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Chaw Ei Ei Soe is Partner Finance and Administration Support Manager for Plan International Myanmar, a role that involves providing technical support to partner NGOs. This includes reviewing their finances and helping to strengthen their administrative, account-keeping and monitoring capacities.
Her experience in the private and NGO sectors has made her an advocate of the power of strong financial management, and the impact that a meaningful understanding of finance can have on an organisation’s overall effectiveness. Following her attendance at a recent Mango training course we asked her to reflect on the experience, and the ways in which it has aided the capacity building of her organisation, Plan Myanmar, and its partners.
Financial Management Procedure for 'Small Scale Mitigation' in Sittwe, Rakhine
Which Mango courses did you attend?
I have completed four Mango courses. ‘Taking the fear out of finance’, ‘Getting the basics right’, ‘Assessing partners’ financial management capacity’ and most recently ‘Planning for financial sustainability’ in October 2014. I have found Mango training very beneficial and plan to attend other courses.
What were the challenges you were facing that caused you to choose these particular courses?
Having experience of working in the finance sector for non-profit organizations, I provide finance training to my colleagues in Plan Myanmar and its partner organisations. Despite having experience in finance-related training, as both a participant and facilitator, I was unsure of my skills in communicating information in a clear and precise manner. I decided to attend ‘Taking the fear out of finance’ for this reason and found that it alleviated this concern. This course enabled me to review and revise my own training methodology, adapting it to what I had learned. I also found that my skill in transferring knowledge was massively improved.
Another concern I had was the financial sustainability of partner organisations, a wide-ranging issue that I was struggling to fully comprehend. Fortunately, Mango provides information that capacitated a better understanding of this area to me and in turn, to those I train.
One of Chaw's teaching groups in action
What was your experience like and what did you find most valuable?
The training ensured that my understanding of financial management was more concrete. An example of this is the ‘Getting the basics right’ course, which enables an understanding of basic financial management for those working in NGOs. This course prepared me in mastering and applying finance-related policies and procedures and ways in which we can protect the organisation and the staff.
The experience I valued most was the methodology of the training; something I have applied in the training I facilitate to partner organisations. Moreover, Mango has increased my confidence in training and sharing my experience of the financial sector.
After the training, I looked to applying what I had learnt to see if I could implement it in my work; what points I could adapt to my current work, and what was not suited. This kind of reasoning is why I find my work exciting and attractive. I made a checklist identifying applicable points regarding the delegation of work, planning, budgeting and monitoring. These activities will have a beneficial impact on the work of Plan Myanmar and its partner organisations.
How has it helped?
The training has increased my confidence, particularly when I am working for partner organisations. In addition to being involved with the participatory training, I provide mentoring as post-training follow ups. Together with my training participants, I created a schedule for these sessions, however they depend on interest and availability of the participants and myself.
The training I have provided has a range of participants that extend beyond just NGO staff. In Yangon I held training for 16 participants of a church-based organisation and in Pyar Pone, Laputta and Sittwe, I held a ‘Financial Management Procedure for “Small Scale Mitigation”’ for 24 governmental staff.
Financial management and hands on capacity building in Taungup, Rakhine
"As Finance Officer in Lanthit Foundation, I have a chance to work closely with Chaw Ei. The Lanthit Foundation implements "Child Centered Climate Change and Adaptation" project, in partnership with Plan Myanmar in Toungup Township, Rakhine State. This project is funded by Australian National Office, Plan Australia. My organization is accountable to technical progress and financial reporting to Plan Myanmar. When in the reporting period, I am quite busy with reporting details of my organization and Plan. Most of the time, I find it rather difficult to cope with. But, I can make timely reporting with technical support and guide by Chaw Ei. She is quite helpful and is like a mentor to me" Thin Ohnmar Soe, Finance Officer at the Lanthit Foundation
"Chaw Ei’s dedication and work with our Early Childhood Care and Development Program was really valuable to us, this program is funded by Myanmar Education Consortium. Plan Myanmar is working in collaboration with a local organization, Yin Thwe Foundation. As a national NGO, Yin Thwe Foundation has strong expertise in center-based ECCD training but it had room to improve its financial management. Chaw Ei's patience and interest in explaining the necessary details of finance matters, were beneficial to program staff of both organizations; Plan Myanmar and Yin Thwe Foundation." Tin Tun, Program Manager at Plan Myanmar
Would you recommend Mango training to others, and if so, why?
I would like my colleagues from partner organisations to attend Mango training. Presently, there are a few people I would recommend who are suitable for the courses, who could then make changes to the organisations they work for. However, it is often difficult for partner organisations, particularly the smaller ones, to secure funding for financial management training.
The Plan Myanmar team
Help partner NGOs and small organisations maximise their potential
Partner organisations that are smaller or operate at a grassroots level often do not have the funds to access financial management training. Mango’s bursary scheme enables local NGOs to attain the funds they need to benefit from our valuable courses.
Mango’s training can improve an NGO's effectiveness immediately. It leads to better budgeting, better governance and also enables them to access new or additional sources of funding. So your donation could lead to creating more viable and sustainable local NGOs, in turn strengthening the work of a network of organisations.
Visit our website to learn more and to donate today, or email Tim Boyes-Watson, our Director: email@example.com.
Plan Myanmar was established in 2008 following Cyclone Nargis, providing emergency relief, facilitating Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and constructing schools and Early Childhood Care and Development centres (ECCD) in areas affected by the cyclone. Plan Myanmar reaches those marginalized by primarily implementing its programs through partners. It focuses on supporting change in key areas that affect children: Early Childhood Care and Development, Maternity, Neonatal and Child Health with Nutrition; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Child Protection and Advocacy, and Disaster Risk Reduction. www.plan-international.org/myanmar
We are the only NGO dedicated to helping other NGOs and their partners to do more with their money. We do this by delivering award-winning global financial management training, recruitment and consultancy services. Our training covers a range of financial management areas: from getting to grips with the basics, managing donor relations and budgeting to governance, sustainability and bribery. Learn more about the different training courses we offer at www.mango.org.uk/whatwedo