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What can we learn from how an Adaptive Management programme has navigated Myanmar’s current chaos?

September 19, 2023
I accompanied a project in Myanmar that ran from August 2017 to October 2021 implemented by DT Global. This blog is written together with guest bloggers Jane Lonsdale and Kelly Robertson. As part of the programme’s final output, we wrote a ‘reflection paper’, discussing what ended up as being an important natural experiment in Adaptive Management (AM), as a governance
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Weathering the storm: Defending Institutions in Post-Coup Myanmar

August 11, 2021
Guest post by Will Paxton, International Director at Kivu  The 1st of September marks seven months since Myanmar’s military coup.  In that time over 700 Myanmar people have been killed in brutal military crackdowns, the economy has been ravaged, and conflict has rumbled on.  Uncertainty defines Myanmar’s future. The military government appears to have consolidated power, but economic, political, Covid,

Adaptive Management in Myanmar – draft paper on Pyoe Pin for your comments

April 7, 2018
Ok, FP2P hivemind, I want your comments on a draft paper about an iconic Adaptive Management programme, Pyoe Pin in Myanmar. My co-author is Angela Christie. The paper is for the Action for Empowerment and Accountability Research Programme. Here’s the exec sum, and you can download the whole 20-page paper here.  This paper examines adaptive techniques in aid programming in

What did I learn in Myanmar about what Adaptive Programming actually looks like?

December 15, 2017
I’m still processing a fascinating week in Myanmar. No I wasn’t in Rakhine, in case you’re wondering (separate post on that may follow). Instead, along with aid programming guru Angela Christie, I was exploring what ‘adaptive management’ looks like on the ground, and how it compares to all the fine-sounding stuff repeated endlessly in aid seminars around the world. The

Why the disconnect between Aid and Buddhism in Myanmar?

December 8, 2017
Back from Myanmar today, and still processing an intense week of conversations. Here’s a first instalment. A week in, I was struck by the gulf between the aid bubble and the deep religiosity of people throughout the country. So I dashed off this vlog on a weekend visit to the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, in the heart of Yangon. In it

Looking at Adaptive Management in Myanmar – a quick video

December 1, 2017
I’m in Myanmar for a few days, taking a look at Pyoe Pin, a fascinating project often held up as a good example of Adaptive Management. Blogs to follow, but here’s a video preview

Local governance and resilience – what lasts after the project ends?

January 24, 2017
Jane Lonsdale reflects on the lessons from an ‘effectiveness review’ of a Myanmar project 18 months after it ended. For the nerds among you, an accompanying post on the nuts and bolts of the effectiveness review has just gone up on the ‘real geek’ blog We have just finished a review of Oxfam’s work in Myanmar’s central Dry Zone. This

Do we need to rethink Social Accountability? Thoughts from Myanmar

September 27, 2016
The main reason for my recent visit to Myanmar (apart from general nosiness) was to take part in a discussion on the role of social accountability (SA) in the rapidly opening, shifting politics of a country in transition from military rule. It got pretty interesting. The World Bank defines SA as ‘the extent and capability of citizens to hold the

How do you critique a project proposal? Learning from the Experts

September 21, 2016
A confession – I’m not a programme person. I’ve never run a country programme, or spent aid money (apart from squandering a couple of million quid of DFID’s during my short spell there). So I really enjoyed a recent workshop in Myanmar where a group of real programme people (and me) were asked to critique an imaginary (but not that imaginary) project

Is ‘fragile and conflict-affected state’ a useful way to describe Myanmar?

September 16, 2016
After spending ten days there earlier this month, I barely even understand the question any more. Nothing like reality for messing up your nice neat typologies, or in this case, complicating my efforts to finalise a paper with the catchy title of ‘theories of change for promoting empowerment and accountability in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS)’. That paper defines FCS

What I’m doing in Myanmar – first vlogged installment

September 5, 2016
Just spent 3 days in Kachin state in the North, trying to get a slightly better understanding of the nature of Myanmar’s conflicts, and implications for trying to improve governance and accountability. Fascinating, but I won’t write anything just yet, as we have a 3 day conference on that topic this week, so will wait a bit longer before blogging.

From Sweatshops to Switzerland, the women in Myanmar behind the billionaires’ fortunes

March 4, 2016
Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Global Campaigns reflects on a recent visit The young garment factory workers share a tiny room in a wooden shack, spotlessly clean, with pictures of Myanmar pop stars beside a photo of their parents back in the village. But there is no escaping the smell of the open drain outside. The three sisters and their