to gather data on socioeconomic and debt trends.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Since Myanmar is just now getting reliable internet, we lack experience and would benefit from support with web development, GIS, digital media, etc. We know that groups in the Changemakers network have pioneered uses of technology for farmers and we would like to learn how to use it with our own work. We would also like to offer SE trainings for Myanmar organizations and individuals.