Myanmar will adopt some of PNPM’s policies and methods observed during a recent exchange learning visit in Indonesia for implementing their national community empowerment program. This was conveyed by Mr. Hla Khaing, Assistant Director of the Department of Rural Development (DRD), the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, during the wrap-up meeting of Myanmar’s second official learning exchange visit to Indonesia in Central Maluku, Friday, January 16, 2015.
"After studying a few days in Indonesia, we found very strong points in PNPM that will be adopted into our program," said Hla Khaing, who is familiarly called Kokhy.
In the second visit, the delegation had an opportunity to learn more about the program’s scale up policies and program management in conflict and post-conflict area from national officials in Jakarta. Following this, the delegation also had an opportunity to learn about those issues from local government, program implementers, and communities in Central Maluku, Maluku, from 13-16 January 2015.
According to Kokhy, they will introduce the role of Finance Facilitator into their Myanmar National Community Driven Development (M-NCDD) program. The role of Finance Facilitator, whose role is to ensure that communities have the skills to keep accountable financial records, is considered very strategic. In order to achieve that goal, the Finance Facilitator carries out routine supervision and monitoring, as well as the audit of financial progress at sub-district and village levels.
"In our program, the Finance part is only at the higher level," he explained.
Beside the main role mentioned above, the PNPM Finance Facilitator also assists communities to develop a proper and realistic budget plan (RAB), and conducts training or capacity building for sub-district facilitators and community members.
To improve the performance of facilitators and to increase the program’s achievements, Kokhy continued, Myanmar will also develop more specific training methods. "In addition to training for Technical Facilitators and communities, we will also design a specific training method for the Finance Facilitator, like in PNPM," Kokhy added.
Another thing that would be adopted from PNPM is to encourage facilitators in their program, especially who will be mobilized to conflict and post-conflict areas, to be more patient in working with the communities.
"We found PNPM facilitators working closely with community and village leaders, and they are so patient. The village meetings, for example, only start once all communities have gathered. This is a very good approach to quell misconceptions which can trigger further conflict. Our facilitators will be encouraged to try this approach, especially for working in the post-conflict areas," Kokhy mentioned.
Myanmar began implementation of the poverty alleviation component of M-NCDD in 2013. This program is under the DRD, the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development. The group was following up on an earlier mission during which some members of the delegation had come to Indonesia in May 2013. They learned much about overall management and implementation of PNPM at that time.
"We are fortunate to have been here in 2013 to learn from PNPM. We applied some of learning into our program, with a few adjustments. Now, we are back to learn more from PNPM," Kokhy said when delegation members met with a panel consisting of representatives from the PNPM Mandiri Steering Committee, PNPM Rural and PNPM Support Facility (PSF) in Jakarta on Monday, January 12th, 2015.
From the first visit, Kokhy explained, DRD Myanmar adopted some PNPM schemes and policies related to procurement and management of Technical Facilitators, complaints handling mechanisms, technical standards for the program implementation based on the rural development programs policies, as well as the project visibility materials.
"We will expand the working area of our program this year, including to some conflict and post-conflict areas," Kokhy said.
The group from Myanmar is the most recent of more than 80 delegations that have participated in knowledge exchange visits since 2008 to learn from Indonesia’s experience in implementing community-driven development.