PlaNet Finance becomes POSITIVE PLANET

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Dear partners,

I would like to thank you for your participation at our recent mid-term conference on cooperative formation in Nay Pyi Taw. We have received quite a bit of positive feedback from the participants, and I would like to thank you for helping to make that possible.

As announced during the conference, the NGO PlaNet Finance has changed its name to Positive Planet.

When PlaNet Finance was founded in 1998, its mandate was to fight poverty through the development of microfinance. Over the last 20 years, financial inclusion has evolved considerably. From a series of small initiatives, it has become a large-scale movement offering both financial and non-financial services, improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Today, the challenge facing us is not so much in pursuing development for the sake of development, but to ensure its quality and long-term orientation. It must be fair, promote a healthy environment, make water and abundant sustainable energy readily available, ensure access to education and health for everyone, and procure housing for all.

When development achieves these objectives, it allows everyone, and particularly the poorest, to fulfil their potential for the benefit of future generations, which is the very definition of the positive economy.

In order to reflect the broader movement toward a “positive economy”, PlaNet Finance adopted the new name “Positive Planet”.

Positive Planet’s mission is to help men and women across the world create the conditions for a better life for future generations.

Our work in Myanmar, which seeks both to expand financial inclusion and contribute to a transformative change in the lives of our beneficiaries through farm and enterprise development, reflects the broader goals of Positive Planet. As such, the change in the organization’s name will not have any impact on the project’s goals, its implementation methodology, or its partnerships.

We look forward to continuing to work with you until the end of our project next February.

RON BEVACQUA, Project Director

 

Conference on Cooperative Formation a Success!

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The formation of Bawa Yay Thauk Myit Cooperative (BYTM) is one of the highlights of the Project.  It has been proven that the methodologies used in the formation are effective, and cooperatives can be formed through a bottoms-up approach. Another indicator of its success is the fact that the people in the villages indeed have savings and these savings can be mobilized given the right motivation and methods.

Part of the Project activities is knowledge sharing where results would be imparted to other institutions that would be benefitted by the results. In this context the Conference on Cooperative Formation for Sustainable Financial Inclusion was held last June 2-3 at the Thingaha Hotel, Nay Pyi Taw.

DSC_0084Director General U Aung Phyu of the Department of Cooperatives addressing the participants to the conference

The conference was attended by officers of the Department of Cooperatives headed by Director General U Aung Phyu. State and Division level Cooperative Officers attended and were joined by officers from the head office in Nay Pyi Taw.  The Kayin State Minister of Agriculture represented the Kayin State government. Officers and staff of the Community Development Association (CDA) and the members of the Board of Directors of BYTM Cooperative together with the staff also attended.

Among the donor agencies represented during the conference were the European Union Delegation (EU), the main funder of the Project; the Livelihood Trust Fund (LIFT); and the Deutsche Gesselschaft fur Internationale Zussamenarbeit (GIZ). Several international non-government organizations (INGOs) also participated in the conference to include Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Asian Confederation of Credit Union (ACCU) and Malteser International.

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Panel session speakers answering questions from the participants

Local NGOs included Phyu Sin Saydana Action Group (PSSAG), an NGO based in Hpa-an, Peace Winds Japan from Ayeyawardy Division and Pwint Pwint Lin Lin Cooperative from Paing Kyone sub-township.

Technical experts from PlaNet Finance presented the main topics, while CDA and the officers and staff of BYTM expressed themselves during panel sessions.  Discussions were focused on the effectiveness of savings mobilization, the cost of the formation process which is necessary to determine replication activities and the strengthening of the cooperative.

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Participants to the conference

TRAINING ON ADVANCED SAVINGS MOBILIZATION CONDUCTED

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The basic savings mobilization tool was used to motivate people to save and pool their savings in informal and small groups in the villages. Since the formation started in April 2015, more than a hundred savings groups were formed in the 33 villages covered by the Project, mobilizing almost $50,000 savings. Of the total savings, more than $10,000 were already transformed as share capital to the Bawa Yay Thauk Myit Cooperative (BYTM) .

With the launching of the BYTM Cooperative and its positioning as the financial intermediary in Hlaing-bwe Township, the capacity of the cooperative to be the depository of savings in the villages of the Township was enhanced. The Training on Member-Savings Operation (MSO) was conducted last May 25-27, 2016  to enable the cooperative to provide savings services where members can deposit and withdraw money during business hours.

The MSO is a system that makes the cooperative function like a bank. Members can deposit their money for safekeeping at the cooperative and withdraw whenever they need it. They  will not be bothered with their stash of cash hidden in their homes with the cooperative providing easy access to their money.

To enable the cooperative to handle the complexities of daily deposits and withdrawals, the topics covered the following: systems and procedures together with the forms to be used, the required accounting system, office lay-out and security, pricing of savings products, computing the average daily balance (ADB) which is the basis for imputing interest rate on savings, managing liquidity reserve and the funds inflow-outflow management (FIOM) to monitor the movement of cash.