Tailoring Health Programming to Context Variations: The Three Millennium Development Goal Project in Kayah, Myanmar

Case Study in brief: This case study explores how the Three Millennium Development Goal (3MDG) project in Kayah State in Myanmar used a six-month inception period to build relationships among partners and to craft a context-tailored approach to meet the basic health needs of Kayah’s most vulnerable populations. This case study describes how the 3MDG project encouraged and supported front-line innovation and adaptive monitoring, as well as how evaluation and learning systems are built into the project’s design to enable effective programs for meaningful and sustainable reform, despite the challenges posed by demographic pressures.

Development challenge: Low immunization and malnutrition among children

Delivery challenge:Project design and task sequencing, stakeholder engagement, financial management and reporting, bureaucratic structure

Lessons learned: 1) This case study captures some lessons that may assist other implementers facing similar development and delivery challenges. 2) The 3MDG project built a contextually tailored approach based on an understanding of local dynamics. This foundation was developed during a six-month inception phase during which the IRC built trust within the consortium through a small number of activities while also working with the consortium to conduct a stakeholder analysis and to develop a detailed budget and approach for the full project. 3) To increase collaboration, the project team kept the focus on the overarching and shared ambition of meeting basic health needs while it also managed the concerns and motivations of the various parties and facilitated productive engagements. For example, joint trainings helped to build trust and personal connections among stakeholders. 4) Appreciating the complexity of the context, UNOPS introduced a flexible funding line, which enabled project partners to initiate a systematic and collaborative approach to identifying, analyzing, and responding to opportunities and needs. 5) Efforts have been made to empower mid-level managers and to encourage a deeper contextual understanding to allow for more rapid and nuanced approaches to changing conditions or new information.