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FEATURE STORY

Myanmar National Community Driven Development Project: A Note on Consultations

February 17, 2013

Department of Rural Development
Myanmar National Community Driven Development Project
A Note on Consultations

8 February 2013

Myanmar version in PDF


The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has received a grant in the amount
of US$ 80 million from the World Bank toward the cost of its National
Community Driven Development Project
. Implemented by the Department
of Rural Development (DRD), the project aims to enable poor rural communities to benefit from improved access to and use of basic infrastructure and services, through an approach that empowers communities and promotes the Government’s move towards people-centred development, and to enhance the Government’s capacity to respond to crises or emergencies. The design and implementation of this project will involve intensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. This document outlines the consultations as currently envisioned, and will be updated as needed.

There are two principal stakeholder groups identified for the project:

1) The intended beneficiaries/communities and potentially affected people in the selected townships and;

2) Key non-government stakeholders such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and development partners.

Consultation methods for the two groups will share the same goal: to help
the Government put in place implementation arrangements that enjoy the
broad support of key stakeholders, and draw on the knowledge and experience of practitioners. To this end, consultations will aim to build
understanding of the project among beneficiaries and other stakeholders,
learn experiences from practitioners involved in similar community-based
projects, improve project design and implementation, and increase project
ownership and sustainability.

Consultations are planned throughout the life of the project, in keeping
with the community-focused design of the project and its emphasis on
continued learning and adaptation.

Consultations will be led by the DRD Project Secretariat. Township DRD
offices will be responsible for consultations in the villages and village
tracts as part of the community project cycle; they will be assisted by
NGOs/firms that will be contracted to provide institutional support as well
as community facilitators and village volunteers. The Union-level DRD
office will lead consultations with other stakeholders.


Project Beneficiaries/Communities

Purpose: To help ensure that all groups in the beneficiary communities
participate in the project and have the opportunity to benefit equitably
from it.

Participants: All population groups in a project village (including women,
ethnic and marginalized groups) are encouraged to take an active part in
the consultations throughout project implementation at the community
level.

Activities:

- Village-wide public meetings (open to all villagers) are planned throughout project implementation to introduce the project and subproject, plan activities, decide upon activities and report regularly upon implementation.

- In the first year of operation in a township, villagers will elect village
volunteers, representatives to the village tract forums, and members of the village implementation committee and procurement and monitoring sub-committees through a participatory process. Should development committees already exist in a village tract or village, villagers will be consulted on how these could be used and/or adapted for the purposes of the project.

- The project design envisages that, for each annual block grant allocation, villagers will (1) identify (and update, as applicable) priority needs and sub-projects through participatory social assessments, and (2) set up operations and maintenance committees for completed sub-projects through a participatory process.

- Village level consultations are planned for the technical design and other documentation for each sub-project, to discuss the potential impact and corresponding mitigation measures as well as the adequacy of the sub-project design to meet the special needs of affected people and disadvantaged groups.

- Given the small size of the block grants, no major asset loss or resettlement activity is expected at present. If a sub-project turned out to involve asset loss or resettlement, then due procedures, as outlined in the Environmental and Social Screening and Assessment Framework (ESSAF), would be followed. Before such a sub-project involving asset loss is implemented, under the ESSAF, (1) prior consultations would take place with people who would be adversely affected by the project; (2) a specific process would be implemented for consultations with households that may lose land or other assets as a result of a sub-project, to discuss compensation arrangements and other assistance.

- The project design and implementation envisage special measures, as outlined in the ESSAF, in order to mitigate the risk that ethnic minorities may not be able to fully participate in project implementation and receive project benefits. These measures include the full consultation and close involvement of ethnic minorities in the decision-making processes. Activities are planned to be undertaken in a culturally sensitive manner and in local
languages.

- The village monitoring sub-committees are expected to report to the villagers about progress in sub-project implementation. The project design and implementation provide for information on expenses incurred for each sub-project to be displayed in a public space in the village.

- Villagers will be invited to attend social audits at the end of each annual cycle to review the expenditures made and progress achieved, discuss the findings of available financial and technical audit findings, and suggest local adaptations to the project cycle or community implementation structure.

- Villagers will have the opportunity to provide feedback or express complaints through a grievance handling system.

Location: All consultations at the community level are planned to be
conducted in the project villages, with the exception of the social audits,
which are planned to take place at the village tract level.

Languages:
Consultations are planned to be held in the predominant
local language(s). Written materials (e.g., training manuals, records of
consultations, monitoring reports) would be made publicly available in the
villages and tract villages in Myanmar language and the respective predominant local language(s). Documents summarizing project progress
are also planned to be available in English and on the project website,
which is currently under preparation.

Methods: Consultations will take a variety of forms, including public forums (e.g., for the election of village representatives and for social audits), focus group discussions (e.g., with women and ethnic minority groups or project affected people) and key informant interviews (e.g., for
the qualitative monitoring and beneficiary assessments). Village volunteers and community facilitators are expected to play critical roles in the local consultations. Researchers are expected to lead the consultations for special studies.


Other stakeholders

Purpose: To share information about project implementation, learn from
their experience in community-based development, and seek suggestions
to improve project effectiveness.

Participants: NGOs, CSOs and development partners as well as
academia, the private sector, ethnic and religious representatives and the
media will be invited to various consultation events. Some events will be
planned for stakeholders at-large whilst others are expected to be more
focused discussions with smaller groups, especially to draw on the
knowledge and experience of other practitioners working with
communities.

Activities:
DRD plans to invite stakeholders for the following activities:

- to discuss the project’s draft operations manual
- to identify townships in the States/Regions that best meet the selection criteria
- to participate in the project launch workshop
- to join township socialization workshops which will be held prior to the launch of the project in a township
- to join the annual social audits in the village tracts as observers
- to discuss the topics and the organization of the annual
development marketplaces and annual multi-stakeholder reviews; and
- to participate in the annual development marketplaces and annual multi-stakeholder reviews.

Additional consultations/discussions on specific topics can be held upon
request.

Location: The locations of the consultations will vary but most will likely
be undertaken in different parts of the country, including the project
townships and Region/State capitals as well as Yangon.

Languages: Consultations with international partners are planned to be
held in Myanmar language and English. Consultations in Region/State
capitals are planned to be held in Myanmar language, and those in
townships also in the predominant local language(s), as relevant. Key
written materials are expected to be made available in Myanmar language
and English, and select materials (e.g., the operations manual overview)
also in the country’s main ethnic languages.

Methods: Most consultations are expected to be public meetings of
varying group size. Electronic consultations and focus group discussions
are also planned, as appropriate. Furthermore, views and suggestions can
be provided continuously on the project’s website. Summaries of
consultations will also be posted there.