Myanmar Co-Creation Workshop 2017

Following the fruitful co-creation workshops that happened in Singapore in mid-2016 to build Asia P3 Incubation Hub, a co-creation conversation was held in Myanmar on the 21st of June 2017 to facilitate a multi-sector discussion around WASH challenge. Hosted by World Vision Myanmar and co-facilitated by Christy Davis, Executive Director and Phearak Svay, Senior WASH and Partnership Advisor of Asia P3 Hub, the workshop succeeded through the participation of a total of 30 participants from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, including representatives from UN agencies.

The workshop is an excellent example of how Asia P3 Hub aims to promote combinatorial innovation through shared value. Asia P3 Hub is an open space for multi-sector collaboration that aims to bring together people from different sectors. The Hub, hosted by World Vision, facilitates partnerships between government, businesses, start-ups, NGO or academia to tackle the effects of poverty. The co-creation conversation hosted in Myanmar is one methodology based on the principles of shared value by which Asia P3 Hub makes sure that all parties are involved from the beginning of the partnership, allowing the different objectives to be aligned to meet specific goals. This approach of shared value provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to incorporate their resources and assets to facilitate the creation of new breakthrough solutions in a mutually beneficial manner.

To facilitate focused discussions the workshop was conducted with four key outcomes in mind. These included:

  1. a clear understanding of Asia P3 Hub and regional scope and priorities for non-traditional partnerships and new market-driven solutions for Myanmar;
  2. the establishment of new relationships;
  3. the exchange of perspectives leading to improved understanding of the different sectors, and;
  4. the discussion of prioritizing opportunities and next steps. A range of methodologies were used to reach the desired outcomes.

The initial focus of Asia P3 Hub, ‘water, sanitation and hygiene’, presented the basis of discussion between the multiple stakeholders. World Vision Myanmar’s representatives, Dr. Morgan Soe Win, Health Department Manager and Nyein Lwin, WASH Coordinator, presented the national WASH landscape and challenges. Participants were introduced to some of the major changes in the government’s approach one of which is a move from providing water supply and sanitation systems through time-bound projects for infrastructure, to operation of WASH as services without time limit. Included also is the national emphasis on operation, sustainability and recurrent cost financing of services that people want and can afford to pay for.

To promote understanding, World Vision Myanmar broke down the national WASH challenges by geographic region. Myanmar’s delta region is facing saline water intrusion and a lack of permanent latrines for example. Coastal regions on the other hand are often located three to five miles away from spring water sources and are thus forced to rely on other unreliable water sources such as hand dug wells that provide water with high salinity and low pH. WASH challenges in Myanmar’s dry region include water scarcity and water quality issues due to agricultural activities. Finally, communities located in hilly regions of Myanmar often face the challenge of prolonged water collection as fresh water sources are located relatively far away from villages among other things.

This series of challenges was used to initiate further discussions around WASH related problems that communities face in Myanmar. These were classified into categories such as health impacts, sanitation, hygiene, water access and water safety and cross-cutting issues. Key challenges identified were for example water access & scarcity, contaminated water, the prevalence of waterborne diseases among communities, the lack of latrine accessibility in schools, poor hygiene due to limited awareness and a lack of insurance schemes to cover and replace water supply and latrines when disasters strike.

The list of the challenges was consolidated into four key problem statements by the participating groups. These included:

  1. Children under 5 years old are dying from waterborne diseases in the dry zone due to lack of household latrines
  2. Poor sanitation at coastal and delta areas
  3. Households are using unsafe drinking water
  4. Low rainfall Myanmar dry zones means there’s poor quantity/quality of water, leading to high rates of waterborne disease

Each group brainstormed ideas in a unique fashion and simultaneously reflected on population affected, the benefits and importance of multi-sector collaboration, the clarity of statement and involved stakeholders in each problem.

Finally, each group discussed provisional next steps of action that could be implemented post-workshop. These included convening another workshop to propose project ideas building on the problem statements already developed, connecting back with colleagues and share learnings, holding more discussions across sectors and working through solutions using the business model canvas. In addition, some future WASH related solutions were suggested. These included for example raising awareness on water testing and household water treatment systems, promoting user friendly and affordable household water treatment systems and adopting community-led approaches to WASH.

Looking back, the four problem statements created by multi-sector participants proved an understanding of WASH related challenges in Myanmar by the diverse group of attendants such as local and multinational corporations, local businesses, government representatives, UN representatives and non-profit sector. This understanding builds a solid base for future series of workshops that will focus on developing solutions to these problems through a multi-sector collaboration approach to improve the livelihood of the children and their communities in Myanmar.

At this point Asia P3 Hub wishes to thank everyone for their active participation and contributions. A special thank you goes to World Vision Myanmar’s leadership and staff of the Health Department in particular for their assistance to make this workshop happen.

If you want to find out more about our Co-Creation Workshops, please email us at hello@asiap3hub.org.