More than 200 township, district and state/region officials from a range of social sectors participated in two inception workshops in Magway and Loikaw on 20th and 26th May 2016, respectively.
Chief Minister of Magway, Aung Moe Nyo greets UNICEF Chief of Field Services, Rajen Kumar Sharma
The workshops, supported by UNICEF together with the regional government, represented the beginning of the development of Child-Focused Township Profiles, a data gathering and compilation process at the township level, aimed at developing an overview of all available evidence on issues faced by children.
“Decentralization has given to State and Region governments and Townships an important role in supporting bottom-up planning and implementing programmes for children”, said the Chief Minister of Magway, Aung Moe Nyo, in his opening remarks. “Through the Township Profiles, we can ensure that our Regional Development Plan meet the rights and the needs of the children of Magway, and at the same time data handling and analysis skills of our departmental staffs will be improved”.
Child-focused Township Profiles “compile key data on the situation of children in health, education, nutrition, water and sanitation, and importantly, child protection. The goal is to have one place where data on children is summarized from all the sectors – to help inform plans and budgets and projects that respond to the needs of these children”, affirmed Rajen Kumar Sharma, UNICEF Chief of Field Services.
In 2013, UNICEF conducted consultations with government counterparts from all state and region governments to better understand how to best support the government in its vision of people-centred development. One of the key findings was that local planning needs more evidence and data to be really needs-based and people-centred.
In response, UNICEF started supporting different state and region governments in developing Child-Focused Township Profiles. In 2014/15, UNICEF supported the Mon and Kachin State Governments to develop a first set Township Profiles. In fact, U Nyunt Sein, Planning Director from Kachin, attended the workshop in Kayah and contributed to the discussion by sharing lessons learned from developing the profiles in his State.
“As a new government, we need to improve data availability for a thoughtful analysis which will allow better planning of the development projects”, said U Maw Maw, Planning and Finance Minister of Kayah State. “Children are our future. I encourage UNICEF and the government departments as well as other development partners to work together for a good database of the children’s situation in Kayah State”.
Participants and facilitators in Loikaw (Kayah) gather around the Planning and Finance Minister, U Maw Maw (6th from the right, front row) after his opening remarks.
During the workshop, state-level and township officials worked by sector (Health & Nutrition; Education; Water, Hygiene and Sanitation; and Child Protection) and agreed on a list of indicators to use to compile the profiles. Data to be used for the profiles will be gathered from existing administrative systems (e.g. health management information system, Education sector data, etc.) in the course of the next four months, and will be submitted by October 2016 for verification and compilation.
In her concluding remarks, Khaing Khaing Shwe, Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Mandalay, reminded participants that “Accuracy of the data collected, as well as leadership and commitment to the process, will be key for the successful development of the Township Profiles”. Khin Moe Aye, Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Taunggy, concluded by saying that “Township profile data could serve as a baseline and be useful for measuring impact of a project on the children. After the data collection and the first draft, all stakeholders will meet again and identify the priority needs of children in the region”.