Fostering Public Space Accessibility through Innovative Public Consultations and Tangible Improvements in Chin State

  • MyanmarCountry
  • Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI)Donor
  • ENGLanguage
  • social involvementPublic spacecapacity buildingTopics

The Applicant/ Leader (in English)

Agency for Basic Community Development (ABC) 

Background of the applicant

Agency for Basic Community Development (ABC), established in 2009 under the patronage of Cardinal Charles Bo, the Archbishop of Yangon is a Catholic NGO with proven experience of capacity building, community development, CSO networking, etc.; more than 15 projects.

ABC had implemented Child Protection and WASH projects in Nargis-hit delta area, CSO capacity development in Thai-Burma border of Karen State and Upper Sagaing region, Social Business in Yangon, and CSO capacity building in nine townships of Chin State.

ABC is a member of Myanmar NGO Network (Yangon), DRR-Working Group (Yangon) and Kalay Pax Network (Kalay).

Our annual budget is between USD 100,000 – 150,000.

Our funding partners are Confrenza Episcopale Italiana (Italy), Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities, Inc. (USA), Archdiocese of Yangon (Myanmar), United Nations Democracy Fund (USA), Partners Asia (UK), Small Grants Program US Embassy (Myanmar), Development Cooperation Agency of Katholische Jungschar (Austria) and The Papal Foundation (USA).

Apart from the funding partners, other source of income comes from our fundraising activities, donation box, Ethno-Fair Chin ethnic textiles (social business) and membership fees.

ABC’s UNDEF-funded project implementing partners are Development Policy Foundation (Poland) and Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation (Estonia).    

 Our local activities partners include Equality Myanmar (Yangon), Capacity Building Initiative (Yangon), CSR Program-RedLink (Yangon), 28 CSOs in Kalay-Kabaw area, and 26 Chin CSOs from nine townships of Chin State.

Applicant's legal status & registration data

 ?            Local non-governmental, community and not-for-profit organizations,

Registration & postal address

166/4 Youth Center, Sanmyo Ward, Tahan Post Office, Kalay 02091, Myanmar.

Applicant's email & phone

+ 95-9-493 410 80 / + 95-9-262 703 468 

abcmm.org@gmail.com / maungburma@gmail.com  

Applicant's website/s or facebook

Contact Person for this Project

Contact person:   Maung John

Title/function:              Director

Address:                          166/4 Youth Center, Sanmyo Ward, Tahan Post Office, Kalay 02091, Myanmar.

Phone:                              + 95-9-493 410 80 / + 95-9-262 703 468

Fax:                                    __________________________________

E-mail:                             abcmm.org@gmail.com / maungburma@gmail.com

Organisation website (if any): www.abcmm.org

Project Summary

The purpose of the project is to promote an inclusive and accountable functioning model of public consultations on local development issues, with the main objective to bring up public space accessibility problems to the local development agenda and to pilot several small investments to improve the accessibility of public spaces, in particular for the elderly, mothers with little children, and people with disabilities (PWDs).

Background Outline & Justification

Chin State, the least developed area in Myanmar, is increasingly challenged by rising poverty, marginalization, mega migration, and inter-ethnic fragmentation. The territorial community of Thantlang is located 24 miles away from Hakha Township. Thantlang is the native town of Henry Van Thio, the second vice president of Myanmar. The overall population of the agglomeration is above 50374 people, including 162 disabled persons, according Chin Disabled Organization (CDO). Currently, there are two high schools in that area. There is no any territorial centre in charge of single disabled people. These data show that the number of people with limited mobility or those whose access can be physically impeded by current rural infrastructure reaches at least 7000.

Thantlang has, in principle, good development prospects given the road construction plan of the new government, and the development program within the framework of the decentralization reform. However, in order to foster inclusive and accountable governance genuinely involving community members, tangible examples of community participation and empowerment should be established at this good moment when the paradigm of budget management is changing towards less centralized, close-to-community models. In addition, the issue of public space accessibility and improvement is one of those that are able to mobilize a wide range of resident groups and individuals (families with children, disabled and their families, seniors, eco-activists, youth, etc.).

The project will be implemented in two high schools of the government and a resort which is owned by a group of the disabled group in Thantlang downtown. One more charrette will be conducted in Kalay where more than 50 per cent of Chin people inhabit. The specific area is Youth Center, Kalay where Chin people and different Chin civil society organizations (CSOs), private sector and political actors from different townships of Chin State interact, coordinate and network. The primary beneficiaries of this charrette in Kalay are the active local CSO actors who will disseminate, multiply our charrette model in their project sites/communities.  

Project location

Location of Proposed Project: Thantlang Township

City/village: ______________________________

District: _________________________________

State:               Chin State

Country:        Myanmar

Project Start & End Date:

The project will be implemented over seven (7) months    

Amount Requested, state the currency

­­60300 CAD 

Target groups & final beneficiaries:

The total number of beneficiaries of the small tangible infrastructure investments is evaluated at least up to 500 people, including the groups with limited mobility, i.e. mothers with small children, seniors, PWDs, but also other local population using public spaces, especially children and youth. The share of women/girls is estimated as 60-65%.

In addition, at least 20 staff of local government bodies, NGOs, students, activists will acquire new knowledge and skills within the workshops. The total number of charrette participants is planned as high as 200-300 persons.

As one of the target groups of the project are mothers with small children, on one hand, and statistically there are more women in Chin, on the other, the project will certainly have a primary positive impact on women. The project will be implemented in two high schools (Thantlang) and one youth center (Kalay) and it will have the differential impact on school children of boys and girls. 

On the other hand, special efforts will be made in order to involve women into other activities of the project, especially linked to decision-making, in order to push for their more active participation, ensuring relevance of adopted decisions to their needs and, in the long run, fostering their further empowerment in local governance in the context of decentralization reforms.

Overall objective or goal

The purpose of the project is to promote an inclusive and accountable functioning model of public consultations on local development issues, with the main objective to bring up public space accessibility problems to the local development agenda and to pilot several small investments to improve the accessibility of public spaces, in particular for the elderly, mothers with little children, and people with disabilities (PWDs).

Description of the activities

Within the project, it is planned to:

Create and maintain a special section on accessibility issues on the public consultation model that will shortly be set up for wider consultation purposes in Chin State.

Make an audit and integrate accessibility tools/assistive technologies, e.g. for people with visual impairment, into older information/consultation/public relation instruments used in the community (relevant information for local authorities, communal services, NGOs and associations, etc.).  

Gather and analyse the alerts concerning accessibility issues in Chin State, submitted by local disabled persons to public consultation social media (FB group and page, and website, etc).

Carry out 3 open charrette-type consultation with involvement of local stakeholders (primarily potential end users, but also other members of community, local businesses, authorities and third sector) and young architects/engineers who can suggest easy modern public space solutions incorporating suggestions of various stakeholders.

Implement 3 small investments improving public space accessibility (depending on the required cost of each investment) three in Chin State and one in Kalay, Sagaing region.

Organize a widely publicised Public Space Accessibility Day in Chin State to both raise the problems of accessibility, and attract the attention of citizens, regional and national media to easy affordable modern solutions of accessibility issues.

Carry out at least 2 open architectural/engineering/civic activity workshops for students/young professionals/volunteers on public space improvement, local urban space activism and accessibility issues.

Organize a closing conference/press-conference to sum up the results of the project and ensure wide media coverage and promotion of the results.

Outputs or immediate project products or results:

The immediate and more long-term results directly attributable to the project will include:

A functioning instrument of public consultation and accumulated practical experience of using this instrument by the local community;

Tangible changes of the local public space allowing better accessibility for groups whose mobility were previously limited by public space infrastructure;

Improved public awareness of accessibility issues, but more importantly of possible easy solutions and their impact on the quality of life; and

A pool of activists and professionals who will further work on improving public space and its accessibility for diverse groups in Burmese/Chin communities.

It is also expected that the improvement of accessibility (depending on the type of improvements that will be chosen by residents) may positively impact on security (for instance, adaptation of road crossing for strollers and wheel chairs may improve the safety of pedestrians in general), social awareness and cohesion (public spaces become meeting/mixing points for diverse groups who learn to accept and interact with each other; this is all the more important given the number of PWDs, the elderly, school children who need to be integrated into the local community).

The project in general will further promote inclusive and accountable decision-making (people get experience of advocating for their needs and obtaining tangible results) and volunteerism (activists get to know each other and learn how to reach their joint objectives). Accessibility issues will be integrated into the agenda of the local community/authorities, and the voice of disabled/impaired people will become better heard thanks to the incorporation of assistive technologies.

Outcomes or long-term results of the project:

The immediate and more long-term results directly attributable to the project will include:

A functioning instrument of public consultation and accumulated practical experience of using this instrument by the local community;

Tangible changes of the local public space allowing better accessibility for groups whose mobility were previously limited by public space infrastructure;

Improved public awareness of accessibility issues, but more importantly of possible easy solutions and their impact on the quality of life; and

A pool of activists and professionals who will further work on improving public space and its accessibility for diverse groups in Burmese/Chin communities.

It is also expected that the improvement of accessibility (depending on the type of improvements that will be chosen by residents) may positively impact on security (for instance, adaptation of road crossing for strollers and wheel chairs may improve the safety of pedestrians in general), social awareness and cohesion (public spaces become meeting/mixing points for diverse groups who learn to accept and interact with each other; this is all the more important given the number of PWDs, the elderly, school children who need to be integrated into the local community).

The project in general will further promote inclusive and accountable decision-making (people get experience of advocating for their needs and obtaining tangible results) and volunteerism (activists get to know each other and learn how to reach their joint objectives). Accessibility issues will be integrated into the agenda of the local community/authorities, and the voice of disabled/impaired people will become better heard thanks to the incorporation of assistive technologies.

Project Management: roles responsibilities of the applicant and the partner/s:

Ø  Maung John, responsible for the overall coordination of the project on behalf of ABC

Ø  Cin Khen Pau, responsible for local coordination of project implementation, moderator of events

Ø  Thawng Hnin, leader of CDO,  co-moderator of events and M&E person

Ø  Thian Za Ben, team leader and in charge of financial matter

Ø  Sui Hniang, expert in charge of public communication and event organization

Ø  Lech Siedelnik, Polish expert in charge of website management/administration, assistive technologies

Ø  Wojtek Szpochynski, Polish expert in charge of charrette consultations

Risks & risk-mitigation measures

The risks are mainly related to the overall climate change problem. Chin State was severely hit by the seasonal typhoon last year. Mudslide and landslide could happen again in 2016. Bad weather can prevent us to implement the project as scheduled.  However, focusing on people with limited mobility whose needs will not disappear in any case, means that the relevance of the project will not be affected.

Other risks are the financial fluctuations linked to unstable Burmese currency and the macro-economic situation in general. Possible problems in this regard will be resolved by reviewing and reducing the planned activities (i.e. selecting less investments to implement, organizing less events and therefore reaching less people) but remaining well focused on the results and implementing the whole chain “consultations -tangible investment-promotion” to reach the main objective.

Still, certain risks exist at the local level, such as misunderstanding from those who would consider that other issues should be prioritized. The risk will be alleviated through maximum information and explanation, involvement and reflection of all interests in the discussion, and finding compromises. Possible opponents may even become enthusiastic supporters when they see a wider effect of the public space improvement: as the adjacent area is becoming more and more attractive as a vacation destination in summer, improved accessibility and friendly public spaces may have a positive impact on medium and small local businesses and private housing providers, who will in their turn further improve public spaces.

The project will also be implemented in close coordination with local government’s units in charge of urban planning and communal services, in order to avoid any potential risks/conflicts in terms of authorizations, construction/repairs activities, ownership of created pieces of infrastructure, and so on.

Cross-cutting issues & project & added-value & gender & environmental & PWDs & innovation employed

All potential public space improvement will be adapted with account of the best world practices, green approach and environmental friendliness. These may include, for example,   effective use of vegetation, modern and/or local materials to reduce the carbon footprint, etc.

Certain improvements of accessibility (e.g. adapted road-crossings), if decided by the community, will be done with local materials. In addition, better-quality public spaces tend to stimulate further cleaning/improvement of the areas around, including green spaces, trees,   thus multiplying the positive environmental impact.

Budget

1.           Summary Project Budget: ­­60300 CAD

Show the proposed budget by type of activity and who would contribute to each activity. A sample format follows:


(Type of activity)

(Contribution by :)

Canada

Recipient(s)

Others*

Total

Services

18000

3000 (ABC)

300 (Private: conference hall)

21300

Training

16000

3000 (ABC)

19000

Equipment

1000 (ABC)

1000

Construction

10500

3000 (ABC)

13500

Administration expenses

4500

1000 (ABC)

5500

Others (specify)

Total

49000

11000

300

60300

                                   

* Specify source of, and reason for, other contributions.

2.           Resources requested from the Canada Fund:

Specify the exact nature of the assistance requested from the Canada Fund: type/kind of services, equipment, products or construction, etc.

Type of services: IT services / preparation of the PWD e-tools (consultancy tool, adaptation of web for people with special needs, preparation of the free of charge tools to be applicated on other webs); translation; analyses of the specific needs in Myanmar. Rent of premises.

Trainings: 3 x charrette + and 2 architectural workshops (2 international travels + 4 local travels + accommodation and board of the experts (6 days) + remuneration of experts (2 people + translation). 4 lectures on 2 dissemination conferences. Press kit for the press conference. Catering for the events.

Construction: materials for interventions in the public space, projects of adaptation, installations, etc.

Administration: coordination of the project + accountancy (5 months).

3.           Community resources:

Specify the resources that are available from the community itself, other donors, and the government which have been committed to help finance/implement the proposed project.

Services: Rent of premises: the hall for conference + technical support / private institution + the applicant (ABC).

Trainings: Part of the trainings (local organizational costs, local transport) will be covered by the applicant.

Equipment: the IT equipment will be provided by the applicant.

Construction costs: the direct interventions into the public space will be supported by the voluntary work of the beneficiaries.

Administration: the purchase of materials and the office costs related to the project will be covered by the applicant.