NAY PYI TAW, June 25 (Xinhua) -- "When I was pregnant, I had to walk a long way to fetch water. Now I'm so happy to see a well being digged here," said Thei Ma, mother of two, holding her three-month-old baby girl in her arms.
Thei lives in Min Pyin village in Lewe township, which, together with Aye Chan Thar village in Tatkon township, is receiving financial and technical assistance from China under a pilot project for rural poverty reduction launched in February.
Lewe and Tatkon are two of the eight townships in Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory.
According to experts involved in the planning of the project, digging well and building roads are the tasks during the first year, followed by the construction of villagers activity centers and the completion of electricity supply in the second year. Dams and schools will be built in the third and final year.
When the project is completed, villages will also have the opportunity to participate in training sessions where Chinese experts will teach them necessary skills in planation and irrigation, a Min Pyin village official said.
"Although weather and other conditions have created difficulties for the project, it is still expected to bring about substantial development and improve our standard of living," said Sow Kyaw Myint, who heads the Myanmar team in the project in Min Pyin.
According to Li Dianbin, head of the Chinese expert team, digging a deep well is the priority in the project, since the 1,000 or so families in Min Pyin have long lived under poor transportation conditions and without easy access to drinking water.
"We don't have electricity here, something we very much desire," said Ma Aye Myint, a resident of Aye Chan Thar.
"We are very happy to see Chinese experts come here. I also joined the discussion and we all support (what was proposed)," Ma added.
Experts said that they have already dug over 500 feet (152.4 meters) beneath the ground, and that exploration is still continuing as satisfactory soil samples are yet to be found.
"We are competing with the weather, hoping that the well will be completed before the arrival of the rainy season," Li said.
The pilot project is a collaboration between China's International Poverty Reduction Center and the Department of Rural Development under the Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.
China said it hopes that by introducing China's experience in "targeted poverty alleviation" to Myanmar, Beijing will help the Southeast Asian country improve rural infrastructure, raise the level of public services in rural communities, and better enable the villagers to develop by themselves.
"We know that China has lifted a large number of people out of poverty, so we firmly believe that this project will see the successful duplication in Myanmar of China's good practices and precious experience in poverty reduction," Dr. Aung Thu, Myanmar's minister of agriculture, livestock and irrigation.
U Khant Zaw, head of Department of Rural Development under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, said he expects the project will be expanded to other parts of Myanmar when some good results have been achieved.