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Mekong Connection 2004 Jan-Aug
Policy Interventions for GMS Poverty Reduction
Written by Mekong Institute
This report evaluates the third MI course on poverty reduction: "Policy Interventions for GMSPoverty Reduction" funded by both Asian Development Bank and New Zealand Agency for International Development. The course was conducted at MIfrom 25 August to 19 September 2003.
The course was organised to improve knowledge and skill of government officials, experts, practitioners and civil society personnel. The course covered formulating, refining and adjusting poverty reduction strategies and interventions, planning and implementing poverty reduction programs/ projects, and monitoring and evaluting poverty impacts. It was also aimed to promote regional cooperation and foster a professional network among course participants in poverty reduction.
Twenty-nine public sector personnel from the six GMScountries attended this course. Of them, five work wth research institutios, one with a bank, and the remaining with government agencies. The course achieved adequate representation of women participants at 45% of the total.
The course comprised 5 modules, constructed along the ADB poverty reduction framework. It involved poverty concepts,measurement and analysis; framework, strategy and interventions for poerty reduction; how to develop a poverty reduction strategy and interventions; and how to monitor and evaluate poerty impacts. 50-58% participans considered them as "useful and interesting".
Five experienced experts taught this course, one additional expert gave a guest presentation. In addition, two Engish instructors provided necessary language support required for course teaching. All the module presenters recieved good training from participants.
Course activities used for this course included lectures, class discussion, case studies, guest presentation, field research visits, on site English training, coaching on presentation and Internet navigation, and social and cultural activities. Both presenters and participants considered these activities as helpful, though their ratings varied across the activities. For example, the end of coure survey recorded 75% participants considered lectures as "very helpful". Figures for class suggest that most of the course activities are effective and useful, while it is neccessary to further encourage an active, participatory approach to teaching and learning.
As a result of both dedication of the resource persons and effectie course activities/ methods and organisation and administration, this course was successful in achieving its four general objectives (p. 8 of this report) and module specific objectives set out in the course design statement.
i) Overall, 61% participants were very satisfied with the course , another 39% satisfied. The rate is higher than the second MI course on poverty but lower than the first.
ii) 33-71% participants (varying significantly across modules, same thereafter) indicated they gained "a lot of " knowledge from this course, while 29-67% participants gaind "some" knowledge.
iii) 29-46% participants thought they could easily use skills for poverty analysis and the development of poverty strategy, interventions and programs, while majority (around 65%) of participants could use "some" skills learnt.
iv) 47.5% participants held that their English skills improved "a lot"; while another 28.8% partcipants, " a little".
v) 75% participants made "many" friends during the course. 35% participants fostered "many professional contacts" with their fellow participants and presenters; 60% participants, some contacts. The course helped promote GMS cooperation and develop a professional network for effective responses to poverty issues.
The course also provided an excellent opportunity for MI to reflect on its course organisation. This reflection is summarised in Section 9 of this report, and is recommendation from both presenters and participants. The recommendations are on modules and topics, course delivery, course activities and methods, programming or course time arrangement, Enlish language training, and so on. Some of these recommendations have been taken into account for the course afterwards and is a reference for organising future courses.
Project Management for Sustainable Development in the GMS
Written by Mekong Institute
For the first time the Mekong Institute designed and organised a training course on "Project Management for Sustainable Development in the GMS" with financial assistance of NZAID. The course was held from the 10th of February to the 7th of March at the Mekong Institute on the campus of the Khon Kaen University and was attended by 34 participants from the six GMS countries, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Yunnan Province of China.
The response from the GMScountries showed that the selection of the course subject was te right choice. The eficient implementation of projects requires competent project personnel and with the increasing number of projects in the GMS countries through various donor agencies the need for better trained project personnel is urgently felt.
The effiicient planning and implementation of projects plays an important role in the economic and social development of the GMS countries and thus contributing substantially to the reduction of poverty.
The course consisted of four training modules and additional English language training.
Module 1: Project Cycle and Project Planning
Module 2: Project Team Buildng and Management
Module 3: Project Budget Management
Module 4: Project Monitoring and Evaluation and Project Rist Management
NZAID policies on gender and development (GAD), enviornment and educaton were incorporated into the course modules and also addressed throughout the course. Of the 34 participants on this course 12 were women.
From the course evaluaton it can be concluded that the four course objectives were widely achieved. The majority of participants considered that from the course they gained "a lot" of knowledge and skills for dealing more effectively with project management issues, developed skills for learning, computer use, and interent searching, built a spirit of cooperation and established professional and personal contacts among themselves.
The course achieved a high level of satisfaction by the participants. Of te 34 participants, 18 were "very satisfied" with the course, 15 were "satisfied" and one participant did not answer the questions.
This course evaluation report presents and analyses course design and delivery, course services and course results, using data and information collected from participants and presenters coupled with those from other complementary sources. It also contains comparisons with some indicators on previous courses.
This report includes recommendations, again largely from presenters. Some of tem were addressed when the course was on going. They will be useful and have significant implication for future course at MI and even courses on such theme/ topics elsewhere.
Private Sector Participation in GMS Growth and Development
Written by Mekong Institute
This report evaluates the course on "Private Sector Participation in GMS Growth and Developememt" held at Mekong Institute from 29 September to 24 October 2003.
The course was organised to meet GMS need for training on the private sector development because the sector is the main engine to achieve economic growth and reduce poverty in the sub-region. Based on the understanding, all the GMS countries are promoting the development of the private sector as part of national development and poverty reducton strategy.
Twenty-eight participants from the six GMScountries attended the course. Most of them were government officials, but some were working with blank sector and chamber of commerce. There was one participant from the private sector. Seventy participants (61% of the total) are women.
The course consisted of four modules, involving the role of the private sector and strategies for private sector development, especially public and private partnership and SMEs. 43-50% participants considered the modules as "very useful and interesting" and another 50-57% participants considered them as " useful and interesting".
This course has achieved its four general objectives and module specific learning objectives. i) Overall, 54% participants were "very satisfied" with the course, and antoher 46%, "satisfied" with it. ii) In terms of knowledge gaining, 47-64% participants (varying across modules, same thereafter) indicated they gained " a lot" of knowledge from the course, while another 29-36% participant gained "some". iii) As far as development of varous skills associated with private sector participation, 42-57% participants can use "some" skills learnt. iv) Overallm 43% participants held that their English skills improved "quiet a lot", while another 21% participants, "a lot". v) Most participants believed they improved their presentation skills. vi) 64% participants made "many friends" with their fellow participants; and 50% participants establised "many professional ocntacts" with other participants and presenters; and 35% participants, "some" contacts. The course helped to strengthen the "Greater mekong Spirit" and foster a network of professional contacts in promoting private sector development and economic development.
The achievements were results of dedication of resource persons, effective course activities and methods, and course organisation. Three experienced experts instructed the modules, and other two experts gave guest presentations. The participants gave all the modules very good rating.
Both presenters and participants considered the course activities and methods (lecturing; class discussion; case studies; guest presentation; field research visit; English training; training on Internet navigation, presentation; and social and recreatonal activities) as effective and helpful, though ratings of particiaptns varied across the activities. For example, at the end of course survey, 78% participants considered lecturing as effective, the figures for case studies, and guest presentation were 78% and 40% respectively. All the participants rated field trips as "very helpful" and "OK". In conclusion, these course activities are useful and effective in achieving optimum outcomes.
This course also provided an opportunity for MIto reflect on its couse topics and course organisation. The presenters and participants provided many comments, suggestonos and recommendations. These are in Appendices D and E, and 14 recommendations are summarised in the last section of this report, "Recommendations from This Course". They involves course topic and modules, and almost all aspects of course organisation, such as pre-course arrangements, resource person identification, teaching and learning activities, course duration and time allocation between course activities, teaching facilities, and support services. They are useful and helpful for future courses at MI and a referenced for course organisation elsewhere.
Towards Eliminating Poverty in the Greater Mekong Subregion
Written by Mekong Institute
This second course on poverty by the Mekong Institute (MI), "Towards Eliminating Poverty in the Greater Mekong Sub-region" (GMS) was organised in response to the need for increasing number of competent professionals for attacking poverty in the GMScountries. This need was identified through the surveys with the participants of the "Eliminating Poverty in the GMS" course held from 28 Oct.- 20 Dec. 2002 (the first poverty course thereafter) and some of their employers. It was part of MI's ongoing effort to link its training to the major regional integration programs of ADB, ASEAN, etc. and to contribute to reducing poverty and hunger and improving livelihoods of people in the GMS.
The design for this course drew on success of the first poverty course, with recommendations from participants and presenters of previous courses incorporated into the course design. Five objectives were set for this course, aiming at improving participants' capacity, knowledge and skills and foster "Greater Mekong Spirit" and network of professional network, which reflects it was an action-oriented course.
This course was conducted by MI, with financial assistance of the New Zealand Agency for International developement (NZAID), from 17 March to 9 May.Thirty Participants from the six GMS countries, ie, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunan Province of China attended the course.
A variety of course activities were organised to achieve optimum outcomes (Course Objectives). They included four broad groups of activities: module teach and learning activities ( lecturing, class discussion, group assignment, guest presentation, field research visit, and participant report); English training; training on Internet search, Power Point an dpresentation and delivery; and social and recreational activities.
Seven modules were designed and delivered as main part of this course. They are:
Roles of diversified stakeholders in antipoverty
Framework and strategy for poverty reduction
Linking governance and poverty reduction
Poverty reduction through empowerment
Finanace for poverty reduction
Trade and poverty reduction
NZAID policies were fully addressed in course design, organisation and delivery. Poverty elimination is one of NZAID's key areas of concern and is one of the two fields that its consultancy team in 2002 for MI course for the period of July 2002 to June 2004. NZAID policy on gender and development (GAD) and environment were adequately built into course modules and delivery process, and the course was gender and environment sensitive. Of the 30 participants on this course 6 were women. The course focused on capacity and skill developement, and its adoption of a variety of teaching and study methods reflect NZAIDpolicy on education and training.
Six experts in the area of poverty, development, economics taught this course as module presenters. They are from Australia, Malaysia, and New Zealand. Half of them are regular MI presenters. In addition, four academics and practitioners from international development organisations, a Thai university, A Thai bank, and one from Lao PDRgave guest presentations.
Close on-course monitoring and post-course evaluation indicated that the course design and objectives were well considered; the course activities were helpful and effective, and the course organisation and support services were effective too. As a result, outcomes of this course are satisfying. The course achieved its objectives. The majority of participants indicated that from this course they gained a lot of knowledge and skills for dealing more computer use, and built a spirit of cooperation and network of professional and personal contacts among themselves.
Overall, of 29 participatns surveyed, 15 were "very satisfied" with the course and 14 were "satisfied" with it.
Moreover, this course received recommendations from both presenters and participants, learnt some lessons, and expanded MIdatabase of resource perosns. All these will be useful and have significant implications for future MI courses in particular and courses on such theme/topic elsewhere in general.
The Role of Coporate Governance in GMS Growth
Written by Mekong Institute
Governance issues are at the center of many of the most pressing challenages confronting any county including those of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Governance issues greatly affected a multitute of stakeholders, including banks, financiers, donors, suppliers, consumers, governments and regulators, world-bodies, shareholders and investors, and society generally. The promotion of good governance (including corporate governace) in the GMS has been identified as a priority by these stakeholders including the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and GMS governments.
In recognition of this priority, the Mekong Institute (MI) organised the course on "The Role of Corporate Governance in GMS Growth". This course is also part of MI's ongoing effort to link its training to the major regional integration programs of ASEAN, ADB, and major regional organizatons. It is the first MIcourse on corporate goverance, held from 14 July-22 August 2003, with financial assistance from the New Zealand Agency for International development (NZAID) and the ADB.
This course was organised to enable course participants to understand and deal more effectively with the issues of coporate governance in the region and their respective countriesand to provide a forum for participants to exchange views and experiences in the area with one another. In addition, the course aimed at improving participants' skills for analysis and presentation, achieving their Internet literacy; strengthening the "Greater Mekong Spirit"; and fostering a network of professional contacts.
A variety of course activities and methods were organised to achieve optimum outcomes as specified against the course objectives above. These included two broad groups of activities: teaching and learning activities (lecturing, class discussion, group assignment, guest presentation, field research visit, English training, training on Internet searching, Power Point and presentation preparation and delivery); and social and recreational activities. The course adopted participatory course delivery mode, focused on capacity (knowledge and skill) development, and was action-oriented.
Thirty-four participants from the six GMS countries attended this course. They are from government departments, enterprises/ coporations (including SOEs), central and commercial banks, researc or training institutes, etc. Twenty-five of them (74% of the total) were women, the highest proportion of all MI courses. Thirty participants were funded by NZAID, and 4 by ADB.
Four experts from Malaysia and New Zealand taught this course. Two of them had taught previous MI courses. In addition, four practitioners-two from private companies, one from Bank of Thiland, and one from Bureau of Budget, Thialand delivered guest presentations. The involvement of these experts expanded MI databse of resource persons.
On-course monitoring and post-course evalutaton indicated that the course topics and objectives were generally well considered. Six modules were designed and delivered as the main part of this course. Fifty percent or more participants rated 4 of these modules as "very useful and interesting". Two modules ( module 2 and module 6) received slightly lower ratings mainly due to the less relevance of topic in module 2 and the lack of participants familiarity with capital markets on module 6.
Lectures, class discussions and guest presentations were well delivered or organised, as participants rated them as "very helpful". Same as with the another group of course activities such as weekend trips and welcome and farewell parties. The rating on course organisation and support services was high as well.
As a result, the outcomes of this course are satisfying and the course achieved its objectives. The majority of participants indicated that from this course they gaind a lot of knowledge and skills for dealing with corporate goverance issues, developed skills for analysis and presentation, achieved computer and Internet literacy, and built a spirit of cooperation and a network of professional and personal contacts among themselves. Overall, 15 (44%) of the 34 participants were "very satisfied" with the course and 17 were "satisfied" with it.
There are rooms for improvement, of course. These are reflected in those recommendations from both participants and presenters. All these will be useful lessons and have significant implications for future MI courses in particular and courses on such theme/ topic elsewhere in general.
Mekong Connection 2003 May-Dec
Mekong Connection 2003 Jan-Apr
Sustainable Rural Development and Water Resource Management
Written by Mekong Institute
The Training Course "Sustainable Rural Development and Water Resource Management" was held at the Mekong Institute (MI) on the campus of Khon Kaen University , Khon Kaen, Thailand from 30 September-18 October 2002. The course was arranged by MI in conjuction with the Office of International Agriculture (OIA). Five participants attended from the Information Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (ICARD), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Vietnam.
Fifteen presenters working at various institutions in Thailand taught the three course modules. The thress modules were:
Module 1: Poverty Alleviation and Food Security
Module 2: Harness Market Information for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development
Module 3: Water Resource Management
The Academic Director at MIworked closely with presenters to provide course continuity between modules for the participants. OIAwas responsible for presenters. MI provided further organisational and day to day support for the particiapants and presenters and prepared this course evaluaton report.
The achievement of course objectives was assessed through feedback from participants mainly by using a participant questionnaire and discussion interview. THe participants' objectives for the course appeared to be very well achieved.
The participant questionnaires indicated a high level of participant satisfaction with the course. The presenters overall ratings were good to excellent in assessments. All learning activities of the course rated very well. Learning activities included lectures, field trips, and Internet and library use.
Comments from group discussions and participant evaluations were positive. No specific recommendations were made. Overall, the course was considered to be very successful.
Managing Change in the GMS Economies
Written by Mekong Institute
Course B11 "Managing Change in the GMSEconomies" was held at the Mekong Institute on the campus of Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand from 22 April to 14 June 2002. There were 30 participants, five each from Cambodia, Yunnan Province of China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, and of the total number of participants 16 were women.
The modules and the module presenters were:
Market Economies and GMS Countries in Transition (Dr Steven Lim)
Regional/Internationa Trade and Negotiating Skills (Dr Anna Strutt)
Social and Environmental Impacts of Development (Dr Marilyn Waring and Dr Christopher Gan)
Managin Public Sector and Enterprise Reform (Dr Chrsitopher Gan and Dr Steven Lim)
In addition, there were four guest presenters and a further five people gave presentations during field-research visits associated with the course. The Honourable Mr Boonyarong Nilavongse, Governor of Khon Kaen Province gave an address titled " The Vision of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) and the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC)" at the closing ceremony.
The "Selection Issues" section on participants assessed compliance with the selection criteria with particular emphasis on meeting the gender and EL proficiency aims. These aims were achieved for Course B11. There was a good and equal distributon of gender among particpants and presenters of the course. English language profinciency among participants was very good to adequate. This course more fully achieved overall selection criteria compliance than many previous courses.
The overall responsibility for managing the course lay essentially with the Academic Director, the Course/ Research Manager and the course team. Mr John Askwith, Consultant, was mainly responsible for the B11 Curriculum Design Statement. The Academic Director co-ordinated closely with presenters towards providing course continuity between modules for the participants. The course team provided further organisational and day to day support for the participants and presenters and prepared this course evaluation report.
The achievement of course goals was largely assessed through participant questionnaires. The behavioural objectives of the modules were generally well achieved except for some relating to conceptual difficulties on social impacts of development in module 3. Achievements of specific goals for OELT are given by OELT provider reports and participant questionnaires for ELT. Achievements reported were good but the provider from Vietnam and participants from Cambodia indicated that further instructional resources from MI to their providers would enhace the outcomes. This may also apply to the other two OELT providers. The on-course ELT did assist the participants, however the quality of the ELTteaching was perceived to be disappointing considering the overall high quality and success of the course.
The specific learning outcomes of the course were concerned with meeing the learning needs of the participants. Response towards this end are given in the participants questionnaires. A high level of participant satisfaction with the course was indicated. The module presenters rated well to very well. The guest presentations were considered very useful and one of the four guest presenters received a high rating. All learning activities of the course were generally rated very well. These included group discussions, self-study, lectures, use of the sound laboratory and library, morning and country reports, vocabulary lists and time alocations gien to the activities. Ratings on field research visits and using the computer and Internaet however varied. An important factor for this was that two weeks of the course was conducted in Vientiane, Lao PDR where the Internet and general room facilities were of a lower standard compared to at MI.
Coherence with NZODA policies on Education and Training and on Gender and Development were taken into full account from the design to organising and conducting the course. The course was developed to meet the needs of relevant GMS country personnel. Presenters, as required in their contracts, integrated NZODA policies into the course material ofo the modules. Presenter reports also documented how gender and enviornmental issues were included in the modules taught. Action oriented and participatory teaching techniques were employed. Achievement of the aims was actively sought through the participant selection criteria and during the selection process.
Comparisons on outcomes and outputs between courses were made for OELT and MIcourses according to factors including country, gender, ELproficiency, age, employer and location status. Overall, on OELT courses Cambodia and Lao PDR have had lower female representations at 20% and 23% respectively. Yunnan (China) and Vietnam have had relatively higher female representations at 41% and 40% respectively. These are reflected by similar percentages for overall representations of women attending MIcourse.The B11 course had 53% women comprising 40% women from Yunnan (China), Lao PDR and Myanmar, 60% from Cambodia and Vietnam, and 80% from Thailand. This shows stronger equal gender participation than overall course averages.
Participants of course have generally been between the ages of 30 to 45 years. In this age category the gender balance has generally been good. For participants more than 45 years the gender balance favours men. For the B11 course generally middle to senior participants attended except for Cambodia and Yunnan (China) where representations were made by junior and middle aged participants.
Further evaluation results for the B11 course, Oelt and on-course ELTare presented in the report in addition to those directly supporting the points above. Additional information is avaliable from the module and ELT questionnaires, presenter reports, ELT and OELTreports, and country and women's group discussion reports.
Suggestons and recommendations have been made in response to presenter and participant evaluation. Recommendatons for change arising fromCourse B11 are given at the front of the report. These are accompanied by a description of appropriate action for each recommendation. Recommendations from previous courses and how these have been implemented have been reported at the back of this report.