Written by Mekong Institute

This report presents an evaluation of the learning program “Income Generation and Poverty Reduction for Development” conducted at Mekong Institute (MI), Khon Kaen, Thailand from 24 July-11 August 2007. The course was jointly funded by Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) and Colombo Plan Secretariat.

A total of 18 participants from 12 developing countries of Asia, Africa and South America attended the course, with women’s participation accounting over one-third. The participants held a mixture of middle-level to senior-level positions at a wide array of the government ministries and departments, and universities.

“Income Generation and Poverty Reduction for Development” was a three-week intensive learning program. The program was aimed at assisting participants in the analyzing poverty, understanding various poverty reduction strategies, and monitoring and evaluation of poverty reduction interventions in diverse socio-economic and environmental contexts. The course provided the participants with an opportunity to share experiences and ideas to build confidence n understanding and addressing the issue of poverty. The course was also successful in fostering an important network among professionals from different countries.

The course activities included presentations by facilitators, class discussions, group works/ assignments, case studies, study visits to ” Sufficiency Economy Village” and “Population and Development Association” in Mahasarakham and Khon Kaen provinces, respectively. Besides, excursions to various parts of North-east Thailand and a variety of social and recreational activities were organized at weekends.

All learning activities, classroom sessions as well as field trips, were rated high in terms of contents and organization of the course by most of the participants. They were also appreciative of the resource persons not only for the course content but also for their ability to explain difficult content in clear and simple terms. Most of the participants indicated that 2-days time for field trip was rather inadequate and they suggested including more field trips in future. On the whole, all participants expressed their satisfaction with the MI facilities and support services, remarking MI facilities as efficient and well-run with dedicated and friendly staff. This report also contains recommendations drawn from the participants’ feedback and MI staffs’ assessment. These recommendations provide basis for future revision of the course organization and content.

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