Written by Mekong Institute  

The Mekong Institute was commissioned by the German Agency for International Development Cooperation (GIZ) to organize the Structured Learning Visit in Thailand on Regional Rural Development Planning. The programme aimed to expose the Lao Government Officials to the planning procedures in Thailand and equip them with knowledge and relevant ideas which can serve as inputs in the design of the guidelines in preparing the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan.  

The SLV programme focused on strategic planning and included topics under two broad categories:

  • Decentralised National Planning in Thailand: Structure, Processes and Participatory Approaches, and
  • Development Planning Framework: Spatial and Strategic Considerations.

Thirteen Government Officials from relevant departments of Ministry of Planning and Investment and the National Advisor of the GIZ participated in the training. There were seven participants from the Department of Planning, one from the Department of Evaluation, one from the Department of Statistics, and four from the Provincial Department of Planning and Investment. Two of the participants were female, while 12 participants were male.

Different M&E tools were employed during the program including T-account assessment, mood barometer, suggestion box, and final participatory evaluation. The evaluation results showed that the Structured Learning Visit was successful both in terms of program design and contents, and overall organisation and management. The expectations were achieved. However, some suggestions for improvement include better time allocation for relaxation and that the profile of field visits should be provided to the participants before the start of the program.

The participants also indicated further training needs on applying Geographic Information System (GIS) into plan development and implementation, project management and fund raising.

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