Last week, April 1st, I visited our office in Yangon, Myanmar. We just went through some turbulent times with one partner in the MAGIC programme. This is a short story about surprising changes on a dime.
Due to unfortunate circumstances we could not continue our partnership with Hornbill Organization, the local NGO in Chin State. Previous experience in Tanintharyi Region proved a local partner is of key importance in the implementation of activities and contact with the local authorities. Without our partner Loka Ahlinn in Tanintharyi, we would not be able to implement MAGIC in the most southern Region of Myanmar. Therefore, the MAGIC Team Leader, Finance Director and an international expert prepared a visit to Chin State to explore if Chin State Government was willing to continue the programme, with – for the time being – no local partner. Exciting, because we thought this might be an issue.
Preparations were made and the team set off to Chin, which is almost a full day of travelling. While some of us expected continuation in Chin could have been hindered by the circumstances, nothing could be further from the truth! The Chin Municipal Affairs Minister had a clear strategy and vision and pointed out exactly where MAGIC could be of help. To underline their commitment the Memorandum of Understanding had to be signed. This came as a surprise. Until late the existing draft MoU was amended and exchanged until both sides agreed.
At the morning of departure, very, very early, the Chin State Chief Minister, Minister of Municipal Affairs and VNG International signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise the partnership and ownership in the MAGIC programme implementation. This was the last thing the MAGIC team thought of to return with to the office in Yangon – a true milestone for the programme!