SGRA Project in Laos, Nepal, and Thailand (November)

Group photo in Savannakhet

Laos

A follow-up meeting and Life Support Seminar were held in the district of Kaysone in the southern province of Savannakhet on October 31 and November 1 for 30 vegetable farm workers (informal-sector workers).

After opening addresses, Director Teruhiko Sekiguchi of the JILAF Thailand Office shared information on Japan’s mutual-aid system (using materials of Japan’s Zenrosai Kyokai [National Association for Workers’ Welfare and Cooperative Insurance]) and emphasized the importance of establishing and operating an SGRA cooperative society in order to stabilize the livelihoods of members. There were also lectures from an agricultural expert on organic fertilizer and from the Savannakhet branch of the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) on preparations for the establishment of an SGRA cooperative society.

After the lectures, the participants compiled plans for their future activities. Among them, there was a plan to increase the number of cooperative society members by widely publicizing the merits of organic vegetable cultivation to residents in the area. The participants confirmed their intention to implement plans on the basis of cooperation with the Savannakhet Working Committee.

On November 2–3 a seminar on the establishment of an SGRA cooperative society was held in the district of Paksong in Champasak Province for the 30 members of the coffee farming group (informal-sector workers). After opening addresses, Director Sekiguchi shared information on Japan’s mutual-aid system (using materials of Japan’s Zenrosai Kyokai) and emphasized the importance of establishing and operating an SGRA cooperative society in order to stabilize the livelihoods of members.

After the lectures, the participants discussed current issues and future activity plans, which included the establishment of a savings fund, sales to hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops in the district, and income stability through branding. They confirmed their intention to implement plans on the basis of cooperation with the Champasak Working Committee.

Nepal

On November 6 a JILAF delegation visited a literacy training center in Kathmandu in the district of Lalitpur to check learning and other conditions there. Twenty network members (mainly agricultural workers) are receiving six months of literacy training at the center, starting in September 2016. The network members made such comments as “By learning how to read and write, I have gained confidence to participate in society. From now on I want to take part in various vocational training programs.”

Regarding the project from now on, the JILAF delegation held discussions with the Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), which were also attended by Mr. Hideki Chiba, a specialist at the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; Mr. Matsuura, a WIO project coordinator; and others. (WIO is a formalization project in three South Asian countries.) Mr. Chiba and Mr. Matsuura also observed vocational training (sewing) in Bhaktapur and held discussions with the Bhaktapur branch of the NTUC.

Thailand

On November 16 a meeting of the Northern Working Committee, including local government officials, was held in the town of Don Kaeo in Chiang Mai Province in preparation for the implementation of vocational training for informal-sector workers facing especially difficult conditions (disabled persons and their carers). During the discussions, the municipal government of Don Kaeo and the JILAF Thailand Office concluded a memorandum on the implementation of vocational training. They confirmed that from now on details will be ironed out toward specific implementation centered on the Northern Working Committee.

Schedule

DateContents
10/31MonFollow-up meeting and Life Support Seminar in the district of Kaysone in the southern province of Savannakhet, Laos
11/01TueFollow-up meeting and Life Support Seminar in the district of Paksong in Champasak Province, Laos
11/02WedFollow-up meeting and Life Support Seminar in Kathmandu in the district of Lalitpur, Nepal
11/03ThuFollow-up meeting and Life Support Seminar in the town of Don Kaeo in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

Photos of Participants

Mutual-aid seminar for coffee farm workers in Champasak

Literacy training in Lalitpur

Ceremony for the conclusion of a memorandum in Chiang Mai