Listening to the people’s voice for development

  • By Dr. Wah Wah Maung (Central Statistical
    Organization, Ministry of Planning and Finance)

We need to target people-centred institutions for our society to be transparent with political maturity, respectful towards each other, and to create a modern society in which all of us can participate. Now we are cooperating in the process to the development of a Democratic Federal Union with respective people including the public.
We need to listen to the voice of the people to implement people-centred development policies, improve their livelihoods, and identify beneficial operations. We can take random samples and collect surveys from each sector to listen to the people’s voice. The Central Statistics Organization conducted a survey of living standards in Myanmar over four quarterly periods with financial and technical support from the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and the World Bank in 2017.
Before conducting that survey, we held three meetings regarding the survey questions preparation process, the surveying technology, and states and regions to be covered. Specially trained teams were assigned around Myanmar to conduct the survey. During the process, specially assigned staff deeply focused on the survey the whole year without performing regular duties of the department.
The Myanmar living conditions survey is a multi-sector survey of how people in Myanmar live. According to regions and states, we can find out the living standards of the people. By identifying regions, states, townships, urban and rural, we aimed to take the Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017- MLCS to get the figures and index needed to conduct calculations of consumer prices and inflation for reduction of poverty, imposing of policies and projects for social and economic development, and sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017- MLCS included over 13,000 households in the 330 townships of regions and states of Myanmar over four quarterly periods. It was finished in the second week of December 2017 and screening data was inserted to calculate the index and present social and economic conditions. The main indicator report will be released at the end of May 2018 and the social and economic conditions report will be released in November of 2018.
This survey collected data on occupation and income, and how people use their income for livelihoods, health, education, and needs of family. The collected data will be used to make any necessary amendments concerning imposing of policies for the future development of the country. In addition, it can support the validity statistics of the country, national comprehensive development, and calculating the index of social and the economy.
The photo mentioned was taken while giving knowledge of the survey to the public and to participants in the survey.
We would like to answer the following questions.
A. Where did we take the Myanmar Living Conditions Survey?
The Myanmar Living Conditions Survey represents the whole country and it was taken in all districts and townships, so urban, rural, hills and flatlands are valid. Although we planned to survey 13,824 households, we managed only 13,730 due to some absences. Thus, we achieved 94 per cent of responses on this survey.
The influence of this survey affected all of the country except for Maungtaw and Buthidaung in Rakhine State, and the ‘Wa’ region in northern Shan State. Although we did not have a chance to ask survey questions in the northern Rakhine and ‘Wa’ regions due to area security, we replaced those survey areas with similar community areas. Total Enumeration Area (EA) data collected numbered 1,145.
B. Who conducted the survey?
The Myanmar Living Conditions Survey was conducted by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning and Finance and took financial and technical support from the United Nations Development Program and World Bank. The specially trained staffs were sent to conduct the survey throughout Myanmar.
C. Where did we conduct the survey questions?
The conducted questions were about the number of people per household, their income and expenses including purchasing power and brand selection, seasonal work, number of dependents, students, education and health; access to electricity and energy, water supply, and clean toilets, transportation, assets, use of technology, presence of people with disabilities and migrant citizens. Therefore, we came to discover that the income of people and jobs depend on seasonal changes because the majority of our country’s business is based on agriculture.
D. When did we begin conducting the survey and when was it finished?
The survey was conducted for 12 months beginning in December 2016 and ending in December 2017. We discussed with people who conducted the surveys, those who compiled and reviewed the data, those who calculated the index and wrote the reports, and the participants.
E. How will the data from survey be used?
The main indicator report will released at the end of May 2018 and government can consider using it in any necessary amendments concerning imposing of policies and planning. After November 2018, the socio-economic report for Myanmar, including data relating to districts and states, will be released.
By using the data from the survey, researcher can do analysis living standard of Myanmar in detail and civil society can notify and discuss for needs of vulnerable people in Myanmar. For example, the production design can be adapted by changes in consumption of patterns of households and how we can accommodate in which forms of production for improving in rural area. How can we express whether agriculture or other business activity in which regions?
F. Was it first time conducting this kind of survey in Myanmar?
We have conducted various types of household surveys in Myanmar before. This includes the Comprehensive Survey about Livelihoods in Myanmar (2005 and 2010), the Household Income and Consumption Survey (1989 and within 2012) and the Myanmar Poverty and Living Conditions Survey (2015).
All these previous household surveys were added into Myanmar Living Conditions Survey to create a more compact survey with a robust design and system.
(G) How did we control the statistical quality related to the survey?
A Master Sampling Frame of survey was used to cover the population in 2014 and the population from the census using skillful interviewers, language experts and local graduates from relevant regions. They were grouped as interviewers to ask survey questions. Data entry and supervisors in each region and the accountants from the central statistics of relevant states and regions took responsibilities for contact actions.
We developed the quality of survey by asking to specially assigned staffs to deeply focus without taking regular duties of the department during the survey work, checking survey quality and the way they conducted survey with spot check by director general and survey supervisor organization, immediately reviewing and scrutinizing the date collected in the field back at our headquarters using a double entry verification process, continuous inspection by experts supported from UNDP and World Bank, use of GPS system, solving challenge and difficulties with head quarter and quarterly survey development, completion, coordination meeting to resolve by the central statistics, UNDP and World Bank.
(H) What kind of difficulties and challenges did we face in the survey?
Survey questions consist of 13 parts and we have to organize households to answer patiently because interview time-taken is long for over 2 hours. We saw people in rural and urban area who answered the survey questions with earnest enthusiasm but we faced difficulties with some people in metropolis like Yangon not giving time for the interviews. We conducted the survey once three months by four quarters come rain or shine. Especially heavy rain and landslides at rainy season in Chin State, cars were sunk in mud and we have to travel with boat under storm in Taninthar Yi district and Ayeyarwady District. However, we followed the important of statistics and voice of people, and we will continue to education for the importance of identification for needs of people.
(I)Was there any upgrading technology relevant to survey?
We have to do well transitioning to better technology while our country is getting development aid. The Central Statistics got transition to newer technology in management to survey, filtering practices to the quality of data, calculation of index, use of software while filtering data, use of GPS, analysis and writing report of number and index from the calculation. The survey staffs got the knowledge of local area as they have to go throughout Myanmar.
(J) How can we know other information, statements and time to be announced relevant to survey?
The main index relevant will be announced at the end of May and we have plan to announce index of Myanmar poverty, social, report of economic conditions including imbalance index at the end of November 2018. Survey report will be submitted to be able to download on the website of The Central Statistics, and website of Ministry,
The performance data of survey can be available at the website of The Central Statistics, United Nations Development Program and World Bank. The privacy questions can be inquired at [email protected] The Central Statistics will still collaborate to release the survey with relevant departments, organizations and the experts.
While executing to be an organization with transparent form of freedom with sustainable development and emergence of dominant national economy which has benevolence to people through the peace process, democracy survival and rooted strengthening, the right to equality in the diverse society, mutual respect, the emphasis of majority to wants from minority, being able to enjoy of fruits of development with the opened, free and stable political process, the high growth of job opportunities, the reconnection with regional business center, world business center, including international trade and foreign investment are very important process. By listening to the rhythm of the Myanmar People, The Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017 can perform people-centered policy and while setting policy for nation building and development, we will report policy recommendations with regards to consider for social and economic development. Now draft of survey has already finished and we will early report that we will extract and report survey findings if it officially releases.
Translation by
Myat Thandar Aung

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