ELSD Project (Enhancement of Local Service Delivery) implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had a series of training sessions for Development Planning Officers of Local Councils of Southern and Eastern Provinces from July to August, following up the meeting held at MLGRD, 14th July.

The interesting components of the ELSD Project are underlined by the cost-effectiveness of the peer-to-peer training style. With the technical assistance from managers of the Decentralization Secretariat (DecSec) of MLGRD, experienced staff Local Council trains other staff members of Local Councils, without external trainers.

July 28 at Bo District Council, the training session started with remarks from the Deputy Secretary of MLGRD. He urged Development Planning Officers (DPOS) of the Local Council to activities of the ELSD Project by emphasizing that the Minister and the Ministry have a great interest in operationalizing the Guideline as one of the Key Targets of Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023.

During the training, Ms. Halima Lukay, DPO of Bo City Council, explained the to ensure accountability and transparency in a development project selection process along with the District Development Plan (DDP) formulated from communities’ needs as a due process of day-to-day work by involving MDAs.

Further, he encouraged participants to establish project selection criteria consistent with DDP and Annual Work Plan, which should be used to identify a candidate project by scoring and prioritizing. Most participants agreed that up to now, Local Councils chose a development activity without selection criteria; thus, political needs were exceeded during the development project selection process.

The monitoring and Evaluation Manager of DecSec emphasized the effectiveness of project sites visiting at an early stage of a project selection process to reconfirm community needs and avoid mismatch.

This year, ELSD Project assists DPOs so that they can implement micro-size projects (Model Project with approx. 47,000 NLE for each Local Council in South and East Province) to oversee all the workflow of Local Council from project selection to post-project implementation as a training module for LC staff.

In December, it is planned that lessons learned from the experience of the Model Project will be shared among a wide range of concerned staff of the Local Council and Central Government.