Khin Maung Oo
At one time when Myanmar was ruled as a military dictatorship, we had a Top-Down System. After the advent of the democratic government, this system was replaced by a Bottom-Up System. A Top-Down System is the one starting from or involving the people who have higher positions in an organization, so it may be said to be dictatorial in nature.
Yet, a Bottom-Up System is the one which starts with gathering details and information at the bottom level and then later moving on to more general principles to authoritative bodies at the top step by step. So, we may say it is democratic in behavior. Authorities from the top supervise the performances of those at the bottom, giving necessary help. As performances are individually made by those involved, effective achievements have been gained. In this system, those at the bottom levels take great care and work hard. They wish to make sure that their work is of the highest quality. In this way the bottom-up system can reduce the burden for those at the top levels. Trying to make the system work with efficiency by pointing out weak points and providing necessary help can bring about success.
At such a time when our country is striving hard to make the democratic transition process a success, Bottom-Up Systems cannot be exercised yet in every sector of the national planning process. Instead, Top-Down Systems are still being used in some sectors. In fact, a Bottom-Up System is the bottom-orientated, or rather, people-orientated system, so it must be implemented to achieve absolute success.
In Myanmar, the practice of following a leader without making any critical appraisals or judgments and complaints; the practice of performing a task only when they are told to do has been deep-rooted until now. A Bottom-Up System, the one self-managed at the bottom level is greatly in need. As Top-Down Systems are still in existence, the practice or culture of grasping and clinging to old systems and habits is still being cherished by those who would like to revive the bureaucratic red tape system. We feel strongly that we should lay stress on system change in every sector in our movement towards a democratic system.
Take for example the Emerald Green Project, self-managed by the people. This project has been implemented in over 9900 villages across Myanmar. It can be said to be the implementation of introducing the Bottom-Up System. The said Emerald Green Project had been launched since 5 years ago, but it was not widely known among our people due to poor management.
Now that this public-orientated rural development project is being revised at different levels—township, district, region and state and union level annually, necessary changes and plans for effective performances are being made, to our great happiness.
We must welcome these rural development projects for the betterment of living standards and favorable income by implementing self-managed development plans after finding out actual necessities of villages. Likewise, provided that Bottom-Up Systems which can make the best use of people-oriented management styles becomes strong, prospects for Myanmar’s development will be very good and we can be sure of success.