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Evaluation report

2011 Thailand: Evaluation of Basic Minimum Needs Information System



Author: Khon Kaen University

Executive summary

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Background:

The information system for basic minimum needs (BMN) was implemented in 1985.
However, it was not until 1990, that the Department of Community Development, Ministry of
the Interior started to coordinate work on collection of BMN data in rural areas and has
continued updating it annually for 20 years. Indicators have been improved so that they are in
accordance with the national social and economic development plan every 5 years. To date,
research studies or evaluation have not been carried out on the results of information system
of the basic minimum needs (BMN) by external organizations. Hence, the Department of
Community Development initiated the “Evaluation Project for the Information system of
Basic Minimum Needs (BMN)”.

Purpose/Objective:

1. To evaluate the achievement of the information system of Basic Minimum Needs
(BMN)
2. To study the administration of BMN data compilation process
3. To study the means to broadly apply BMN data, especially by local administration
organizations
4. To study the BMN indicators for the 11th social and development plan (2012 -
2016)
5. To study the problems, obstacles, and solutions for BMN data recording.

Methodology:

Literature review
Group Discussion
Interview
Questionnaire

Findings and Conclusions:

Only major issues are listed here. More detailed information can be found as attached.

1. Evaluation of the Achievements of Basic Minimum Needs (BMN) Information
system
The evaluation was carried out in 3 aspects:
(1) BMN is a tool for people’s learning process.
The findings indicated that most households believed the questions in BMN booklets
were informative and recommended other households to use them for their daily life.
However, personnel responsible for BMN data collecting should be acknowledged of the
benefits of BMN questions.
2) People participate in the development.
Those related to compilation of BMN reported that most villagers cooperated. On the
contrary, cooperation was often less among households in urban area, trading area, housing
estates, and from government officials since the people did not see BMN’s benefits for their
living. They also did not want to reveal their incomes for fear of taxation. Most respondents
reported they had never seen or been informed of BMN report after data was collected; they
still wanted to see the results. For those who were informed of BMN record, the data only
included indicators that did not meet the criteria. Only few villages and sub-districts carried
out community criticism on BMN results and shared their ideas for solving problems among
households not passing the criteria.
(3) Use of BMN as a means for screening government’s projects
The majority of the citizen did not know if BMN was used as a means for screening
state’s local development projects. It was found that very few administrators of local
administration organizations applied BMN data in their selection for the projects. And it is
these administrators who have important roles in this regards. Those who were interested in
BMN data had had experiences in it, but they did not use BMN as the direct criteria for their
decision. Provincial administrators suggested that the questions in BMN were compiled from
many sources and represented their main missions and therefore should not be used to
indicate the basic needs, quality of life, and well-being of the village people.
2. The Whole Process of BMN Data Compilation
 The organization chart of BMN data compilation administration has been clearly
written. All provinces issued an order to expedite collection of data from
provincial to village levels. Provincial and district community development
offices were assigned to take responsibilities in this respect. It was found that at
the provincial level, only few of the compilation team which comprised
representatives from different provincial organizations showed interest in their
duty and time frame. Hence, almost all of the work was under the community
development offices.
3. BMN Data was not fully utilized by village administrative offices and community people.Most respondents reported that BMN data were useful. Although some indicators from household factors revealed low qualities, computation at a wider area level give better information. Nevertheless, users still wanted the data quality to be improved so that the whole country will be based on the same standard, forexample the age ranges of population.
 The findings revealed that basic minimum needs at present have been considerably changed from the past. Revision on BMN should be carried out by taking into account the Gross Domestic Happiness (GDH) and Gross National Happiness (GNH). BMN cores should also be considered since different organizations had their own information system.
4. Problems, Obstacles, and Solutions for BMN Data Entry: The time frame for collection and recording data was short. Although the time table stated a 3-month period, true recording started when there was only a little over one month left.
 Data collectors did not have sufficient knowledge or understanding of BMN and the questions in the questionnaire, making them unable to give accurate instruction to respondents. In some areas, students were employed to compile data. This caused a lot of problems for they lacked experience and techniques to elicit answers, and hence did not get rapport from the households
5. The Study of Indicators for Basic Minimum Needs to be Used in the 11th
Development Plan (2012-2016: BMN indicators and criteria from 1990-2011 were studied and compared to see the changes, frequency of the use of indicators. Studies of concepts and indicators for quality of life used in foreign countries were also conducted and compared to Thailand. The results would be the basis for the consideration of basic minimum needs indicators to be used during
the 11th National Social and Economic Development Plan (2012-2016). The “indicators of
wellbeing in Thai society” which emphasize national and provincial society were based on in
stipulating family-level indicators. The newly created indicators would be in line with the
holistic measurement of the country that accents “Green and Happiness Society” which has
been implemented all through the past development plan.

Recommendations:

1.Improve the method and mechanism for administering the BMN survey, especially on data collection through ensuring the BMN Management Plan for Tambon (sub-district) Administration Organization (TAO). Provincial Community Development Departments (PCD) should have a role in analyzing and publicizing provincial BMN information. Thus, the provincial unit should be responsible for the correctness of the data disseminated in proivnces. In addition, At the sub-district level, TAO should increase its role in analyzing and publicizing BMN data for people when collection is completed.

2.Improve the BMN survey questionnaire and data collection process. The questionnaire should contain the logo of Department of Local Administration Office to demonstrate cooperation and sense of ownership of the BMN data. Public relations should be carried out before and in-between collection so people in villages would know and cooperate with data collection.A collation process should be carried out for sub-district data before submitting to districts. This may be in the form of a meeting so that villagers can help in collating the data.
3.To upgrade the software programme for data recording and computing.Data recording and computing programs should be carefully tested before use so that there is no need for new versions and computation will be done rapidly.
The programs should be easy to installand use, and not have any impact on other existing software or data in the computer. The program should be designed so that it facilitates and makes data recording convenient.
The programs should support compilation and reservation of data and prevent data loss.
Information should be retrieved easily with good user interface.
4.To increase the use of BMN information for evidence-based planning.Seminars should be organized for TAO staff at sub-district level on ways to utilize BMN data information. Participants would also have an opportunity to exchange their experiences and lessons learned as well as good practices. The use of BMN data and information should be supported for community planning and local development projects such as holding workshops among TAOs to discuss evidence-based planning. Additionally, some forms of official recognitions such as an award should be established and given to the TAOs that use the BMN data for their planning.
5.To improve the data quality and utilization of data through promoting the use of BMN and increasing budget to TAOs. CDD should work in close collaboration with TAOs on this matter.
6.Recommend new indicators.The National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) with support from CDD and NESDB conducted a separate study to review and assess the BMN indicators for the 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan. Findings from the BMN evaluation were partly used in that study



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