Some Ideas on Guidelines for
Local Community Empowerment

National Policy Goals

The national policy goals with community empowerment for response to the crisis could be articulated as follows on the basis of the policy framework of the NSPC and the crisis-management policies of the Royal Thai Government:

  1. To create local employment for those who have lost jobs as a result of the crisis or other factors.
  2. To create income-earning opportunities for people who have lost income or livelihoods.
  3. To ensure continuing education of all school-aged children and youth at acceptable levels of performance.
  4. To maintain community health and wellbeing standards.
  5. To strengthen the community safety net to ensure minimum basic quality of life to all members of the community.
  6. To maintain public security and safety by dealing effectively with other crisis impacts, such as possible increases in drug use, crime and violence in the community.
  7. To encourage and nurture good governance at the local level with open, participatory decision-making processes that build public trust, accountability and transparency, effectiveness and efficiency.
  8. To reinforce community self-reliance in continuing on a path of sustainable development, providing a clean, caring and peaceful environment for people to pursue their aspirations, live in happy families and contribute creatively to the development of Thai society and culture.

Community-level Process

Situation Analysis

Based on a participatory rapid appraisal of the situation in the community, assisted by the Tambon Core Team, the BMN and Village Development data will be updated to reflect the impacts of the crisis on the village in the areas of the national policy goals. This would involve as a minimum, data on the following:

  1. The number of unemployed people in the village
  2. The number of households living below the poverty line for the village
  3. The number of out-of-school children and youths
  4. The number of returned migrants from the cities
  5. HIV/AIDS incidence in the community
  6. Other health-related statistics, such as infant and/or maternal mortality
  7. Nutritional levels for under 5 children
  8. Evidence of increases in alcohol and drug abuse and drug trafficking, crime and violence, particularly against women, including family conflicts
  9. Increases in levels of private debt
  10. Environmental health indicators available in the village.

All data on people should provide a breakdown by age, sex, education and occupation. Current statistical data should be compared with 1997 or 1996 data where available, as a baseline to measure the crisis impacts and future progress with recovery.

Community Plans

The community plans should identify three components:

  1. A self-reliance plan identifying things the community or the community-based groups could do without any outside help.
  2. A partnership plan identifying initiatives the community can take only with the help of outside partners, such as funding from outside sources, and technical assistance from the Tambon Core Team and others.
  3. An advocacy plan that identifies initiatives that are critical to their ability to overcome the crisis, but are beyond their own capacity and jurisdiction as a community, for which they can appeal to others to do.

A simple format for the community plans will be suggested so that all categories of essential information for funding, implementation and monitoring are provided and priorities are clearly established.

How to achieve Good Community Governance:

    1. Openness:

      Meetings are announced in advance in the village, with time, place and agenda posted and or broadcast. All people in the village are invited. In the case of participatory planning workshops, invitations are more selective. For example, each community-based group could be invited to invite a key member, and the VC could invited a few wise people whose participation would be welcomed by the community.

    2. Accountability:

To ensure local transparency and accountability for the genuine empowerment of the community, it is suggested that there be a requirement that the community plan be certified as reflecting the will of the people of the community through open and fair participatory processes of decision-making by the following village people:

  1. Transparency

The VC will post the plan on the community bulletin board. Those parts of the plan that are approved by the TAO or higher levels, will also be posted with the budget allocated, the persons responsible for controlling the funds, any financial regulations that are of interested to the community, and the results that are to be produced.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Progress with the implementation of the plan is monitored at monthly meeting with those in charge of execution expected to report on the achievement of both the published schedule and disbursements of the budget.

The results achieved by the community in terms of the main indicators of effective response to the crisis will also be tracked on the community bulletin board.

The Tambon Core Team will facilitate outside assessments and monitoring by the TAO, DDC, PDC and CERCAP Task Force at the national level. Care shall be taken that visits to the community are scheduled to cause as little disruption of community life as possible.

The Tambon Core Team will assist the TAO with the aggregation of the baseline data in the village plans submitted to the TAO, which will become the baseline against which progress in responding effectively to the crisis will be measured in the tambon. Similarly, tambon baseline data will be aggregated at district, province and national levels to provide a national baseline profile.

Progress with the crisis response will be measured against the baseline data, using at least the following indicators:

    1. Number of jobs created
    2. Increases in household income for households/individuals supported with income-earning or livelihood initiatives
    3. Number of children returned to school
    4. Number of households provided with safety net support
    5. Any of the following indicators selected by the community:

Progress with community empowerment processes will also be monitored along the following lines:

    1. Number of Village Committee participatory workshops
    2. Number of Village Committee regular meetings
    3. Number of leaders of community-based groups participating
    4. Number of other members of the village community participating
    5. PRA results on satisfaction with the processes and results
    6. Evidence of growing community spirit and public trust.

If a respected and trusted wise person was selected a community ombudsperson, this person could perform a critical role in promoting a participatory culture in the community, monitoring it and reporting on its growth. He/she might involve other members of the community in the exercise.

Process Guidelines

For Tambon Core Team

The TCT has no orders from above to implement, except to empower the community and to support it in the process of planning, implementing and monitoring their own crisis response plan within the framework of the national policy. The policy should already be handed down to the village and community leaders by the local administration, probably at a tambon meeting.

The village head or leader is the key person to initiate action. The TCT could offer to help the community. He/she could be assisted with developing a work plan outlining all the steps to be taken to develop the community’s action plan.

This village work plan might include the following steps:

  1. A VC meeting to develop the work plan with the leaders of community-based groups and with the assistance of the TCT.
  2. A general community meeting to ensure that everyone is informed about the policy and get community input into the work plan. This could include the selection of community members to participate in the planning process.
  3. A review of the BMN and VD data sets for the village, followed by a RRA to update the information in the key indicators of the crisis impact (See above), and the analysis of the data and preparation of a background document for the community planning workshop.
  4. The open, participatory community crisis-response planning workshop, assisted by the TCT and facilitated by experienced facilitators (some of whom might be members of the TCT and/or the community)
  5. The preparation of the plan for submission to the authorities by the village task group (established for this purpose at the community workshop), with the assistance of the TCT.
  6. An open, participatory VC meeting to approve the plan and to have it signed by the required signatories for submission to the authorities.
  7. Submission of the community plan and immediate commencement of implementation of the community’s self-reliance plan that they can do without any help from the outside.
  8. Posting of the plan in the community centre, preparatory planning for the implementation of the submitted plan, making monitoring plan and related communication and public awareness raising plans.
  9. Start of implementation upon receiving approval of funding.
  10. Continuous monitoring, adjusting, reporting, celebrating and renewing efforts, always seeking the continued involvement of the community.

For the Village Leader

For Leaders of Community-based Groups

For the TAO/TC Leaders/members

For all others at higher levels

Basic Rule of Thumb: Always let the community decide

Learning empowering behaviour is a personal choice.

There are two sets of three steps each that key personnel can learn to apply in the process of fostering community empowerment:

The first set leads up to the choice to act in an empowering way. It involves becoming aware of one’s current pattern of behaviour and deciding to change it:

  1. Awareness
  2. Recognition
  3. Choice

    The second set has to do with implementing the decision and building capacity to behave consistently in an empowering way:

  4. Strategy
  5. Commitment
  6. Celebration

Achieving the first set is a fete in itself, but does not necessarily lead to changed behaviour. While the first set is essential for the sustainability of the second set, without the second set nothing changes in the long run. The two are the two sides of one coin.

No amount of training will have an effect unless the people involved themselves decide or choose to learn in this way.

Key thoughts associated with each step:

  1. Awareness: I am telling the other person what to do
  2. Recognition: I am not empowering the other person.
  3. Choice: I want to empower the other person
  4. Strategy: I will learn how to do this right all the time
  5. Commitment: I will always behave in an empowering way
  6. Celebration: I celebrate the joys of empowerment!

To trigger these steps, people can ask a few simple questions to themselves, such as:

  1. Is what I am doing or saying empowering to the other person?
  2. If not, how can I act or speak with the person so that he/she is empowered?
  3. How can I help others to act in empowering ways so that all of us gain?
  4. How can we all together celebrate the new levels of synergy that we create through empowerment?


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Dated: 28Jul1999