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Training has an immediate impact in flood-hit Myanmar

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In early July 2015, RedR provided training in Project Cycle Management for Action Against Hunger (ACF) staff in two towns in Northern Rakhine State: Sittwe (the state capital) and Maungdaw.

It was the first international training to be held in Northern Rakhine State in 20 years of NGO presence there.

"Rakhine State has been facing a severe humanitarian crisis for the past couple of years," explains Stephen Blakemore, who conducted the training. "Violent intercommunal clashes in 2012 forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. Most of them belong to the Muslim Rohingya minority, described by the UN at the time as ‘the world’s most persecuted minority’. Three years on, an estimated 130,000 people are still displaced and living in camps, where conditions are appalling and access to essential services is extremely limited."

A significant step

RedR’s course was the first international training to be held in Northern Rakhine State in 20 years of NGO presence there. As such, it was a significant step. "We were responding to a very real need, and expectations among local aid workers were high," says Stephen. In total, 35 people (31 national staff and 4 international staff) attended the training.

Samir, Head of Mission with ACF - himself an Associate Trainer with RedR UK - oversees the teams whose members attended the training. Just a few weeks later, Myanmar experienced the worst flooding to hit the country in decades. Rakhine State was one of the worst-hit areas.

"We experienced massive floods and a cyclone, major disaster, emergency all over the place," Samir remembers. "I had to manage my team remotely as, like most senior managers, I was at the coordination office in Yangon when it [the flooding] happened. The national staff team had to launch relief distributions and prepare a project proposal by themselves."

Samir’s team had just 24 hours to produce a concept note. "They were able to use what they’d learnt during the training to draw up a logical framework in a high-pressure situation: and they managed to produce a high-quality document," he says. "For me, this is evidence that training can work and can even have an immediate impact. The logical framework they drew up became the basis of a proposal which secured us 500,000 euros from a major donor. So this more than justified the initial investment ACF had made in the training. For me, it’s all part of a logical chain of events."