" As a change agent, my mission is to improve the overall performance of the local water utility"by Author
Are you familiar with the Young Expert Programme (YEP) in Myanmar? In Myanmar, there are currently (13) active international and local young players called YEPpers who are dedicated to work in the water and agrofood sector. I would like to introduce you to a YEPper every month and explore what they are doing, what is their mission, and how they are contributing in Myanmar's development. You too can become one of the YEPpers so please read further!!First, I would like to explain briefly what is the YEP programme. The Young Expert Programmes (YEP) are capacity building programmes for young professionals from the Netherlands and the countries which are eligible for grants from the Dutch Good Growth Fund. The YEP programmes enable Young Experts to take their first steps in an international environment. Each YEPper has his or her own assignment when joining the YEP programme, together with the project implemented by Dutch organization. Please check out the detailed information.
This month, I am talking with Pyae Phyo Kyaw who is working at Vitens Evides International (VEI) and supporting the Water and Sanitation Department at the local municipality – Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC).
In this interview series, I will share – (1) their individual project, (2) role in the local community, (3) what they are working to improve in their sectors, and (4) what knowledge they got from the YEP programmes.
WaterWorX and Pyae Phyo Kyaw
Pyae Phyo Kyaw has a role as a management trainee in the Water WorX Project at MCDC (executed by Vitens Evides International). He works with both experts from VEI and employees from MCDC.
Starting in 2014, VEI implemented two Water Operator Partnership Programmes in Mandalay to improve the capacity of the Water and Sanitation Department of MCDC and to provide support to deliver and expand adequate water services to consumers. Then, the collaboration was upgraded into 4-year long Mandalay's WaterWorX project (phase one until Dec 2021) . The project allows Dutch water experts to work together with professionals from MCDC.
Pyae Phyo Kyaw applies the knowledge gained from the YEP training in his project. "As a change agent, my mission is to develop the overall performance of the Water and Sanitation Department, Mandalay City Development Committee (local municipality)," he claimed his assignment.
He is currently working to provide technical support and facilitate the training to MCDC government staffs. He also directly supports Dutch experts working in WaterWorX (WWX) project and they are learning side by side, arranging stakeholder meetings and sharing and discussing the outcomes on a daily basis.
"We have a web portal called 'WaterWorX Community of Practices' which is active online, and from that website group, I can read their activities, challenges and solutions. It is like sharing and exchanging knowledge around the world," he explained.
"For example, when someone from the Philippines WaterWorX posted his challenges online in the website, everybody could learn from it and give suggestions to apply on these challenges pragmatically," he added.
Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC)
Developing the human capacity properly in long-term is vital and so local governmental staffs are given lectures by different international organizations to make advancement and sustain the growth in a right way. Therefore, local municipality like MCDC need to adopt international practices to be able to distribute clean drinking water to its customers.
In that case, Pyae is taking action by coordinating different trainings. He also makes sure that the trainees apply their newly learnt skills in their workplace to bring real changes within Water and Sanitation Department.
He is enthusiastic to explain his role as a young expert. By the way, he can elaborate quite well.
"For instance, my role is to coordinate through different training group, therefore I created different Viber groups (messaging app) to announce the local government staffs that there will be trainings on this topic, etc. If our WaterWorX team knows the similar training course supported by different organizations inside MCDC, we communicate and align the training course. So, it saves time and learners can receive effective lectures at the same time," he described this coordination's work clearly which is vital.
Since he has worked as a civil engineer in MCDC before joining VEI, he has already had a good connection in the institution. Therefore, it saves energy and time to build a relationship within the system. He also leads post-training activities assigned by the trainers such as collecting the assignments, clarifying the ambiguity of the lessons and most importantly, explaining the training courses with the practical concepts due to his past experience.When it comes to arranging the training courses for local governmental staffs, there are different trainings for each level such as management training, communication training for improving soft skills and practical and technical trainings which can indigenously apply in their careers.
Before joining the working place, the Young Experts take part in an intensive 2-week start training course focused on personal development and the start of their international career. Pyae attended the training courses in November, for example learning about project cycle management, Interpersonal skill development and conflict management, which can be used throughout their whole career.
"We can choose different types of master classes, and I selected stakeholder analysis. I apply this to create a stakeholder map when considering the water supply for 2,700 low-income households in Mandalay," he added.
After finishing the intensive 2-week in the Netherlands, the young expert shares their dedicated assignment and submit Personal Development Plan to their YEP coach.
Impact of his assignment and his role
The duration of Mandalay's WaterWorX project is from 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2021. Pyae's assignment to the YEP will end in 2020 as it is 2-year contract. "Within the 2-year period, I hope I can help to improve working efficiency of local municipality through multiple training programs - leadership, energy efficiency, water safety planning, water quality testing and sampling, tubewell and pump maintenance, asset management, data management, utility bench-marking, human resource management and pro-poor policy," he explained. "Even in this 5-month, I can see that the capacity of the government staffs is increasing significantly," he concluded.