SGRA Project in Thailand (November)

A JILAF delegation visited Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand on November 18–30, 2013, for the SGRA (Supporting Grass-Roots Activities through the International Employers’ and Workers’ Network) project, which is being implemented in these two areas.

In Bangkok, the second meeting of the Central Working Committee was held to look back on activities so far, make an interim assessment of the project, and confirm activities from now on.

In addition, Enlarged Working Committee (EWC) seminars were held for the third time in both Bangkok (25 participants) and Chiang Mai (10 participants). The purpose of the seminars this time was to study know-how concerning the establishment and registration of credit unions as a step toward the independence and livelihood improvement of informal-sector workers. Japan’s Zenrosai (National Federation of Workers’ and Consumers’ Insurance Cooperatives) cooperated, with Mr. Masao Kanemaru, head of Zenrosai’s survey and research department, and Mr. Ogasawara, deputy head of the business management department, serving as speakers.

In a special lecture titled “Toward the Building of a Mutual-Aid Scheme,” an explanation was given of the background to Zenrosai’s establishment and present conditions and the product lineup in a mutual-aid scheme, which differs in character from a system providing actual-amount compensation. In preparation for the establishment, management, and expansion of credit unions, advice was offered on such issues as (1) the formulation of a simple and easy-to-understand menu of maximum agreed amounts, such as condolence and celebratory insurance, based on a survey of needs, (2) the setting of appropriate premiums, and (3) the importance of strict contract action management and relations of mutual trust. “It is important to build up the system step by step without forgetting the basic philosophy of mutual assistance among workers,” the speaker commented, adding encouragingly that “Zenrosai will do as much as possible to support your enthusiasm.”

Speakers were also sent to the seminars in Bangkok and Chiang Mai from the Credit Union League under the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, which promotes the establishment of credit unions in Thailand. Department Chief Mr. Natthawut and Chiang Mai Branch Duty Officer Mr. Sumet gave detailed explanations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, respectively, on the establishment of credit unions and promised full cooperation in independent efforts up to establishment and registration.

At the end of the seminars, the participants formulated action plans toward the establishment of credit unions and presented them to the other participants.

Schedule

DateContents
11/22Fri2nd Central Working Committee Meeting
11/23Sat3rd EWC Seminar (Bangkok, Day 1)
11/24Sun3rd EWC Seminar (Bangkok, Day 2)
11/25MonSeminar preparations, etc.
11/26Tue3rd EWC Seminar (Chiang Mai, Day 1)
11/27Wed3rd EWC Seminar (Chiang Mai, Day 2)

Photos of Participants

Lecture by the Credit Union League

Group photo of EWC members in Bangkok

Group photo of EWC members in Chiang Mai