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.

 

August updates: Sustaining savings mobilization momentum

IMG_4802Savings group leaders sharing information  during the consolidation meeting last August 28

The consolidation meeting held last August 28, 2015 showed an increasing trend in the amount of savings. Total savings amounted to US$21,182., a 46% increase from last month’s savings at US$14,500., even with only 79 savings groups present during the meeting.

The number of new savings groups formed slowed down due to the continuous monsoon rain that made most villages inaccessible and scheduled community meetings canceled. Five savings groups were added to the list of existing groups for the month, with no report of savings group dissolved during the same period.

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Leaders  interact with other groups and share experiences  in managing savings and lending activities

The consolidation meeting also was the opportunity to announce the start of demonstration activities for enterprise development. Fifteen villages will start with the demonstration activities of selected cash crops and non-agricultural enterprises. The demonstration will enable the Project to document and design loan products that will be financed by the cooperatives that will be registered in October 2015. A set of developed loan products will allow the cooperative to manage the risks related to financing rural economic activities.

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Gallery of  information on the status of savings groups

Technical staff from PF and CDA will conduct value chain analysis (VCA) of the agricultural commodities that will be identified for demonstration to determine the most efficient way of generating more income. This will complement the farm systems analysis conducted earlier to determine the

$14,500 pooled savings in 4 months

Village Mobilizers of the Project formed savings groups in April and by the end of the month of July, there were now 83 groups with a combined membership of 807 individuals. The groups were also able to mobilize 14,501,000. Kyats ($14,000.) or an average of 17,969. Kyats per member.

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Myo Myo Htun, PF National Technical Consultant, assisting leaders of savings groups during registration

The leaders shared details about their savings groups during the consolidation session held last July 24, 2015 at the Aung San Conference Center at Hlaing-bwe Township. It was attended by 120 leaders who braved the rainy day to attend the first meeting of all savings group from the 34 villages taking part in the Project.

IMG_20150724_112005Participants to the IGCT  session

Participation of the leaders were generated by asking them to write in cards and posting them in the walls of the conference center. Some of the leaders struggled in writing in cards but were excited to see information about how other groups are doing in their savings mobilization. For some leaders this is the first time for them to attend session using participatory process.

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Leaders of savings group preparing information of their groups for posting

Savings groups with the highest amount of savings were also recognized. The top five savings groups included the following:

Village                               Savings group                        Total savings
A Htet Yae Pu                  San Thit Aung                              800,000.MMK
Ma Ae                                Pan Khin Lan                               500,000. MMK
Kwat Myat Gyi                 Ywar Thar Aye                             480,000. MMK
Tar Baung Kone              Shwe Lin Yaung                           420,000. MMK
Win Sein                           Yie Man Chat Pang Taing          400,000.MMK

 

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Gallery walk: reviewing the performance of other groups

The leaders of the savings groups were also informed of the project component on the modeling of enterprises. Selected agricultural products and non-agri activities will be pilot tested in the villages to determine the feasibility of the enterprises. This will enable the cooperative to narrow-down the economic activities it will finance once it starts its lending operation.

????????????????Saw Hein Htet Win, PF National Technical Consultant discussing the problems identified in managing savings groups.

First year activities

First year activities were focused on preparations as the negotiations for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Cooperatives was on-going. Office set-up was completed together with the orientation sessions with the Ministry of Cooperatives, the Kayin State authorities the Hlaing-bwe township authorities and the 35 villages selected for the Project.

???????????????????????????????Project orientation with the Kayin State local government

orientvProject orientation with the heads of villages in Hlaing-bwe township

A series of training activities were conducted participated by the CDA, the Kayin Cooperative Office and the local unit of the Union of Cooperative Syndicates (UCS).

???????????????????????????????Training on Participatory Rapid Rural Appraisal (PRRA)

coop trngParticipants to the Cooperative formation training

Coordination with other development agencies and networks were also initiated. PF participated in seminars and fora organized by the Livelihood Trust Fund (LIFT), International Finance Corporation (IFC), UNDP Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and other Myanmar-based institutions. PF also hosted a meeting of the Microfinance Working Group (MFWG).

As part of the research activities, the Participatory Rapid Rural Appraisal (PRRA) of the Project areas were conducted and completed in January 2015. A value chain analysis on the rice industry in Hlaing-bwe was also completed with the assistance of the ESSEC Business School based in Singapore.

prraSocial research using PRRA tools at the village level.