UNDP Administrator visits community learning centre in Yangon; Says People Must be at Center of Development

Jun 6, 2013

Yangon – During Myanmar's transition, focus must remain on its people, said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark at a community learning center on the second day of her four day visit to that country.

"Myanmar is in a very important and very fast transition, and sometimes these transitions can be overwhelming because people are trying to do everything at once," said Helen Clark . "So our advice would be to try to sequence what is happening, work out what needs to be done in what order, and always keep a focus on people. How is this going to benefit people in the village and in the town? Is it going to result in jobs and better services?"

Community learning centres are local non-formal educational institutes providing opportunities for community development and improvement of lives of people. Helen Clark was visiting a community centre in Thanlyin Township in Yangon where services include sewing training, health counseling, library and mobile clinic.

"I think this center has done very important things such as raise awareness about important issues, like HIV and AIDS, training peer educators on sexual and reproductive health, education on more productive farming, and teaching young people vocational skills," said Helen Clark. "The next step has to be how to attract jobs to the area, how to get more support for agricultural productivity and to increase this dialogue between the community and the authorities."

A key element of the President U Thein Sein’s third wave of reform in the area of governance is to strengthen people centered development, to enhance participation and bottom up planning and prioritization.The Administrator said that with the approval of the fully-fledged country program in Myanmar, UNDP is supporting the emergence of a vibrant civil society and strengthening the capacities of citizens and civil society organization to better engage in local development.

The Community Learning Centre (CLC) component was first introduced in Myanmar in 1994 as part of the education project under the Human Development Initiative program of UNDP in Myanmar. To support positive changes in the political and socio-economic environment of Myanmar and to help empower local communities UNDP, UNFPA and UNESCO are jointly planning to upscale assistance through CLCs by combining their organizational strengths and experiences.

Before visiting the community learning centre in Thanlyin Ms. Clark met with the UNDP staff in Yangon. She is in Nay Pyi Taw on 6 and 7 June to co-chair the World Economic Forum on East Asia. In Nay Pyi Taw, UNDP Administrator will also meet with President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Alex Nyi Nyi Aung, Communications Analyst

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