Exchange visit

Exchange visit on the development of local communities

Swap visit of a Mongolian Community Development Group
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) ; from 23 to 30 April 2008, organized an exchange visit to Kyrgyzstan for the staff of the Community-Driven Yurt Camp Development for Poor People project and other stakeholders from Mongolia associated with the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction ( JFSB). This project aims to support local communities through their involvement in the design, implementation, financial management and monitoring of infrastructure and community-driven income generating projects using a Community Driven Development (CBD) approach. Since this is the first project in Mongolia using this approach, the project staff expressed a desire to learn from the experience of using the ROIS approach in other countries.

The Asian Development Bank has chosen Kyrgyzstan for a study tour of specialists from Mongolia. Over the past 10 years, Kyrgyzstan has gained extensive experience in implementing initiatives based on the application of ROIS approaches within the framework of projects of various agencies and donor organizations. During one week of the exchange visit, it was necessary to give Mongolian specialists an idea of ​​how these or those mechanisms and methods for ROIS work (or do not work) in a real situation on the ground - in institutional conditions similar to Mongolia. It also provided an opportunity for Kyrgyz practitioners to learn a lot of useful things from the Mongolian experience.

Participants   study   trip:
The study tour group included management and staff from the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and the RIOS consultant of the Community-Driven Yurt Camp Development for Poor People (JFDP) project. The group also included a representative of a Mongolian NGO to assist community / district initiatives, a representative of the local city government of Erdenet, ADB staff from Manila and the ADB office in Mongolia.

Objectives of the study tour:
The main purpose of this study tour was to exchange information, knowledge, experience and lessons learned about community-driven development between practitioners from the Kyrgyz Republic and Mongolia. It was supposed to achieve this goal through the exchange of information on the ROIS approaches developed and applied in various projects, the institutional scheme and procedures for involving communities in the development of their territories, implementation problems and lessons learned.
A secondary task was the discussion by members of the Mongolian group and their Kyrgyz counterparts on specific issues on the development, implementation and potential problems of the project “Development of yurt townships for the poor, initiated by communities” (JFSC).

The main topics of the study tour:
Participants of the study tour from Mongolia learned about:
- functional and fiscal aspects of the decentralization reform in the Kyrgyz Republic, their goals, scope and results;
- projects with elements of ROIS implemented in the Kyrgyz Republic, their structure and implementation, met with representatives of these projects, visited facilities implemented within their framework and held talks with the local population;
- various institutional aspects and procedures for the involvement of communities in urban and rural areas, including strategic planning of their development together with community organizations, Territorial Investment Committees (LICs), Local Investment Committees (LICs), Rural Investment Committees (LICs), micro-project groups (IPY), budget discussions with community representatives, accountability to the community, publicity and openness measures and activities;
- activities to strengthen the capacity of local governments and community organizations;
- procedures for social mobilization by stages and lessons learned;
- innovative community micro-projects, their methods and implementation;
- procurement procedures and financial management, problems and lessons learned at the local and central level in the ARIS system;
- the experience of Kyrgyz partners in the development and strengthening of the Agency for Development and Investment.

Agencies and organizations of the Kyrgyz Republic that participated in the exchange of experience:
- ARIS (Community Development and Investment Agency);
- Infrastructure Development and Capacity Building Project;
- Rural Development Fund (Rural Development Fund);
- Ministry of Local Self-Government and Regional Development;
- Kyrgyz State National University;
- Representative office of ADB in Kyrgyzstan;
- Urban Institute;
- Local Communities, Territorial Investment Committees, Local Investment Committees, micro-project groups, representatives of local governments.

Program   study   trips:
The study tour consisted of a 3.5-day workshop in Bishkek and a 4-day field trip to Chui, Issyk-Kul and Osh oblasts. The study tour program included thematic expert