Focus on the improvement of members

img_9170Participants role-playing the conduct of Cooperative Membership Education Seminar (CMES)

Twenty-seven participants attended the Training Course on Cooperative Membership Development Course conducted on September 21-23, 2016 at the Mibamyita Hotel. The course is the last in the series of Cooperative Formation Courses (CFC) designed to equip leaders and the staffs of the cooperative on the basic knowledge and skills of cooperative operations. The course is aimed at developing information and education materials that can be used to provide continuous cooperative education to its members. One of the expected outputs is the formulation of a Cooperative Membership Education Seminar (CMES).

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Resource Person Edwin Peraz  facilitating a session, assisted by NTC Myo Myo Htun

The CMES is the basic course given to applicants for membership. It contains topics on the general principles and practices of cooperatives, history of the cooperative movement, basic statistics on the status of the cooperative and the programs and services it is providing. The formulation of CMES is an essential part of the cooperative’s membership expansion program as new members from outside existing savings groups are now being accepted.

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Cooperative Audit Training conducted

The officers and management staff of  Bawa Yay Thauk Myint Cooperative participated in the  Training on Cooperative Audit organized and conducted by  Positive Planet last August 24-26 at the Mibamyita Hotel in Hpa-an. The training is part of the series of Cooperative Formation Courses (CFC) designed to strengthen the operations of cooperatives.

IMG_8888 Resource Person Olive de Guzman explaining cash audit methods

The audit training was designed  to enhance the skills of the members of the Audit Committee within the Board of Directors as the financial activities of the cooperative are building up. The cooperative released the first set of loans last July and the second batch was approved by the Board and waiting for release. The cooperative is also slated to start its savings mobilization program within the month of September.

 20160825_095657Participants doing cash count exercise

The training covered topics such as basic principles of audit, internal and external audit process and the people in the cooperative responsible for audit. The theoretical discussions were completed by workshops where members of the Audit Committee practiced doing cash count, review of loan documents and role-play in doing field validation.

 IMG_8917Role playing on field validation activities

Other participants included staff of the Community Development Association (CDA) and representatives from Pwint Pwint Lin Lin Coop in the adjacent sub-township of Paing Kyone.

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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.

 

At last, a financial service cooperative in Hlaing-bwe!

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Kayin Chief Minister leading the ribbon-cutting of the new office of the BYTM Cooperative

The sweltering heat did not prevented members of the Bawa Yay Thauk Myit Cooperative to attend the launching and ribbon cutting ceremonies held at the new office of the cooperative on May 12, 2016. Members lined-up to receive the stock certificates of the equity they contributed to the capital of the cooperative.

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Members receiving their stock certificates

U Lon Kyin, the chairperson of the cooperative emphasized in his speech participation of all the members will ensure success and sustainable services to the members. During the launching, new members paid their equity shares, while some members purchased additional shares evidence of their confidence in the capacity of the cooperative to manage funds.

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The Chief Minister addressing cooperative and savings groups leaders during the launching ceremony

The highlight of the ribbon-cutting ceremony was the participation of the new Kayin Chief Minister Daw Nan Khin Htwe Myint and top officials of the Kayin State government. The Chief Minister lauded the formation of the cooperative and its role in the development of Hlaing-bwe Township.

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Viewing collage of cooperative development photos 

 

The cooperative is continuing with the capacity-building activities with the hands-on mentoring with the staff and formal training for the members of the Board of Directors.

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Group picture for posterity

 

 

Department of Cooperatives (DOC) monitoring

 

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Dir. U Myo Aung conferring with PF and CDA

 

Director U Myo Aung, a senior officer of the Department of Cooperatives based in Nay Pyi Taw visited the Project office in Hpa-an and conferred with PF and CDA. The visit was part of the monitoring activities of the DOC with its partner institutions. Director U Myo Aung was accompanied by U Hsan Aung, Kayin State Cooperative Officer and U Lin Khaing, Chairperson of the Union of Cooperative Syndicates (UCS) in Hlaing-bwe Township.

 

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U Hsan Aung, Kayin State Cooperative Officer; Dir. U Myo Aung and wife; Dr. Than Naing, CDA Program Manager; Daw Myo Myo Htun, PF NTC for Cooperatives; and, U Lin Khaing, chairperson, Hlaing-bwe UCS

 

The new government decided to trim down the number of ministries resulting to the dissolution of the Ministry of Cooperatives and its departments merged with the Ministry of Commerce. The visit of the DOC officials and UCS representative was timely as the Project was preparing for the launching of the BYTM cooperative in May 11 and the holding of a national conference on June 2-3, 2016.