National Social Policy Committee
Community Empowerment for Response to Crisis Action Plan (CERCAP)

  1. Introduction

Economic problems in Thailand have given rise to a multitude of social problems, for instance: unemployment with detrimental impact on the poor and those without adequate access to government services, income discrepancies, inequalities between urban and rural communities, problems caused by adaptation to foreign culture and by resource constraints on continuous and sustainable development. All of these problems are too large and complex to be handled by any single agency or sector. Emphasis must be given to a management process with people at the centre to ensure public benefit, and with the assistance of the private sector and local organizations.

The National Social Policy Committee has therefore agreed to adopt a holistic approach to people-centred development in accordance with the 8th National Economic and Social Development Plan and the country’s Constitution B.E. 2540 (A.D 1997) that aims at strengthening local self-government capacity within the framework of national development. This will provide a significant opportunity for responding to the crisis, using community empowerment as a major base in reducing the social impacts on the community and creating sustainable social development in the future. The government sector will play an important role in empoweering the community by shifting its former role as the initiator and implementer of development efforts to that of an instigator, promoter and participant in the devising, implementing, cooperating, and capacity upgrading of the work by the community itself, together with other parties in development, for instance families, monasteries, schools, etc.

  1. Major Policies

To solve the country’s economic problems and to steer the country towards sustainable social development, it is deemed suitable to formulate major policies in national social development as follows:

    1. In order to develop the country, a holistic approach must be used in responding to the economic crisis and to develop Thai society in a systematically balanced and evolutionary way with development in all aspects, such as the human, economic, social, political, cultural and environmental aspects, in order to render equal benefit to all.
    2. People-centred development. This is an important principle for achieving a good quality of life for all Thai people. It must be:
  1. Empowering the community, which will no longer remain passive in action plans made by others, but will become the lead agent in solving the impact of the crisis on the community and its members, focusing on the groups most affected.
  1. Creating an enabling environment that enhances effective crisis solution for the community and other parties through the support of self-reliance, not reliance on people outside the community.
  2. Supporting participatory decision-making that induces accountability and transparency convenient for monitoring at local and other levels, as well as inducing public confidence to enhance crisis-solving process.
  3. Creating a strong social fabric in Thai society, consisting of the people, families, communities and civil society that have been empowered through participatory processes, and a culture of public accountability and care that will ensure sustainable and reliable social protection for the well-being of all Thai people.

The National Social Policy Committee has developed a holistic social development approach to counter the social crisis along the following lines:

  1. Social development approach through holistic community empowerment:

Holistic development provides simultaneous benefits to all parties participating, such as benefits in quality of life, economics, politics, social and environmental aspects. The strengthening of the community’s capacity in self-development is made by empowerment and creating an enabling environment that enhances such action. Participation will be provided in ideas, actions and decision-making to enable each person to join forces in making the society advance towards the common goal, using a holistic development approach with the following characteristics:

  1. Community empowerment and strengthening

Such a holistic approach requires community empowerment and strengthening. The community must be strong enough to formulate its own direction, value, self-reliant approach to life consistent with its own identity. At the same time, it must be capable of adjusting itself to meet the ever-changing outside surroundings through the following:

  1. Implementation arrangements

The holistic approach to crisis response will be implemented with the

support of working groups, comprising GOs, NGOs, and civil society organizations, in a multi-lateral approach through the process of community empowerment at the village and tambon levels.

The key implementation support vehicle is the Tambon Core Team, which will be formed by expanding the membership of the existing Tambon Development Support Workgroup, adding village wise/learned folk, volunteers and NGO staff with local experience and process expertise. The Tambon Core Team is responsible for supporting the community empowerment process with the following specific functions:

The Tambon Core Team will be supported by the following organizations at the different levels (See Figure 1):

  1. At the national level: The National Social Policy Committee with a CERCAP Sub-committee.

The CERCAP Sub-Committee will have a supervision and networking role. This sub-committee will be chaired by Khunying Supatra Masdit, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office. Sub-committee members will be appointed from concerned agencies, including an inspector from the Office of the Prime Minister, representatives of Community Development Department, Ratchapat Institute, DOLA, Permanent Secretary Offices of the MOAC, Public Health Ministry, and Primary Education Office.

Functions: Supporting the work of the Tambon Core Team, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the CERCAP.

2. At the provincial level: Provincial Development Committee

Functions: Supporting the work of the Tambon Core Team by establishing an inter-disciplinary team from concerned agencies.

3. At the district level: District Development Committee

Functions: Supporting the work of the Tambon Core Team by establishing an inter-disciplinary team.

4. At the tambon level: Tambon Administrative Organizations/Tambon Councils

Supported by the Tambon Core Team, and expanded to include representatives of NGOs, youth leaders, network leaders of farmers groups, occupational groups, savings groups, health volunteer groups, mass media for development groups, and local wise folk, etc. (See Figure 2)

Functions: Seeking ways/strategies to empower the community to respond to the crisis and implementing the CERCAP at the tambon level.

5. At the village level: Village Committees

Supported by the Tambon Core Team, and expanded to include local wise folk, school committee, monks, leaders of farmers groups, savings groups, youth groups, women’s groups, health volunteers network, mass media for development, and occupational groups, etc. (See Figure 3)

Functions: Seeking ways/strategies to empower the community to respond to the crisis and implementing the village action plan.

The operational plans for CERCAP will be formulated by using the existing provincial, district, and tambon development plans and their allocated resources as the basis. The Center for Crisis Response Synergy (CCRS), which is a holistic approach-based center for crisis resolution, will serve as a channel to facilitate information flow on village action plans from the local level to the provincial and national levels.


  1. Community Empowerment for Responding to the Crisis

The process of empowering communities to address the impacts of the crisis on the community is as follows:

  1. Empowering the Village Committee to make it the focal point in the operation according to the plan, through the following methods:
  1. The TAO/TC implement the CERCAP in the tambon by:
  1. Participating in the setting up of the Tambon Core Team for supporting the community empowerment process and providing technical assistance to the villages in all phases of the process.
  2. Supporting the networking among the TAO/TC and the VC’s in the tambon to assist one another.
  1. Cooperating with the information centre established by the Community Development Department in every tambon in provinding information to villages in the formulation of their plan of action.
  2. Reminding the TAO to keep in mind gender balance in all aspects of the operation for addressing the crisis impact.
  3. Following are key steps in the process:
  1. Budget

The budget to be used in order to meet the demand of projects/ activities/ workplan comes from existing sources such as (See Figure 4):

6. Target Areas for Demonstration Sites

Demonstration sites will be selected in the following 12 provinces under the inspection of the Office of the Prime Minister, and the BMA:








Nakhon Nayok

5 d., 2 sd. = 7




Chantha Buri

9 d. , 1 sd. = 10




Ubon Ratchan Thani

20 d., 5 sd. = 25





12 d., 2 sd. = 14




Chiang Rai

16 d., 2 sd. = 18





9 d. = 9





8 d. = 8




Nakhon Si Thammarat

21 d., 2 sd. = 23





7 d., 1 sd. = 8





16 d. = 16




Maha Sarakham

11 d., 2 sd. = 13




Nakhon Savan

12 d., 3 sd. = 15










Total 12 provinces

146 d., 20 sd. = 166



Implementation in the 12 provinces will be carried out as follows:

  1. All villages in 1 tambon in 1 district in 1 province
  1. All villages in all tambons in 1 – 3 districts in 1 province.

Within the demonstration areas, the process of learning-by-doing will take place in accordance with the required principles, procedures and steps to empower communities to respond to the crisis. This will serve as a model for other provinces that will visit and participate in the steps throughout the process. It will thus facilitate quick learning of the communities in every province.


  1. Plan of operation for Community Empowerment for Responding to the Crisis:

  1. Major Project Plans At Community Level, 1999

  1. Projects under ordinary budget: 106,959 million baht, consisting of:

    1. Projects under regional prosperity decentralizing scheme with budget allocation through the ministries and directly to tambon and communities. These are:
      1. projects under core ministries ( 8 ministries and 2 additional agencies), for manpower and capacity building, occupational development, natural resource rehabilitation and management/grouping. Total budget: 92,504 million baht.
      2. Tambon development projects, directly from the central budget to TAO and tambon council for projects on drinking water, water for household usage and agricultural purposes, occupation, income, public utilities, natural resources, environment, organization/local people development. Budget 2,000 m.b.
      3. Rural development fund executed by the Government Savings Bank for loan to people in economic undertakings. Accumulated fund will be 692 m.b. in 1999, with additional amount of 1,000 m.b. to be added by the Bank itself.
      4. Fund for service and employment decentralization to rural areas in support of economic structure that instigates community-level economy that meets the requirement of the community, Budget 500 m.b.
    1. Plan in support of tambon council and TAO through the Department of Local Administration (DOLA), Ministry of Interior, in order to render effective and efficient management of local administration agencies, development of basic economic and social structure, assistance to the people during the economic downturn, improvement of the quality of life and standard of living of rural people. Budget: 10,060 m.b.
    2. Community strengthening project under the Ministry of Interior. Budget of 200 m.b. to be used in creating realization and resource persons at the levels of province, district, tambon and locality, and the setting up of revolving fund in support of community economy.
  1. Loans in reduction of social impact. Budget for areas at TAO/community levels: 6,522 million baht
    1. Social Investment Fund (SIF) in support of community capacity building will incorporate activities on capacity building for groups/network, community income-generation development, rehabilitation/conservation/management of natural resources. Budget for implementation since 1998: 4,800 baht.
    2. Job creation in support of community capacity building with ADB loan for social structure adjustment. Budget: 1,722 million baht. Objectives: skill development, job creation for the jobless, the laid-off, unemployed graduates with residence in rural areas. This will also provide opportunities for impoverished farmers and their families to improve their skill in farming based on modern agricultural technology. At the same time, skilled technicians with appropriate technical know-how will be encouraged to work in the community, resulting in public stimulation for participation, grouping and expansion of networking in the community.


The following elements of sound design of community empowerment will be built into the CERCAP:

  1. The local community’s self-steering body (village committee, community general committee, neighbourhood association, TAO/TC, etc.) should be empowered to assume authority for making decisions about the community’s involvement.
  2. The community should select or identify its own leaders, change agents, representatives.
  3. The community decision-making should be facilitated to be open and participatory, using a simple methodology that it could continue to use in its deliberations and decision-making.
  4. The community should be empowered to analyze its own situation with regards to the impact of the crisis, develop its own plan to deal with these impacts and implement the plan itself.
  5. Support from higher levels should be enabling and facilitating rather than doing things for the community and should as far as possible be channeled through a holistic support mechanism.
  6. The community’s capacities should be strengthened through learning by doing, rather than through special training programmes preceding their participation; capacity development should be in conjunction with practical issues of their management of their own programme, including monitoring.
  7. There should be downward or horizontal accountability and transparency built into any support project, for example, by requiring that:
  1. The chain of command should be empowering to all levels, i.e., the centre empowers provinces, the province empowers districts, the district empowers tambons and the tambon empowers villages in the most complete line of delegation of authority. If any of these are eliminated in a particular province, it should be clearly so established and should be adhered to. In general, the level closest to the community should deal directly with the community.
  2. Decisions on allocation of funds to community plans and proposals should be made as close to the community as possible through the clear decentralization of financial authority to the appropriate level, either the tambon or the district. If different levels of authority are involved, e.g., requiring that proposals exceeding a certain amount have to be dealt with at the next level up, these authorities should be clearly spelled out and understood by the community.
  3. Community-based and other organizations making proposals on behalf or in the name of a community should be required to demonstrate that the community has endorsed their proposal at an open, participatory community event and that accountability to the community is built into the proposal.

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Dated: 29Jul1999