Government, Partners, and Villagers Review Community Driven Development Project
September 3, 2014
NAYPYIDAW, September 3, 2014--- The Myanmar government, the World Bank, implementing partner NGOs, civil society representatives, and community representatives completed the first annual multi-stakeholder review of the Myanmar National Community Driven Development Project.
Over 200 participants met in Naypyidaw to reflect on the project implementation experience in its first year. They then worked together to identify ways to improve its effectiveness on its second year, where up to 900,000 people in nine townships will benefit.
The community driven development (CDD) project’s goal is to help poor rural communities access and use basic infrastructure and services better. The project provides block grants to communities to rehabilitate and construct of small scale public infrastructure. Examples of these include school repairs, footpaths and feeder roads, water supply systems, and health centers. The project uses a people-centered approach by which communities themselves choose, design, and implement the projects based on what they need most.
The project was approved in November 2012 with $80 million in International Development Association (IDA) grant funding. The investment, the first IDA operation in Myanmar in 25 years, was part of the World Bank Group’s re-engagement in Myanmar. IDA is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.
Good attendance at the stakeholders meeting
Many senior government officials participated in the event. Myanmar Vice President Nyan Tun opened the event and ministers from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, and the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, and parliamentarians were also in attendance.
“By allowing the public to speak out when they are unhappy, we create a good environment. It helps officials work well when they cooperate with and satisfy the needs of the public," said U Ohn Myint, Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development.
The event brought together local township authorities with representatives from non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, and beneficiary communities. The World Bank and other development agencies, such as the Korea International Cooperation Agency, United Nations Office for Project Services, Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme, Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee, IFI Watch, and more were present.
“This event is incredibly important for Myanmar. We witnessed senior government officials, including the Vice President, discussing directly with villagers. It truly is a bottom-up, people-centered process and the stakeholders review is a testimony to that,” said Kyaw Kyaw Soe from the International Rescue Committee, an implementing partner of the project in Chin state.
“We came from different townships that are geographically far away from each other. The multi stakeholders’ review was the first time we all met and I’m very happy about the opportunity. We shared our experiences and learned from each other because we are all dealing with similar issues,” said Daw Hla Gyii, a community representative from Namhsan Township.
We came from different townships that are geographically far away from each other. The multi stakeholders’ review was the first time we all met and I’m very happy about the opportunity. We shared our experiences and learned from each other because we are all dealing with similar issues
Accomplishments and lessons learnt
The initial results on the ground are impressive. In the first year alone, up to 245,000 villagers in the first three Project townships (Kanpetlet in Chin State, Namhsan in Shan State, and Kyunsu in Tanintharyi Region) benefitted from 350 sub-projects.
62-year-old U Sein Hlaing from Shan State told the project team during a field visit in May 2014: “This is the first time in my life where I’ve witnessed a project which is chosen by the communities--- not from the top authorities but from the bottom. For our village, we selected to upgrade the water supply system. Water is important for our village,”
“There were many ‘firsts’ and lots to learn and absorb for all involved,” said Ingo Wiederhofer, a Lead Social Development Specialist from the World Bank, “It’s one of the first examples in Myanmar’s recent history of a government program that brings decision-making to communities to identify their development priorities and improve their lives.”
During the multi-stakeholder review, participants discussed a wide range of issues: what support and skills community facilitators require to address community needs; how can community participation be maximized; how can the quality of infrastructure financed be ensured; what information is required to monitor and evaluate progress; and how more CSOs, donors, and international NGOs can actively contribute. They also talked about how government support could be enhanced at township, state, and regional levels.
The findings of the multi-stakeholder review will be used to improve the project as it begins its second implementation cycle at the community level.
In a gradual rollout to at least one township each state and region of Myanmar in the coming three years, the Project will benefit 3,000 villages, home to over two million poor people. The project’s next annual implementation cycle will begin in October 2014. It will expand to a further six additional townships this year, which translates into additional local development resources for almost 2,000 additional villages in nine rural townships of Myanmar.
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