Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
Thailand has prioritized the creation of gender equality at all levels which improves its Gender Inequality Index (GII) with a GII value of 0.359 in 2019 (GII value of 0.419 in 2016) However, in the context of Thai society, that men are the leaders and women are the followers which make women being unacceptable in society. Moreover, there is still discrimination against women and children causing physical and mental harm, which happens particularly in ethnic women.
The Department of Women's Affairs and Family Development (DWF), which is the main government agency responsible for developing gender equality and implementing the Gender
Equality Act, B.E. 2558 (2015), has been formulated strategies to promote women’s security and generate gender equality in society by using vocational training as a tool that conducts by the 8 Women and Family Development Learning Centers (WFDLC) which is the core mechanism responsible for implementing plans. In 2017, the WFDLC, Chiang Rai has selected a group of Karen women from Ban Khang Jai Village No. 7, Mae Koeng Subdistrict, Wang Chin District, Phrae Province, as a target group because the majority of them have faced many challenges such as gender inequalities and inability to be self-reliant due to poverty and low income that has an average income per person/ per month 3,776.32 baht.
The project “Comprehensive Learning Center and Distribution of Karen Woven Fabrics, Ban Khang Jai” has organized with the objectives are to build the values and self-esteem of women, enhance gender equality, create jobs, generate income including increase women's roles in the community development. The implementation of the project is by women’s occupational groups and work integration with all sectors. As a result, women have increased confidence in their potential and increased income which they are able to be self-sustaining and have a better quality of life.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
The community vocational training program under the Ban Khang Jai project has built women’s self-esteem and created gender equality. Women's integration has emerged from the need to address women's issues by cooperating with all partners to strengthen the women group and build bargaining power. The proposed development plans are Mae Koeng Subdistrict Development Plan for development of the weaving profession; Wang Chin District Development Plan on the promotion of tourism in Karen villages; the provincial development plan on the promotion of NawatWithi Village and the plan of the WFDLC, Chiang Rai to enhance women's equality through vocational training in 2022.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
The Comprehensive Learning Center and Distribution of Karen Woven Fabrics, Ban Khang Jai is under the project that creates a new life for women and families that support the SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality promotes women's access to equal rights, provides women the opportunities to learn through doing, and allow women to participate in decision-making, implementation, planning for self-development as well as encouraging women to play more roles in local politics. It is also consistent with the SDG Goal 1: No Poverty, which encourages women to earn more income from farming and general contractor, reduces cost by growing their own vegetables, and apply the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in their lives (target 1.1 and 1.2). This project also provides opportunities for everyone, including tribal women, women with disabilities, and single mothers, to have equal access to vocational training. So, everyone will receive vocational training, learn how to improve the quality of life and their rights as well (4.5). After people have a better living from both the amount in the selling of Karen Woven Fabrics and cultural tourism revenues, the rate of forest encroachment for agriculture is reduced and people gather to plan conservation for ecotourism in the future (target 15.2)
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
The Comprehensive Learning Center and Distribution of Karen Woven Fabrics, Ban Khang Jai, is a gathering of Karen tribal women who suffer from several problems such as social inequality, poverty, and educational inequality, that established as an occupational group with support from government and local agencies in providing knowledge on vocational training techniques and development of Woven Fabrics to meet the market demands. At present, the promotion of cultural tourism and ecotourism has been incorporated in the development guidelines in the Mae Koeng Subdistrict Development Plan, Wang Chin District Development Plan, and Phrae Provincial Development Plan. As a result, the current female members have a steady increase in income and the group’s income is 100,000 baht for the management. The project has also been successfully expanded within the village from 30 women in 2017 to 50 in 2018 and there are 77 members now, with more members expected in the following years. Furthermore, women also play more role in the presentation of the development guidelines at the community, sub-district, district, and province-level and more participation in the local politics as well.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
The WFDLC, Chiang Ra Province is an implementing agency of a vocational training programmes in the community that collaborating with government and local agencies in Phrae Province to solve the problems as follows: 1) gender inequalities issues which has been resolved by using vocational training as a tool to create income stability to create value for women, provide knowledge of equal right, and assist women without contradicting the cultural traditions of the Karen tribe; 2) encourage women’s participation in every step of the project which creates learning in management and decision-making as well as build the shared ownerships, in cooperation with the Mae Koeng Subdistrict Administrative Organization (SAO); 3) regarding the reducing poverty and dependence on the state, this project focuses on empowering women to manage and develop the groups on their own with cooperation in support of knowledge in textile development and marketing from the Mae Koeng SAO, Wang Chin District Non-Formal and Informal Education Center, Community Development Office, and Wang Chin District Office, agricultural knowledge from Phrae Highland People Development Center and District Agricultural Extension Office, knowledge in cultural tourism and ecotourism from Phrae Cultural Education Office and Tourism and Sports Office, Phare province.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
Ban Khang Jai is the Karen tribal village of 320 households with a total of 527 women. Most of the women are poor and lack educational opportunities including a cultural belief that women should always be followers. The vocational training in the community is
an opportunity for women to participate in building their career strength and creating opportunities to express their opinions on the project but still maintain the Karen traditional culture by establishing a learning center for Karen tribes that give knowledge about the weaving culture, way of life, and create opportunities to increase women's social involvement.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
The family members' well-being has been improved due to more earnings and a decline in household debt. In the member group, there are 8 single mothers who are able to generate income and support their families. There are also 2 women suffering from depression, one of them is Chan, 70 -years-old grandmother, who has no job, no income, and has had thoughts of suicide. Grandma Chan was invited by the leader of the women’s group to join the group activities that make her earn income, get an opportunity to talk with members who attended the activities every day and eventually make her life happier.
The vocational training programmes in the community, it has evolved to become the Comprehensive Learning Center and Distribution of Karen Woven Fabrics, Ban Khang Jai, which is a career promotion center that provides knowledge of the Karen Tribe then becoming
a cultural tourist attraction and also generating more income for women Including the money to manage the group 100,000 baht to build a reputation for women's groups at the local level. Furthermore, it provided women more roles and opportunities to voice their opinions on community development and also encouraged them to step into the local politics.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
In 2017, the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province with local authorities participated in the analysis of women's groups in the area, which found that most of the women were engaged in agriculture with low income and also have debt and lack of educational opportunities. Therefore, the budget, experts, materials, and equipment were provided to a group of 30 women and signed MOU with the Mae Koeng SAO in terms of operations in support budgets, materials, and knowledge for women groups.
In 2018, women had an income increase of 2,000-3,000 baht, with 25,760 baht in management money, and the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province support an additional budget of 100,000 baht to assist women and promote integration and also established the Comprehensive Learning Center and Distribution of Karen Woven Fabrics, Ban Khang Jai. Furthermore, women's groups play more role in development, they can drive proposals into the Mae Koeng SAO’s development plan and the 3-years Wang Chin District Development Plan successfully.
In 2019, women's groups have a strong integration that can be managed independently. As a result, people were participating in the project from 30 people to 50 people and members' income increased 3,000-5,000 baht, had the money to manage the group increased to 45,000 baht, and opened a cultural learning center.
In 2020, the women's group has increased to 77 members. Online sales have been developed, due to the Covid-19 situation, which can generate income continually.
In 2021, the women's group has developed a tool from the knowledge that combined with local wisdom which can reduce the weaving time by up to 50 percent.
In 2022, the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province has a plan to promote and enhance gender equality through a short-term vocational training program for women that there is an increase in the number of target groups in the community.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
The obstacles in the implementation and solutions are: (1) Some women cannot communicate in Thai because they are Karen ethnic groups. Therefore, the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province has coordinated with women in the community as interpreters to create mutual understanding; (2) Creating equality cannot immediately change to be accepted in society. Therefore, it takes time to work by developing the potential of women to be able to become sustainable self-reliant, see their worth, know their rights, be able to access their rights including support women's roles in politics through cooperation with the government and local agencies to support the project.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
Throughout the implementation of vocational training in the community and the follow-up and analysis, realize that a development guideline for promoting self-reliant and sustainable women's groups is the establishment of a career learning center in the community which objectives aim to develop in career and women's potential. Therefore, it is the source of the experimental innovation of the Community Vocational Learning Center in Ban Khang Jai. In 2017 – 2018, by the participation process of women in the area, the community leaders, and local authorities to cooperate in establishing the Ban Khang Jai project, and supporting in budget and various knowledge.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
The vocational training programmes in the community under the Ban Khang Jai project, has a concept based on the King's Philosophy of “understanding, accessing, and developing” which is understanding the context of the Karen tribe, poverty, and gender equality by using these data for analysis to develop a project that focuses on the integration of the agencies to strengthen women's groups in terms of income and also provide rights and digital knowledge that lead to the development of learning resources and tourist attractions and creating equality that doesn’t conflict with the way of life of the Karen tribe.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
The vocational training programmes in the community under the Ban Khang Jai project has established an MoU with the Mae Koeng SAO to develop and expand products including being a learning center for Karen tribal culture with various agencies to study and learn, for example, Amarin TV channel presents the way of life of people in the community about Karen Weaving Clothes. There are also the schools in the area that came to study the ways of being ethnic Karen. The Lampang Rajabhat University, the Chiang Mai Rajabhat University, Maejo University (Phayao Campus), and the professors from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Phrae province study and collect research data on linguistics, cultures, and traditions. In addition, the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province, also adopted the form of establishment of the Comprehensive Learning Center and distribution of Karen Woven Fabrics, Ban Khang Jai to develop in other areas such as Ban Nong Ha, Na Noi District, Nan Province, a women group of hand-woven cloth, which is currently registered as a community enterprise and is a learning center for ancient woven fabrics and woven cloth in a modern style with the participation of the government, local and private sectors in the area.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
Answered in 7. A
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
The Budget has been allocated from the DWF in developing women's potential. There is local authorities support in various fields, such as vocational training and promoting agriculture according to the sufficiency economy.
The Personnel, there are 6 project operators and coordinators, 2 monitoring and evaluation officers from the WFDLC, Chiang Rai, 1 coordinating mentor in the area, and 1 product development mentor from local authorities.
Knowledge on Gender equality from the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province, promotion of standard products from the Community Development Office, and promotion of cultural tourism from the Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
The Comprehensive Learning Center and Distribution of Karen Woven Fabrics, Ban Khang Jai is a center managed by women's groups that emphasizes the process of women’s participation in the community and promotes women to have equal access. It is a model area for learning the Karen way of life and establishing a community-level learning center which makes women earn more income 3,000-5,000 baht/month, including incorporated in the Phrae Provincial Development Plan, the Wang Chin District Development Plan, the Mae Koeng SAO development plan including the plans to promote and enhance gender equality from the WFDLC, Chiang Rai in 2022.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
At the central level, an operating budget has been allocated from the DWF which the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province is responsible for the project and also coordinating with the government, local, and people sectors and has served as a consultant to women groups since the beginning of the project.
At the provincial level, there are agencies that support the budget, such as Phare Highland People Development Center, the District and Provincial Agricultural Extension Office, and the Community Development Office. There is an organization that creates knowledge for women in the community on promoting gender equality, career development, and service, consisting of Phare Provincial Social Development and Human Security Office, the Community Development Office, the Provincial Tourism and Sports Office, the Provincial Culture Office, and the ONIE Wang Chin District, which each organization will have a coordinator working with the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province and women's groups in the project.
At the local level, the Mae Koeng SAO has supported the budget to promote occupational groups to have a continuous income. The officers are assigned to be mentors and coordinators working with other agencies, as well as incorporating the developments in the agency's plan of action.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
The leaders of the women's group include Mrs. BuaRoi Chansikaew and Ms. Chanphen Khamlueng act as a coordinator with government, local and people sectors and also seek resources to promote activities within the project.
The project members are involved in planning career development, income management and always attend training to improve themselves. There are gatherings to suggest ideas and enhance women's development and the cultural tourist attractions development incorporated the development plan of the Mae Koeng SAO, Wang Chin District, and Phrae Province.
People in Ban Khang Jai participated in the renovation of the place, provided suggestions and opinions of development, and participated in various activities of the project continuously from 2018.
Children and youth of Ban Khang Jai and nearby came to study and practice Karen weaving on the weekend or during semester breaks. The women's group will pay compensation that makes them earn income. It is also the inheritance of Karen culture as well.
The academia by many universities came to study and conduct research on ethnic lifestyles and Karen woven fabric preparation. It is to give the knowledge about the identity of tribal women and provide suggestions to create career sustainability and good culture.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
First, in the past, women were always followers, they usually didn’t get much attention. Therefore, the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province has built confidence in women by providing diverse knowledge, training women to participate in the work, and giving them opportunities to express their opinions. Moreover, the fact that women continued to earn their income made the community, especially men, see that women can earn income for themselves, and causing more recognition of the ability and gender differences.
The second is to use the community as the development center in the area which aims to set goals for the common needs of Ban Khang Jai women's groups, including agencies in operating of promoting, and supporting budget, materials, and knowledge.
The third, working to promote gender equality, cannot be implemented in a short period or cannot be operated by a single agency. It takes time and cooperation from all sectors to promote in all aspects to empower women or even promote participation in politics. In 2022, the WFDLC, Chiang Rai Province will be used as the model of the learning center in the community and for the other departments of the DWF to further development for women in the community.