New Road to Myanmar’s sustainable rural development with Humanitarian Spirit
Historically, Myanmar is a resource rich country which has still been attempting to improve the socioeconomic development of rural populace. There are many departments which are implementing the rural development although the focal department for rural development in Myanmar is the Department of Rural Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.
The Department of Agriculture, DOA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, MOALI, is building Myanmar Saemaul Undong Project, in joint efforts with Korea International Cooperation Agency, KOICA, the Republic of Korea in 110 pilot villages in 10 Regions and States. The project is implemented from 2014-2015 to 2018-2019 with US$ 22 million.
Saemaul Undong (SMU) in Korean language refers to ‘‘New Village Movement” in English. The villagers build their villages to improve quality of life based on the SMU spirit by themselves, of the villagers and for the villagers. SMU spirit means diligence, self-help and cooperation. Saemaul Undong is based on self-reliant decision-making through the process of planning, implementation, evaluation, and feedback to the next phase.
As the SMU model, it is based on the leadership education and training programs that show the ways for each village’s leaders to cooperate with the villagers in order to change their villages by themselves. The villagers voluntarily take part in planning, implementation and monitoring their village development projects which are capacity building, improvement of living environment and income generation.
Story of SMU Project in Myanmar
The 100 villages were selected as pilot villages in Nap Pyi Taw, Mandalay, Shan, Sagaing, Yangon, Ayeyarwaddy, Bago, Mon and Tanintharyi in 2015. The starting point was the leadership education and training for village leaders with an aim to build successful cases at the Myanmar Saemaul Undong Academy temporarily situated in Central Agricultural Research and Training Centre, Zayat Kwin, Hlegu Township, Yangon.
The goal of the project is to uplift standard living for local communities, contribute to socio-economic development of Myanmar. The objectives are to enhance the national rural development policy through Saemaul Undong master plan, to build capacity of the Saemaul Undong leaders to enable sustainable undertaking of the project and to develop model villages to foster sustainable rural development at the national level.
The scope of the Project is to achieve the above-mentioned goal and objectives are to provide Saemaul Undong master plan, to develop Pilot Saemaul Undong model villages, to establish Agricultural Extension and Rural Development Training Centre (AERDTC) and to conduct Impact Evaluation. The basic cooperation principles of the effective project implementation are emphasis on changing people’s attitude and the spirit of self-help, strong commitment and Role of Central Government, competition-based approach and promotion of local ownership.
Leadership Education and Training
The leadership education and training program is started as Basic Saemaul Undong Training Program at Myanmar Saemaul Undong Academy in October 12, 2015. The Myanmar Saemaul Undong Academy is renamed Agricultural Extension and Rural Development Training Centre, which is commenced at Yezin, Zayarthiri Township, Nay Pyi Taw in November 14, 2017. Until January 2018, 35 times of training program has been conducted, and 1713 village leaders and 331 DOA staff have been trained at the training centre.
Five kinds of training program
(1) Basic Saemaul Undong
This is 5-day-training program for 900 VDC (Village Development Committee) members, village leaders, villagers and government officials of 100 SMU pilot villages. It is composed of three major modules: understanding the basic principles of SMU spirits, learning ways of project implementation and preparation of action plans. Three or four trainees per village (chairperson, secretary and chairpersons of sub-committee) have to attend the training with gender equality.
YTo create a proposal of project implementation based on the need’s survey brainstormed by instructors and to use it as a model reference for negotiation with involving organizations such as DOA, KOICA and Project Manager (PM) office.
Y To prepare a need survey based on the suggestions of related organizations such as DOA, KOICA and PM office for getting highest outcomes of the training implementations with specified budget.
YTo approve training proposal confirmed by DOA for successful operations based on Need’s survey.
(2) Agricultural Leadership Training Program
This is 10-day-training program for agricultural leader from each village (with gender equality) and ambitious VDC members for agriculture in priority. Subjects lectured in short-term training programs are included in this program. In addition, subjects for the agricultural productivity are also designed for the training. Apart from rice, vegetables, fruits, horticulture and livestock, enhancing the production of local products and its marketing strategy are involved in order to improve income generation of the village. The technology and information about production and storage of products are provided in the training. Consideration of purifying water, irrigation and agricultural civil engineering subjects is focused for rural development.
Y To train village leaders and pioneers who will be very supportive to the improvement of income generation of the villages
Y To improve income generation of the villages practically and creatively, with the application of SMU spirits\
Y To find ways of improving production of local product with the practice of modern farming technology
(3) One-day Public Training Program
The one-day public training program is conducted for the villagers from the pilot villages. It is designed to fit the time frame with introduction to SMU principles, ways of effective project implementations and discussions. Additional or irregular training programs is taken in consideration as per requested by external organizations
Y To conduct training to achieve public participation for effective project implementation of SMU villages
(4) Workshop for DOA staff
Short-term workshop program is conducted for ten Regional and State contact persons and twenty seven Township Officers under Department of Agriculture.
Y To find out supporting ideas, ways and guidance to project implementation
Y To improve the capacity of DOA staff
Y To share principles of SMU project implementations based on SMU spirits and ways of project implementation
YTo find the effective ways of supervision to project implementation of relevant SMU regions, state and townships
(5) Special Training Program
The Special Training Program is conducted with the Request of External Organizations. Special training program requested by other organization was conducted twice for 10 villages and total numbers of trainees are 104 including 3 government officials.
POSCO DAEWOO Company that is running its own business in Rakhine State provide budget for project implementation of 5 villages as CSR. Daegu Bank and Yeungnam University also provide 5 villages of Yangon regions for implementing SMU project with their supports.
The 55 village leaders of 5 villages of Rakhine State including DOA staff attended first special training program and 36 trainees (65.5%) are men and 19 trainees (34.5%) are women. The 59 village leaders of 5 villages of Yangon Region including DOA staff attended second special training program and 42 trainees (71.2%) are men and 17 trainees (28.8%) are women.
Constructing New Road
The Agricultural Extension and Rural development Training Centre (AERDTC) not only educate the lesson of Saemaul Undong Project but also train the various agricultural techniques with the SMU spirit: self-help, diligence and cooperation, as well as in nurturing SMU spirit in the hearts of village leaders implement the training programs with the SMU training policy: delivering applicable subjects to the trainees, decentralization in project implementation activities except specification of strict rules and regulations during their stay in training centre and paying respect humanly to the trainees without discrimination for example, regardless of their ages, the trainees are treated politely and friendly.
In future, it is anticipated that the AERDTC will grow as the key institution for developing human resources that promotes the sustainable rural development in Myanmar and moreover is constructing the new road to Myanmar’s sustainable rural development with humanitarian spirit.