Mekong Institute Publications is available on-line as well as in person. Please click on the topic from categories below you are interested in.
If you have questions or requests for information on a specific GMS country, please send an email to email@example.com
Capacity Building Workshop on Tourism in Greater Mekong Subregion using Open Education Resources
Written by Mekong Institute
The Greater Mekong Sub-region -Virtual University (GMS-VU) project was launched in 2001 by the Asia-Pacific Programme for Educational Innovation for Development (APEID) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Bangkok, with the assistance of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Institute Thammathirat Open University (STOU). The aim of the GMS-VU Project is to promote Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) tourism education via distance learning.
To pursue the aim, APEID held four-regional tourism Workshops:
-Expert Meeting for Formulation of Pilot Project for GMS Tourism Programme at a Distance and On-ine for GMS in January 2002 at Yunnan University (YNU), Kunming, PR China
-Task Force Workshop on Tourism Programme at a Distance and On-line for GMS in May 2002 at STOU, Bangkok, Thailand
-Workshop on GMS-VU Project on Tourism: Open Educational
-Resources in March 2006 at STOU
-Technical and Vocational Education Workshop on Tourism by Distance Mode in March 2007 at STOU.
A set of Open Education Resources (OER) was developed as a result of these workshops by theparticipating universities of National University (YNRTVU), Savan Institute of Management (SIM) and Hanoi Open University (HOU).
In order to introduce the OER to lecturers teaching tourism in Universities in the GMS, the MI hosted the "Capacity Building Workshop on Tourism using OER" on 17-21 March 2008, with the assistance of UNESCO Bangkok. Twenty-four tourism institutions, and Ministry of Hotels and Tourism attended the workshop. The authors of the various modules participated in the workshop as resource persons.
The workshop presentations covered five elective courses, as well as an overview on the core course, which deals with basic concepts on tourism. In addition, a team of delegates from Myanmar shared an overview of their domestic tourism-focused Human Resource Development (HRD) initiatives and shared how aspects of sustainability and /or spirit of Mekong are incorporated into the respective curriculum and courses. An evaluation of the feedback from individual questionnaires and classroom participation revealed that the participants found the workshop content useful and almost all were completely satisfied with the program.
The recommendations to be formulated by MI, in cooperation with the UNESCO Bangkok, emphasize four major areas:
a) Developing a "GMS Tourism" module
b) Strengthening collaboration among institutes and universities focused on teaching tourism through open education
c) Widening the use of GMS tourism resources
d) Promoting GMS as a single destination through open resources.
Working Session with MI National Focal Points
Written by Mekong Institute
The Mekong Institute (MI) organized a Working Session with the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) National Coordinating Agencies (CAs) on 4-5 March 2008 at MI's residential training center n Khon kaen, Thailand.
The Sessions's objective was to improve coordination and cooperation among the Institute and the CAs for the delivery of MI's Human Resource Development (HRD) programs and to disuss the mplementation arrangements and marketing strategy for MI activities.
MI had expectations of a greater role for the CAs, including connecting MI wth national agencies, acting as a focal point for MI activities and mobilizing resources from national governments and donors.
The CAs also had expectations, including to clarify their role and responsibilities and to initiate a CA's network. The CAs raised a number of issues they believed needed addressing, including ensuring adequate communications with MI, establishing clear Terms of Reference and receiving timely MI course information.
The CA's National Work Plans were discussed. These documents will provide a structure for active participation by the CAs in MI's work and programs. They will comprise a mutually agreed course preparation process, candidate selection process, participant information pack and timetable for course announcements and evaluation. MI expects te CAs to devise their National Work Plans in line with the MI program process.
The CA's national Work Plans were discussed. These documents will provide a structure for active participation by the CAs in MI's work and programs. They will comprise a mutually agreed course preparation process, candate selecton process, participant information pack and timetables for course announcements and evaluation. MI expects the CAs to devise their National Work Plans in line with the Mi program process.
There were a number of outcomes from the Session. All staff agreed to establish closer relationaships through improved coordination mechanisms. MI agreed that for the CAs to takea more active rold in its work, it would ned to provide timey and frequent informaton. The CAs agreed to help mobilize resources to support MI's continued sustainablility.
The CAs decided to meet annually, with the event rotated among the GMS countires, to further cooperation and coordnation.
On the subject of provincial participation, the CAs agreed to focus on providing more opportunities to rural people by extending courses and MI agreed to focus on the practical, rather than policy, level and participant experience.
Public Partcipation and Reconciliation
Written by Mekong Institute
With financial support from Thailand International Deveopment Cooperation Agency (TICA) and South East Asia Regonal Cooperaton in Human Development (SEARCH), the Mekong Institute (MI) and its partner agencies, Instiute for Dispute Resolution (KKU), and King Prajadhipok's on 24-28 September 2008 in MI. This workshop servd as a forum to exchange knowledge and ideas about peace in conflict resolution and management as well as to promote the ideas of public particpaton, public hearings, mediaton, and unanimty-building processes.
The five-day workshop sought to assess and draw lessons from indivudual country experiences in conflict prevention/management and peace building geared at developing policy recommendations towards durable peace and sustainable development for the region. It sought to identify the key issues related to pre-conflict, conflict, and post-conflict situations and deal with them within an integrated, holistic and analytical policy framework. The general objective of this activity is to enhance public paricipaton and reconciliation, promote sustainable peace and democracy, and develop skill on consensus building and negotiaton among the GMS countries and beyond.
The five-day workshop sought to assess and draw lessons from individual country experienes in conflict prevention/management and peace building geared at developing policy recommendaton towards durable peace and sustainable development for the region. It sought to identify the key issues related to pre-conflict, conflict, and post-conflict situations and deal with them within an integrated, holistic and analytical policy framework. The general objective of this activity is to enhance public participation and reconciliation, promote sustainable peace and democracy, and develop skill on consensus building and negotiation among the GMS countries and beyond.
The workshop started with a 2-day exposure trip to the Thai Parliament and study tour in Bangkok and was followed by a 3-day forum at Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen. During the forum, several learning methods were employed which include short participatory lectures, discussons, cases studies, practice exercises, site visit, and games. An evaluation of the five-day activity revealed that the participants found the worksip useful and majority was completely satisfied with the program.
The recommendations to be formulated by MI, in cooperation with KPI and IDR-KKU emphasize three major areas:
-Reorganizing a regional forum on "Public Particpation and Reconciliation" in 2009
-Strengthening collaboration among institues and universities foucused on conflict management and negotiation
-Specifying clear tasks and responsibilities among partner agencies
Seventeen participants from six ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand) attended the workshop. The delegates come from Ministry of National Assembly, Houses of Representatives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the office of the National Aseembly.
Training of Trainers to Enhance Facilitation Skills
Written by Mekong Institute
Overview of Course modules:
Module1: Setting the COntext and Exploring Group Limits
This module is essential for enabling free and open participaton at the start of the training program. This session helps trainers to prepare the groundwork,break the ice and give the overview of the training workshop, the topics and training methods to be used. This module has 5 sessons: getting to know each other, setting the context (contents and methodology), exploring expectations, developing group norms, introducing participatory training course monitoring evaluaton and benchmark facilitaton. The benchmark facilitation skill of each participant was recorded on video during the introductions so that later the participants can review their own performance and assess their pre-workship facilitation and presentation skills.
Module2: Participatory Approach in Training Program management
The concept of partcipaton in training course management is introduced in this module through learning games and guided planary discussons. Buzz groups wre formed for partcipants to brainstorm the "What Why Who How When of the concpet of partcipation in training program management. Each small group presentaed theri outputs throught "mini -guided tour". Participatory training is designed to be learner-centered rather than trainer-centered. At the end of the module participants were able to differentate traditional training methods from particpatory training methods.
Module3: Modular Training Cycle and Integrated Curriculum
This module illustrates the modular training approach (Learn to do, do to learn, and share to learn) and concepts of learning and integrated curriculum. Through guided plenary discussion using meta cards the Laws of Learning were discussed, namely law of readiness, exercise, effect and intensity.
Module4: Introduction to Planning a Training Course
Participantsare guided on planning participarotry training course programs. To introduce the concept of a training cycletwo cases for developing and planning a training coursewere anayzed by participants.For each case,the participants formed three sub-groups each to deliberate on planning the pre-training, during training and post training actvites that constitute the training cycle. Outputs per subgroup were presented in plenary. An example of how MI plans and prepares its training couses was presented. Participants learnnew concepts, methods and tools and go through real practical experience in applyng these principles and methods in MI training sessons. Participaroy learning goes along with te iterative implementation of the training cycle. Participants learn new concepts, methods and tools and go through real practical experience in applying these principles and methods in MI training sessions. Participatory learning goes along with the iterative implementation of the training cycle. Participants are given n active role in the design, redesign and decision-making in all stages of te training cycle.
Module5: Roles of a Facilitator and Required Competencies
This module focuses focuses on facilitation fundamentals and the amin roles of a facilitator: content neutral, process-guide and integrator of results. Guide questions about the likes, fears and meta cards and elaborated in a guided plenary discussion. This module included an analysis of personality types and a self-assessment of apotential facilitator. As a synthesis, the required core competencies of a facilitator which includes technical, methodological, socal and personal competence was presented in plenary.
Module 6: Facilitation methods and Tools
Ths module demonstrates the use of different interactive facilitation methods and supporting tools in delivering MI learning packages. The participants go through learning experience designing different kinds of intervention, using creative process, and utilizing appropriate floor exercise, the participants reviewed and listed the faclitation methods and tools which have been used so far during this training course. They also listed the facilitation methods and additional facilitation methods and tools they were interested to learn about. Exchange experiences and knowledge about each method and tool was encouraged among participants. The methods and tools were compared and differentiated by the participants.
Module7: Practicing Facilitation Skills
This module gives practical tips on the art of facilitation and making oral presentation. Participants' facilitaton skills were challenged through analysis of case scenarios. Each participant provided comments on how he or she would improve his/her presentation and facilitation skills in the future and through the remaining time of he training.
Module8: Strengthening Team Work
Participatory training courses are best implemented through a team of facilitators. The learning game, "elephant ride challenged the participants' creativity and team dynamics in order to overcome the task given to them. One participants contributed the idea of "rewarding" as an additional stage of team building. Further reflectons on strengthening team work were encouraged through photo anaysis and group discussion.
Moudule 9: Field Work Facilitation
This module focuses on practiciing how to plan and conduct a fieldwork and share their experiences and knowledge gained from the field work. Participants went through the process of planning before a field work vsit by identifying the objectives and expected outputs from the field work. They dreafed a list of guide questons to ask as well as the facilitaion methods they will use during the feld work. THe sites vsited matched the particular interest of the participants. THe Metology group visited the Norteastern arification Center, Bureau ofWeights and Measures while they group of te InWEnt alumni vsitied a village women's group that produced traditional mats woven from a locally grown plant. This women's group also produced and packaged herbs used for tradigional medicine and now fashinably used in spas. As a post among partcipants through an informaton market. A guided discussion to synthesize and reflect experiences gained from the feld work served as basis for improving field work facilitation skills.
Module 10: Integrating Skills and Way forward
This module foucses on the integraton of dfferent facilitation skills, knowledge and attitutes gained from the training and how these can be applied to their real work situation when they go back home. Whether as a country group, as organization group or individually, the participants first assessed the important lessons they learned from this training. As a next step, they assessed the training and capacity building needs of their organizaton. An action plan was then dreafted to determine how these needs can be addressed by applying the participatory methods and facilitation skils, planning and implementing skills they learned from te course. The final evaluation of the training was done using visualized training course evaluation. Resultes were jointly analyzed and reflected on by the participants, training facilitators and the organizers.
Training on Enhancing Facilitation Skills
Written by Mekong Institute
The course consists of 10 Modules, which covered fundamental of the facilitation skill and program management. In brief the content of each module was reviewed as follow,
Module1: Setting the context
This module is essential for enabling free and open participation right from the start of the traning program. This session help the trainer prepare the groundwork, break the ice and give overview of the trining workshop and adult learning principle. This module has 5 sessions: getting to know each other, setting the context (contents and methdology), exploring expectation, developing norms, and benchmark faciliaton. The benchmarking sesson were record in video, so that the participants can review their own performance and assess their preworkship facilitation and curriculum development skills.
Module 2: Strengthening Teamwork
Participatry training courses are best implemented through a team of facilitators. This module allowed participants to analyze the various elements necessary to strengthening a team of facilitators. A learning game challenged the participants' creativity and team dynamics in order to overcome the task given to them. Participants' reflected on te importance of team work on the performance of facilitaton team. Stages of te team building process were asked and revewed by guide questions. Additional reflections were encouraged through pohoto analysis and group discussion.
Module 3: Participatory approach in training program management
The concept of participatory approach in the training course management is introduced in this module through leaning games and guide plenary discussion. Participatory leaning goes along with the iterative implementation of the training cycle. Participants are given and active role in the design, redesign and decision-making in all stage of the training cycle. Participatory is design to be a learner-centered rather than trainer-centered. At the end of the module participants were able to differentiate tradtional training methods with participatory training methods.
Module 4: Modular training cycle and Integrate Program Management
This module illustratees the modular training approach (Learn to do, Do to learn and Share to learn) and futuristic alternatve concept of integrated curriculum. THe types of learning include cognitve, affective and pschomotor learning. This module includes sesson on : adult learning principle and basic elements of modular training prgram, integrated curriculum and Module Development Giudelines.
Module 5: Introducton to Planning a Training course
Participants guide on planning a participatory training course programs and designing workshops. Participants learn new concepts, methods and tolls and go through real practical experience in applyng these principles and methods in MI training sessions.
Module 6: Role of Faclitator and Request Competences
This module focuses on facilitation fundamentals and the main roles of a faclitator: content neutral, process guide and integrato of results. It further elaborated on the required core competencies of modern trainer/facilitator: this module has three sessons: Practicing being content neutral and process guide, rolds o fFacilitator, and required skills, knowledge and attitutde for Masterful Facilitator. Case scenaros to show te technical, methodological, social and personal challenges for a facilitator wre given. Small group were task to show through role play how they wil overcome such challenges.
Module 7: Facilitation tools kits
This module demonstrates he use of different interactive facilitation methods and supporting tools in delivering MI learning packages. The participant go through learning experience in designing different kinds of intervention, using creative process, and utlizing appropriate tools. Participants learned and practiced usng VIPP faciliation tools and techniques.
Module 8: Practicing Facilitation Skills
This module gives practical tips on the art of facilitation and making oral presentations. Participants' facilitation skills were challenged to analysis of case scenarios. Through role play, they present ideas on how they would handle such challenging situatons. Do's and Don'ts of facilitator were recognized. Vdeo of the participants which taken on the first day of the training course were presented to enourage self-reflection. Each participant provided comments on how he or she whould improve his/her presentation and facilitation skills.
Module 9: Field WOrk Facilitation
This module focuses on practicing how to plan and conduct a fielf work and share their experience and knowledge gained from the field work. An actual field visit to village's income generation activities, village allowed participants to interact with crop seasonal growers, participant were challenge to apply participatory methods and facilitaton skills learned in " inside classroom settings" into real life village situation. A guided discussion to synthesize and reflect experiences gained from the field work served as basis for improving faclitaton skills.
Module10: Integraton Skills and Way forward
This module focuses on the integraton of different sets of facilitaton skills and knowledge in work situaton such as workgroups, sectoral meeting, dialougues, and mult-stakeholder consultations. Participants go through exercise on how to manage different training scenarios, promote full participation, handle difficult group dynamics, foster inclusive solutions and ensure partcipatory and faclitation skills learned from the training to their future work at the Mekong Institute. The final evaluation of the training was done using participatory virtualization evaluation technique.
Round Table Meeting Proceedings
Written by Mekong Institute
Overview of MIRAC Round Table Meeting
Round Table Meeting Objectives/ Description of program agenda/ MIRAC Role in GMS research initatves 2
Community-based Tourism and Rubber Plantation in the GMS
GMS Border Trade Facilitations
Invited Paper Presentation on Trade Status and Border Trade Facilitation in the GMS
Foreign Direct Investment
Invited paper presentation on Foreign Direct Investment Opportunities/ Challenges and Trends in the GMS Countries
Synthesis of the first day meeting
SMEs Development and Management in the GMS
Labor Migraton Status in Garment Industry in Cambodia
MIRAC Reserch Paper Presentation
Potentials of Garment Sector Investment of Rural Area in Improving Socio-Economic Condtions of Migrants in kandal Province, Cambodia.
HIV/ AIDS Prevention and care in the GMS
Invited Paper Presentation on
HIV/ AIDS Status in the GMS: Special Focus on Yunnan, China
Invited Paper Presentation on
Supposing Conception of Developing the Upper Mekong Economic Copperation (UMC): A New Idea to the GMS Cooperation Systems
Synthesis of the round Table meeting
Regional Support To Address Social Impacts of Infrastructure Corridors
Written by Mekong Institute
The follow-up policy dialogue on GMS economic corridors intended to promote a better understanding of the progress and impacts of transport corridors and to develop understanding of the progress and impacts of transport corridors and to develop concrete action plans to advance comprehensive, inter-disciplinary policy regulatory reforms. The meeting was organized by teh Mekong Institute in Khon Kaen, Thailand on 14-16 June 2007.
Day One heard the presentations of research reports on the understanding and perceptions of local communities and institutions regarding the meetings and impacts of economic corridors. Day two discussed and prioritized the risks and social impacts of economic corridors. Day Two discussed and prioritized the risks and social impacts as well presented reports on social action policies and plans of selected GMS countries. The synthesis offered suggestions on research concepts and methodologies to generate sound solid data that wil instruct policy formulaton. Day Three examined national social action policies and implementation plans. Based on report presentations and discussions, the final synthesis raised issues of accountabilities and responsibilities for impact mitigation and refelctions on development accounting, the calculus of meanings and the calculus of pain.
Contested Meaning of Economic Corridors
Local people received the expansion of roads and highways but did not relate this to economic growth. Private business viewed the possibility of commercialization of local products but with did not see much of the trade exchange possibilities among GMS countries. Local institutions expected that economic corridors-related policies will continue to support their mandates.
Economic corridors brought some degree of economic opportunities for the local people and helped improve economic activities in the GMS countries. Social problems such as communicable diseases, prostitution, human trafficking, drugs and wildlife smuggling commonly occured as peoples crossed borders to engage n border trade and migrant work. The displacement and livelihood changes as well as degree of cultural permutations. Absent or weak land use policies caused land disputes and unregulated land values along the corridors.
Comprehensive and integrated strategic policies are neccessary to regulate the social problems that are emerging from economic corridors development, such as those on migration, border trade, health, awareness and skills development, land and livelihoods support, cultures and traditions. The types and degrees of impacts vary from country to country, requiring differentiated strategies to deal wth tensions occurring in several areas and levels. The range of impacts and the uneven capacities and resources of GMS governments necessitate the prioritizaton of impacts and risks to address.
Policy inputs can be put in a sharper context if equal impartance is placed on transparent and democratic development processes. Thus far, the locus of attention has mainly been on potentials and results.The timiing, breadth and depth of participation have to be considered. The levels of democratic space as well as the capacities of responsible parties and governments for leading a transparent and participatory planning process are vital. GMS governments and donors are challenged to review te entirety of planning and implementaton, wth due regard to the processes and the partcipation of local communities.
Knowledge stands at the base of policy and action. The diverse activities, comparaive advantages as well as socal vulnerabilities in these corrdors should be recognized in order to maximize the benefits from these corridors. Micro-level case studies representing macro-realities, such as those in border communities, should be able to stand scrutiny, immeidate and time-bound. These can be used to generate lessons and enhance learning exchanges.
Infrastructure projects comprise a hefty chunk in the economic corridors development budgets, loaned by national governemnts from development banks. Social mitigation has a very minimal share. Creating an enabling environment and research are not provided in the loan. GMS countries should share experiences to strenthen negotiation platforms with donors. Collaborative action and regional cooperation can lead to much improved, comprehensive and holistic policies.
Where do we go from here
Interest groups can manipulate meanings and perceptions on economic corrdors. Therefore, how do we encourage and appropriate alternatve meanings Change is inevitable but it has to be a well managed process, to the extent possible causing little or no adverse effects on anyone. Development practitioners, whether in the public sector or as part of civil society, must call for greater accountability from our governments and donors, be constantly alert and updated with emerging deelopments through research and learning exchanges, continuously critique and monitor and GMS corridors development planning and implementation processes.
Training on Facilitation Skill and Program Management
Written by Mekong Institute
The course consists of 10 modules, which were covered fundamentals of the facilitation skill and program management. In brief the content of each module was reviewed as follows:
Module 1: Setting the context
This module is essential for enabling free and open participation right from the start of the training program. This session helps trainers to prepare the groundwork, break the ice and give the overvew of the training workshop and adult learning principle. This module has 5 sessions: getting to know each other, setting the context (contents and methodology), exploring expectations, developing norms, and benchmark facilitaton. The benchmarking session were recorded in video so that the participants can review their own performance and assess their pre-workshop faclitaton and curriculum development skills.
Module 2: Participatory Approach in Training program Management
The concept of participation in training course management is introduced in this module through learning games and guided plenary disucussions. Participants are given an active role iin the design, redesign and decision-making in all stages of te training cycle. Participatory training is designed to be learn-centered rather than trainer-centered. At the end of the module participants were able to differentiate tradtional training methods with participatory training methods.
Module 3: Modular Training Cycle and Integrated Curriculum
This module illustrates the modular training approach (Learn to do, do to learn, and share to learn) and futuristic alternative concept of integrated curriculum. The types of learning include cognitive, affective and psychomotor learning. This modue includes sessions on: Adult learning principle and basis elements of modular training program, Integrated Curriculum and Module Development Guidelines
Module 4: Introduction to Planing a Training Course
Participants are guided on planning a participatory training course programs and designing workshops. Participants learn new concepts, methods and tools and go through real practcal experience n applying these principles and methods in MI training sessions.
Module 5: Roles of a Facilitator and Required Competencies
This module focuses on facilitation fundamentals and the main roles of a facilitator: content neutral, process guide and integrator of results. It further elaborates on the required core competencies of a modern trainer/facilitator: This module has three sessions: Practicing being content neutral and process guide, Roles of Facilitator, and required skills, knowledge and attitude for Masterful Facilitator. Case scenarios to show the technical, methodological, social and personal challenges for a facilitator were given. Small group were tasked to show through role play how they will overcome such challenges.
Module 6: Facilitation Tool kits
This module demonstrates the use of different interactive facilitation methods and supporting tools n delivering MI learning packages. The participants go through learning experience in designing different kinds of interventon, using creative process, and utilizing appropriate tools. Partcipants learned and praciticed using VIPP facilitation tools and techniques.
Module 7: Practicing Facilitation Skills
This module gives practical tips on the airt of facilitation and making oral presentations. Participants' facilitation skills were challenged through analysis of case scenarios. Through role play, they presented ideas on how they would handle such challenging situations. Do's and Don'ts of facilitation were recognized. Videos of partcipants taken on the first day of the training course were presented to encourage self-reflection. Each participant provided comments on how he or she would improve his/her presentation and facilitation skills.
Module 8: Field Work Facilitation
This module focuses on practicing how to plan and conduct a fieldwork and share their experiences and knowledge gained from the field work. An actual field visit to an organic farming village allowed participants to interact with organic vegetable growers. Participants were challenged how to apply participatory methods and facilitation skills learned in "inside classroom settings" into real lfe village situations. A guided duscussion to synthesize and reflect expeiences gained from the field work served as basis for improving facilitation skills.
Module 9: Strengthening Team Work
Participatory training courses are best implemented through a team of facilitators. This module allowed participants to analyze the various elements necessary to strengthen a team of facilitators. A learning game challenged te participants' creativety and team dynamics in order to overcome te task given to them. Particpants reflected on the importance of team work on the performance of a facilitation team. Stages of the team building process were reviewed. Additiona reflectons were encouraged through photo analysis and group discussion.
Module 10: Integrating Skills and Way forward
This module focuses on the integration of different sets of facilitation skills and knowledge in work situations sucas working groups, sectoral meetings, dialogues, and multi-stakeholder consultations. Participants go through exercise on how to mange different training scenarios, promote full participation, handle difficult group dynamics, foster inclusive solutions and ensure participatory decision-making. Participants prepare an action plan and apply participatory methods and facilitation skills learned from the training to their future work at the Mekong Institute. The final evaluation of the training was doen using InWEnt standard end-of-workshop evaluatin forms and techniques.
MI Stakeholder Consultative Meeting: A Major Step beyong the Hanoi Plan of Action
Written by Mekong Institute
The Mekong Institute (MI) organized a Stakeholder Consulative Meeting to report to the Institute's stakeholders on the progress of MI activities toward its strategic plan and seek inputs and recommendation on its 2007-2010 Business Plan .The meeting was held on July 18, 2007 at the MI Residential Training Center, Khon Kaen, Thailand. Forty-nine representatives of MI stakeholders participated in the meeting. They represented government agencies, development partners, training and research institutions and NGOs operating in the six GMS countries.
Outcomes of the meeting can be summarized as follow:
For long-term Financial Sustainablility:
1. With the granting of ntergovernmental status to MI by the Thai Governmet on July 17, 2007, MI should maximize this competitive advantage by marketing itself as a regional training and development organization owned by all six GMS countries. This can b done by focusing its expertise on addressing transnational/sub-regional issues; establishing niche and developing unique selling point with very focus programs, developing integrated relationship and working with other national and regional development and training institutions to provide learning courses, action researchses and policy advices to national and regional GMS related institutions.
2. GMS ownership of MI is critical to the long-term sustainability of the Institution. This can be demonstrated by more active involvement of GMS governments in developing MI program direction and by making financial contrbutions to te MI Operation Expenses Budget (OEB).
3. MI Secretariat should work in close coordination with the National Coordnating Agents in assessing current and anticipated training needs, marketing its programs and services and forging alliances with development projecs in the member countries. Clear communication and marketing stretegy is needed to be in place.
4. MI should develop a long-term strategy (5-10 years) with the involvement of GMS governments and deveopment partners. This strategy should include the financial mobilization plan. MI donor base should be more diversified.
5. MI must concentrate firstly on building up its internal capacity by increasing its human resouce capability, developing high quality and relevant HRD programs and creating its presence in other five GMS countries.
For Operationalizing MI Strategic Plan:
1. The four thematic areas proposed in the MI Business Plan received strong support from the meeting. Specific recommended topics under each thematic areas are:
a. Public Sector Reform and Good Governance( Leadership in Public Service Reform, Leadership in Competitive Enterprise, Donor Assistance Coordnation and Aid Effectiveness)
b. Project Management & Development (Regional Project Mangement, Project Monitoring and Evaluation, Policy-making Process on Poverty Reduction)
c. Trade Facilitation (Capacity building of Private Sector on SME Cluster Development and Export Consortia, Trade and Investment Facilitation, Trade Negotiation)
d. Effective Regional Cooperaton (Conflict Mangement for Effective Regional Cooperation, Policy Formulation Program with development issues)
2. In developing and delivering the above core products, MI has to package or repackage its learning courses into different forms like short-term seminar, workshop, working session, policy dialogues and practical training workshop. MI has to expand its services beyong the Khon Kaen residential training center. Some of the program can better be done in country or in a structureed learning visit scheme.
3. Co-organizing courses or workshops with other partners in the GMS is the another marketing strategy. Potential implementing parners include Asin Disaster preparedness Center (ADPC), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs, International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD), National Chambers of Commerce, different national universities and HRD units of national GMS related agencies.
4. MI has to proactively work with its current and potential development partners. In this way, MI should establish close relationship wth Asan Development Bank (ADb), Mekong River Commission (MRC), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), ASEAN Secretariat, nernational Trade Center (ITC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)m World Bank, Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID), European Union (EU), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Technische Zusammenarbeit GMbH (GTZ) and Canadian international Development Agency (CIDA). For example, MI should work with the World Bank's Project on Good Governance at the Ministry of Interior of Camboda to have the World Bank co-finance in MI Public Sector Reform Course. MI should make it learning programs available at "Donor Coordnation" meetings in Cambodia, Lao and Vietnam. Aid Effectiveness and donor coordnation should be included in MI HRD programs.
The meeting agreed that the most valuable and strongest competency of MI was its avowed focus on the GMS. It included that the MI had to access officials and organizations throughout the GMS, its access to alumni and to coordinating agencies. Since this has been identified as the biggest core competency, it needs to be fully exploited and emphasized in such a way that its value is apparent. The focus of MI has to be clearly artculated to starkeholders and intended stakeholders and the value of regional training needs to be clearly understood by the stakeholders. The way in which regional training interlocks with in-country programs also needs to be defined.
The benefits of regionally focused training versus training carried out by regional institutions need sto be the key point of differentiaton to separated MI from other providers.