Food Relief Promotes Development Training

Northern Thailand TCD Expansion


In January, our team began the Transformational Community Development (TCD) assessment of the community of Mae Pa Pai, about two hours south of the city. We visited the elders, the leaders of the various committees, including the pig-raising committee and the fabric-making committee. We even met with the leader of the local Buddhist temple. The leader of the temple was happy to have us visit him and gave his approval for us to start the programme. He even said, “If anyone gives you trouble, you come see me.” When we were finished going around the community one evening, our local partner grabbed my arm and proclaimed how excited he was because for the past few years, he had not had the chance to meet many of these villagers and now he had a legitimate reason to go visit them in their homes.


In March, in Mae Pa Pai, an outbreak of COVID-19 derailed our first TCD meeting and caused many families in the community to be quarantined in their homes. As many are day labourers, this meant that they would earn no money for however long they were sick and would swiftly run out of food. Our team, along with a local community and the partnership of the local government, packed 70 bags each with enough food for a family for a week (20 were kept in reserve for future outbreaks). This relief effort was designed to both help meet a pressing need and to heighten the community’s awareness of the upcoming TCD meetings we were going to hold about development in the community.


North of Mae Pa Pai about 3 hours, in Baan Pongsa, our team continued TCD lessons with our community partners representing multiple villages.


Just north of Baan Pongsa, we visited a village called Kun Hual Wai – the hometown of one of our attendees in Baan Pongsa named Pi Pichit. Pi Pichit and two other local leaders participated in a training we held in their community on the difference between relief and development. During the training, we learnt that most of the people in the community cannot read or write (at least not proficiently) their local language of Lahu. We are currently connecting them to another organisation that specialises in Lahu literacy. Once Pi Pichit learns more about literacy in his own language, he plans to teach the community how to read and write better. Further, we connected Pi Pichit and his friend to a local agriculture organisation to learn how to build a water filtration system capable of filtering 300 litres per day and can also filter out harmful chemicals like those from fertiliser and pesticide. Pi Pichit attended the training and we plan to help him build a model system in the coming weeks.


Last year, our team conducted a training about the basics of development for dozens of community leaders online. This year, that same group has asked us to conduct a similar training for some of their co-workers. Due to the constraints of COVID-19, we had to do this training in two online sessions. We had dozens of attendees who had great discussions, many of whom seemed excited to implement the practices in their own communities. We hope to visit these places in person in the future and help them get the development work going.


Thank you!