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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Markets an innovative approach to distribution of hygiene products

 Camp resident uses her voucher to shop at hygiene supply day at the Lisu Camp market. 

To support the health of internally displaced people (IDPs) living in camps in northern Myanmar HOPE International Development Agency provided hygiene products, including bathing soap, laundry soap, liquid soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, sanitary pads, towels, blankets, mosquito nets, and mats to over 13,500 people living in 42 IDP camps.

In order to promote dignity and choice for the people receiving the supplies, Metta, HOPE’s partner in Myanmar, adopted an innovative approach to distributing the supplies. Rather than handing out supplies directly to families, “hygiene supply markets” were organized. On market day, selected vendors set up booths to form a small market containing the hygiene supplies.

On the day of the market, camp residents are provided vouchers to use in lieu of cash as they shop in the market. After the market day, Metta paid vendors for the materials they had provided. This creative approach allowed beneficiaries to make choices and bargain for their hygiene supplies while supporting local small vendors and boosting their business.

Daw, a 49-year-old woman who received hygiene supplies through this hygiene market system, shared how she appreciated this way of receiving supplies, and the positive impact it had on her family.

“On the hygiene supplies market day, I felt like I was shopping, I felt very comfortable. Since personal hygiene materials have been provided to us regularly, our daily wages are better able to cover living costs.”

While having access to basic hygiene supplies is something easily taken for granted, for families in northern Myanmar who have been displaced by conflict, the provision of hygiene supplies is significant, allowing families to stay well and easing financial strain.