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Team Member Spotlight: Mar Lar Soe, Myanmar

Posted On: May 19, 2022

Mar Lar Soe (center) in the field

As Knowledge Transfer Manager for Myanmar, Mar Lar Soe leads EWS-KT’s programmes to equip the country’s smallholder farmers with the skills to increase their income from vegetable production. She works with local and international partners to implement programmes across the country, including in conflict areas.

“Farmers in Myanmar don’t have access to information, they don’t have access to technology,” Mar Lar explained. “We show them practical skills and share resources using hands-on training on demonstration farms.”

Agricultural skills are not all that farmers learn through EWS-KT. “I would say that the most important skill they develop is how to make decisions for themselves. Their ownership of decision-making is what really leads to better income, and ultimately a better life,” shared Mar Lar.

Mar Lar has over 15 years of experience working in the non-profit and private sectors. She has written over 10 publications, and she spent more than 14 years researching biological control for integrated pest management for the Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yezin Agricultural University in Myanmar, a master’s degree from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, and certificates in integrated pest management and in crop production under stress.

Her extensive education and experience serves her well in managing EWS-KT’s programmes in her country and navigating the many challenges she and her team encounter.

“We’ve worked in many places in Myanmar, but it’s still a small and narrow road we’ve built,” Mar Lar said. “Much more is needed to build the capacity of the whole country.”

It’s clear that she is doing her part to make that happen. “I feel really proud and happy to be doing this dream job where I can touch the lives of so many farmers,” she said.

Play the video below to hear Mar Lar describe how EWS-KT equips farmers with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive, and how that experience motivates her.

Click on image to play video.

Partnership Spotlight in Myanmar: A particular focus in Myanmar is the “female lead farmer” approach. This model uses the same methodology as all EWS-KT programmes—demonstration farms; intensive training in pre-production, production, and harvesting techniques; and introduction to new farming technologies—but focuses on engaging women farmers. ADVANCE Myanmar, a recent project partnership with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, employed a female lead farmer approach, with the goal of women being 80% of the farmers trained.