On May 11–13 JILAF held a Life Support Seminar for community development in the province of Khon Kaen in northeastern Thailand as part of the SGRA project (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network). In the seminar, members of the Khon Kaen Working Committee, representatives from related government authorities in the province, and 60 network members discussed current issues and future plans. Among other things, it was confirmed that (1) the provincial office for commercial affairs would cooperate in adding value (labeling, packaging) for riceberry (red rice) products cultivated by network members; (2) the provincial office for agricultural cooperatives would cooperate in the quality management, guarantee, and registration with provincial authorities of riceberry; and (3) the city government, provincial office for labour affairs, and others would provide full support for activities.
In the afternoon of the same day, 16 representatives of JILAF and the Khon Kaen Working Committee discussed specific activities from now on, and it was confirmed that concrete figures and plans would be submitted to JILAF by next month concerning (1) riceberry quality improvement (vacuum-sealed packaging, labeling); (2) the number of members engaged in riceberry cultivation, planted area, and harvest quantity in the current fiscal year; (3) the establishment of a quality assurance system when expanding harvests (method of making organic fertilizer, frequency of use, confirmation of nonuse of agricultural chemicals, ensuring of storage space for harvested rice); and (4) strengthening of the mutual-aid functions of the SGRA credit union.
In addition, on May 29–31 a Life Support Seminar for community development was held in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. In this seminar, it was confirmed that network members would be encouraged to enroll in social insurance and the implementation of various vocational training programs would be promoted toward further network expansion. Furthermore, in addition to the confirmation of efforts to further develop the SGRA credit union and strengthen its mutual-aid functions, it was agreed to newly organize 40 network members in the San Kamphaeng district. (Forty network members are scheduled to be organized in the Hang Dong district as well.)
On May 30 a meeting was held at the Northern Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Persons of the working committee on support for disabled informal-sector workers facing even more difficult conditions. This is the first attempt in the SGRA project to support disabled persons. In the meeting the participants agreed on the importance in selecting specific groups of considering and coordinating (1) the type and severity of the disability; (2) the age and gender of the disabled persons; (3) feasible training (in consideration of (1) and (2)); (4) the costs involved in training (facilities, equipment, instructors, meals, accommodation, transport, etc.); and (5) job support after training. Finally, since Mr. Atchara, the director of the center, proposed liaison with the Don Kaeo local government office (which is located near the center and has a track record of support for disabled persons in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency and others), the working committee visited the office on May 31 and requested cooperation in the SGRA project targeting disabled persons. A representative of the local government office replied that “We would like to cooperate in a project to support disabled persons living locally.”
|05/12||Thu||Life Support Seminar for community development in Khon Kaen Province|
|05/13||Fri||Life Support Seminar for community development in Chiang Mai; working committee on support for disabled informal-sector workers;|
|05/14||Sat||request for cooperation in SGRA project to Don Kaeo local government office|