Written by Mekong Institute  

The Mekong Institute conducted a ten-day learning program on “Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) for the Junior Riparian Professionals (JRPs)” for 12 JRPs from line agencies of National Mekong Committees of the four lower Mekong Countries one JRP from Myanmar, the dialogue member country and one newly recruited professional staff of MRC Navigation Programme. The program, which was carried out on 14 to 25 January 2013 aimed to provide the participants with knowledge and skills used in integrated water resources management in the context of Mekong cooperation and to learn some of the emerging issues and development initiatives in the Mekong basin.  

The learning program was designed and delivered using modular training approach wherein all participants went through three progressive stages: a) “Learn to do” – where participants are provided with the knowledge and tools to apply in their work; b) “Do to learn” – where participants can apply what they have learned in their assignments with proper coaching from resource persons; and c) “Share to learn” – where participants are given an opportunity to present their group works/findings and to share their learning experiences and lessons learned. To enhance the learning experience, a field visit to 4-Ps Basin Pilot Project1 in Kratie Province, Cambodia was organized to provide the participants a first-hand opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from the program.

The learning program comprised seven interrelated modules, namely, 1) Introduction to IWRM, 2) Mekong Water and Peoples, 3) Enabling Environment: Institutional Roles and National Regulatory Framework, 4) Management Tools: IWRM Planning, 5) Management Tools: Meaningful Engagement of Stakeholders in IWRM, 6) Management Tools: Using Indicators to Measure Progress and Performance, and 7) Other Development Initiatives in the Mekong Basin.

The key resource person who contributed to the design and delivery of the lectures throughout the learning program is Dr. Suchat Katima, Director of the Mekong Institute. Prior to the field visit of 4-Ps Basin Pilot Project in Kratie province, the participants were given the background information of the project by HE Watt Botkosal, Deputy Secretary General and National Coordinator for Basin Development Plan (BDP) and Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project (M-IWRMP).

The evaluations conducted throughout the program confirmed that the learning program was successful in attaining the training objectives and in meeting participants’ expectations. Most of the participants were satisfied with the program as shown in the average rating by participants on the attainment of objectives at 4.58 and the attainment of participants’ expectations at 4.54. Using a scale of 1 to 5, this indicated that participants found both objectives of the learning program and participants’ expectations were fully attained. Recommendations for training improvement include the following: to encourage the participation of China to participate the program to foster cooperation and greater collaboration among the countries in the Mekong basin, to allocate more time for practice in the field visits, to provide location map before commencing the field visit, to provide time to discuss with local people during the field
visits; and to provide translators during the field visits.  

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