| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The cooperative was utilized as a tool to improve the quality of life of the NKDGC by implementing the following steps:
1. Build a better community and stable housing
It was not easy to bring change to a slum of 200 households. Trust was an underlying factor. Therefore from 2000 – 2003, Mr. Banjong Sae Ung, a change agent of the community stepped in to help them solve rabies epidemic by coordinating with Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Office and the media to provide assistance to the community until rabies was successfully eradicated from the area. Later, he contacted the Archdiocese of Bangkok and Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bangkok to build a community center with help from the Sisters to take care of children and seniors. The drug problem was also reduced in 2001. The community committee in collaboration with various organizations helped drug addicts with a positive mindset and procedures and promoted community participation in reducing the drug problem.
For the settlement of land and housing problems, community leaders worked closely with community members to build their understanding and confidence in participation in the program through the following steps:
1) Organizing a public space – community leaders organized public space to inform community members about the objectives and procedures of the Baan Man Kong program. The program was to improve housing for the poor in slum communities through participation of community members. It also aimed to establish a cooperative.
2) Providing education, instill a sense of ownership, collecting data, encouraging community members to learn about their problems. A participatory approach was employed to solve community problems. Allowing them to see positive changes to build confidence in their efforts. Providing information on alternatives. Arranged field visits to cooperatives in order to establish and try to solve housing problems to build participants’ confidence.
3) Collaborating with various partners –community leaders coordinated with the Community Organization Development Institute to provide information on the program and a low interest housing loans scheme. CPD-BAOO provided information on cooperative formation and establishment to help manage loans. Other organizations worked with the community in housing design and blueprints as well as infrastructure and an environment development plan.
2. Help community to be self-reliance and -sustainable
From 2004 – 2005, NKDGC formed a savings group to build confidence and credibility for loans from the Community Organization Development Institute. Savings from the program will be used to build houses. The savings started in July 2004 with deposits of 500 baht/household/month. Initial participants in the saving program were116 households.
The savings group learned about cooperative ideology, principles and values as well as management from CPD-BAOO. The group then registered as a Nong Kham Dumping Ground Community Housing Cooperative Limited with 121 initial members. Later, more people joined the cooperative to meet the target numbers. CPD-BAOO officials have provided consultation, adviceand coaching for the cooperative board of committee and staff on assembly meeting procedures, reporting as well as planning and monitoring and evaluation by the auditor who acts on behalf of cooperative members. Cooperative Auditing Department officials provided training on accounting principles and practices.
3. Educate and improve community environment
From 2006 – 2009, the NKDGCHC borrowed from CODI and used it to buy land from private landowners, rented the present settlement land and improved infrastructure system. The cooperative worked with the community on allocation and management of land and housing including planning of layout and blueprint of houses. 170 houses were built which included 160 two-story houses and 10 one-story houses. They also built multi-purpose and cooperative office buildings. Community leaders coordinated with various organizations to educate and train community members. These organizations worked with community members and cooperative’s board of committee to set criteria for housing allocation and rules of the community. CPD-BAOO advised and coached the cooperative’s board of committee staff and auditors to build skills that can be worked systematically. Cooperative Auditing Department officials trained and advised them on accounting audit practice.
From 2010 – present, the cooperative faced accounting problems with large numbers of members that missed their payment dues for many consecutive billing dates. CPD-BAOO worked with the cooperative’s board of committee and community to analyze the problem of the cooperative and households. They laid out a plan to apply the principles of Sufficiency Economy to cooperative operationsand life. The cooperative planned to promote the well being of its members through the Khaya Sang Baan program (Garbage for House Program) with financial support from the Cooperative Promotion Department. The program promotes savings, household accounting, building a standard childcare center, promoting health and hygiene of the community and prevention of drug use.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The stakeholders who are involved in the project can be separated into three groups of activities as follows:
1. The establishment of Nong Kham Dumping Ground Housing Co-operative, Ltd.
• Garbage collectors gathered into a garbage community. The leader of the community plays a major role in pushing forward the development of this community and seeking cooperation from both inside and outside the community.
• The Office of Co-operative Promotion in Bangkok Area 1, Cooperative Promotion Department transferred knowledge towards the cooperativethat is related to self-help, mutual help, and the operation of the cooperative, cooperative registration, cooperative regulation and capacity building of the board of directors.
• The Office of Cooperative Auditing in Bangkok, Cooperative Auditing Department set the model of accounting records to prove transparency.
2. The housework
• Planning to buy land, provide public utilities, build houses and solve related problems has been done with the cooperation of the board of directors, officers and members of Nong Kham Dumping Ground Housing Co-operative, Ltd. – and also NongKham community, Community Organizations Development Institute, The Office of Co-operative Promotion in Bangkok Area 1, mass media, educational institutes, and religious organization.
• Community Organizations Development Institute is responsible for solving problems involved in housing for low-income people in urban areas and for building the secured community by giving subsidies or low-interest rate loans.
• Southeast Asia University, The Congregation of the Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bangkok, Diocesan Social Action Center, Khun Poom Foundation, and the mass media supported the design of a town map, public utility system, houses, social activities, etc.
• Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Nongkhame District Office responded to form a society inside that area and to register Nongkhame community as a part of Bangkok where people in the community received a correct address number and the same rights as all other Bangkok people.
3. Career and community development
• Increased income, reduced expenditure and expandedopportunities
-The board of directors of Nong Kham Dumping Ground Housing Co-operative, Ltd. associated with other related organizations to make an occupational development plan. In addition, it acts as the center of the coordination with government organizations, private organizations, other organizations, and cooperative memberswith the purpose of community and occupational development.
- The Office of Co-operative Promotion in Bangkok Area 1, Cooperative Promotion Department together with the cooperative makes the occupational development plan. This is to stabilize income for cooperative members and to increase the ability of members’ loan payments consistently. The plan involved knowledge sharing on waste separation, the Waste Building Houses project (Kaya Srang Baan project) and also developing the learning center of the community garbage management domestically and overseas.
• Social and community development
The integration among government sector, private sector and religious organizations is for solving the drug problem and solving child and youth problems to build a drug free community. Examples of organizations that are involved areNong Kham Police station, Nong Khang Phlu Police station, The Office of the Narcotics Control Board, Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Healthcare Center 48, Thammasart University, The Congregation of the Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Bangkok, Saengtham College, Diocesan Social Action Center Bangkok, World Vision Foundation of Thailand, Wat Wonglaparam, Saint Louis Hospital Foundation, Asia University, Social Investment Fund, and Southeast Asia University.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
6.1. A secured house construction.
Financial aspect - the first fund was collected from NongKham garbage community savings group. This group collected money from 116 household members at 500 baht a month. The collection reached an amount of 10% of 23 million baht, which was borrow from the Community Organizations Development Institute with an interest rate of 2%, with the purpose of providing collateral. The purposes of this loan are divided into twosections; 1) buy land and 2) build members’ houses.
Human resource aspect - the Office of Co-operative Promotion in Bangkok Area 1 supports the extension staff for cooperative establishment and consultation. The Office of Cooperative Auditing in Bangkok provides the accounting advice staff, auditing software and also does the auditing. The Community Organizations Development Institute provides the loan analysis staff and advises the cooperative administration. Community members intend to act up to the plan by the division of labor technique.
6.2 The supportive to strengthen the cooperative and the community.
Financial and human resource respect - The support of funds and personnel to the community leads to the self-reliance of the community. The government and private institutes spent their general budget and allowed their permanent staff to give advice, to visit, to monitor and evaluate, and to solve the community’s problems while the cooperative and the community will bring that advice into practice with their own budget. Their operations and problem solving is based on the participation principle which is the fundamental of the international cooperative principle. It leads to transparency and accountability. Punctuality of members’ debt payment is a long term problem of the community and cooperative. They must pursue members to pay back. Consequently, the Cooperative Promotion Department gives a grant used for career creation and problem solving.
Technical aspect –The Cooperative Promotion Department supports the community through a cooperative members’ database created by using a basic data survey. This information was used in planning, cooperative establishment, loan analyzing of the Community Organizations Development Institute. Furthermore, it also supported an accounting program and account recording system by the Cooperative Auditing Department.
6.3 Community environmental recreation.
Financial aspect - the Community Organizations Development Institute funds Public utility construction of the community.
Technical aspect - The town plan designer and the university, the district office and other alliances support house builder. Focusing on community participation conforms to community’s needs and their livelihood. As a result, the budget of house building has not exceeded estimation.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1.) 170 households of garbage collectors own their houses and land by law and receive their own address number being a part of the Bangkok community properly. They can live in a sanitary environment, have a more pleasant standard of living, have better convenience, and have access to a nearby community center, cooperative office and healthcare center.
2.) the cooperative is the financial center of the community providinga savings service, credit service, welfare, and social activities for the community’s members. Now, the cooperative has a robust revolving fund.
3.) the community has a number of development plans in order to improve the quality of life of community members. Examples are the Baan Mankong project, the cooperative program, the children and youth development program, career development program that can increase income and reduce expenditure, including a drug enforcement program.
4.) the community becomes a learning center for the public,both Thai and foreign. The study involves the extent of waste separation, the operation of the Baan Mankong project, and the problem solving related to drug problems.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
8.1. the step of the project monitoring is divided into three stages as follows:
1.) Initial stage – was worked together with community leaders to monitor the procedure of knowledge sharing and understanding of the community regarding the creation of a more pleasant and secure community. The activities are such as organizing community meetings, giving knowledge and building the community’s consciousness to be aware of community problem. In addition, it also coordinated with the Community Organizations Development Institute to make community members recognize loan management by the cooperative.
2.) Stabilizing stage – this step is based on the idea of community self-reliance. It was done by establishing the cooperative, loaning the housing credit of the Community Organizations Development Institute under its determined regulations and mutual savings to be used as collateral, planning to buy land, building public utilities and designing houses, and paying cooperative loans on a due date, and problem solving. The cooperative board of directors, the community, the Community Organizations Development Institute, The Office of Co-operative Promotion in Bangkok Area 1, mess media, academic institutes and religious organizations, operated the progress monitoring based on the operation plan.
3.) Development stage – This stage is to monitor the cooperative environment and community recreations and the occupational development to ensure members stable income and ability to repay debt. This stage also makes sure that children and women in the community are safe from epidemics and are drug free, have a high quality of life, and have proper sanitation. The Office of Co-operative Promotion in Bangkok Area 1 associated with related organizations monitored occasionally by using important measures such as monthly cooperative board of directors meetings. This allows a number of staff in all sectors to participate. The staff of the Office of Co-operative Promotion in Bangkok Area 1 gathered cooperative information and its financial performance in order to analyze, plan, and give advice. In addition, they also heard opinionsfrom cooperative members and made anannual survey to collect members’ opinions.
8.2 An evaluation
The evaluation, according to the determined plan and strategy, will be done once a year and will lead to the following:
-The standard of living of garbage collectorshas increased consistently. Houses are built on time. Helpprovided bythe cooperative board of directors on cooperative administration resulted in punctually settling debts to the Community Organizations Development Institute. In case of members’ inconsistent debt payment, the cooperative will make a long-term plan by increasing members’ income to resolve problems such as the Waste Building Houses project (Kaya Srang Baan project).
-Community environmental recreation is evaluated through problem solving on the drug problem with a strategy on ‘Palliate Praise and Protect’. This strategy aims to protect the community from illegal drugs and crime. The admission of children and youth to school has increased. Women are treated properly. Each family in the community lives in a sanitary environment. To reduce the problem of gambling and alcohol addiction, there are projects such as “Mom stop playing lotto and Dad stop drinking alcohol project”.
-The operation of the cooperative is evaluated by cooperative mechanismssuch as cooperative inspectors who are representatives of the cooperative members elected from the general meeting, and are responsible for monthly auditing and evaluation of the administration of the board of directors and management division. Another evaluator, the government organization are the Cooperative Auditing Department and Cooperative Promotion Department. The Cooperative Auditing Department evaluates cooperative performance through an annual report. The Cooperative Promotion Department evaluates underlined methods and strategies under the SPK framework and assesses the cooperative strength through a Cooperative Standardized Indicator done by the cooperative extension officer. In 2012, the cooperative was awarded the best cooperative standard.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Nong Kham’s Dumping Ground Community Housing Cooperative Ltd. had problems with repayment of loans with about 20% of members having some loan outstanding. The problem arose from the fact that community members have a lack of stable income sources, lack of financial disciplines, lack of compliance of the cooperative by-laws and agreements.
Solutions were to have the cooperative repay loans for the members by the cooperative’s capital reserve, promote savings in form of shares, members’ savings, promote members to increase their income. In addition, the cooperative initiated a garbage building home program where participants worked 2 hours/day to purchase a house. Cooperative and community leaders worked closely with members and their families. For example: Family A missed their payment dues for 3 consecutive months without any appropriate reason. According to cooperative by-laws, it was written off for the book. However, Mr. A tried to improve and participate in voluntary work on sorting of recycled garbage. In early stages, the committee paid Mr. A ฿50 a day and if Mr. A continued to deliver quality work diligently, the cooperative would hired Mr. A as a pay rolled worker and raised his wages to an appropriate rate based on the labor law as well as reinstate him to continue to participate in the Housing program .
Family B, head of the household was paralyzed and could not work, the mother was a single source of income. Their firstborn son was in jail on a drug related charge, their 2nd son was just released from jail from a similar case. Their youngest daughter was a good high school student but the family could not support her education. The income made by the mother from her daily work was insufficient to pay for the whole family’s necessary expenses. Mr. Banjong, a cooperative/community leader advised the family’s first born son to drive a bus to help increase family income. In coordination with the local church for their daughter’s scholarship, he advised them on how to gain access to healthcare for the head of the household. He also took the family to visit their first son in jail as well as provided moral support. In addition, he advised the first son to change his behavior and improve himself.