1 19 T H A I L A N D Linking Mid-term Rehabilitation to Long-term Sustainability: Baan Tha Klang Fishing Community Co-op Shop GENERAL INFORMATION Country: Thailand Location: Ranong Province, Suksamran District Village: Tha Klang Community: Baan Tha Klang Fisherfolk Group Number of Beneficiaries: 2,000 Workshop Section: Infrastructure Capacity-building Implementing Institution: Ranong and Suksamran Fisherfolk Network Head: Mr. Prakiat Khunpol Details of Institution: Address: 90 Moo 4 Tambon Kampuan, Suksamran Sub-district, Ranong 85120, Thailand Tel.: (+ 66) Implementation Period: February 2007-January 2008 Budget: $24,
2 228 VOLUME 14: EXAMPLES OF COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACHES TO RECOVERY FROM NATURAL DISASTERS: POST-TSUNAMI EXPERIENCES S U M M A R Y The aim of this project was to strengthen the ongoing, self-initiated efforts of poor fishing communities to protect their natural resource base and secure their livelihoods through a proactive approach involving both on-the-ground activities and high-level policy negotiation. A long-term community master plan is in place, with the objective of achieving sustainable development results in three areas: protection of coastal resources, mangrove management and development of human capital. The project created a new livelihood opportunity for the communities by constructing and establishing a communitybased cooperative shop. Once the construction is finished, the shop will be owned and managed by the communities, which will learn new entrepreneurial skills through real-time activities. Fishing households will buy their fishing gear and goods for daily consumption at much lower prices, and part of the profits from the shop will be used to implement activities under the community master plan to achieve the community s long-term development goal. B A C K R O U N D A N D J U S T I F I C AT I O N Baan Tha Klang is located on the Andaman Sea coast in Ranong Province. It has 130 households and a population of around 700. Situated between a national park and the Thailand-Myanmar transboundary sea, the villagers of Baan Tha Klang and a few neighbouring villages have limited access to farmland and can fish only in a limited coastal zone. Most villagers are small-scale fishermen who still use traditional fishing gear, which is more environmentally friendly (fig. 1). Figure 1 Baan Tha Klang fisherfolk at their work. During the past 20 years, however, there has been an increasing use of destructive fishing tools by large-scale fishing boats for export-oriented purposes. As they were refrained from entering the Myanmar sea zone, these commercial fishing boats moved closer to the narrow coastal areas, resulting in a sharp decline in coastal resources; many aqua species were damaged by destructive fishing tools. The livelihood of small-scale fishing households was adversely affected as their income relied heavily on coastal natural resources. It was estimated that before 1996, almost every fishing household in Baan Tha Klang and its neighbouring villages had been indebted for approximately 40,000-60,000 baht per household. Many of these households had sold their boats and fishing gear and had gone to sell their labour in town.
3 Linking Mid-term Rehabilitation to Long-term Sustainability: Thailand 229 In 1996, a small number of fisherfolk from Baan Tha Klang and nearby villages organized themselves into the Baan Tha Klang Fisherfolk Network. The primary objective of the Network was to protect their coastal natural resources, and several activities have been implemented since then. For example, speedboats were sent around coastal areas to keep a watch on big fishing boats with destructive fishing practices and notify the police. When commercial fishing boats proposed, through a Member of Parliament, to change the restricted fishing zone for big boats from 3,000 to 1,000 metres offshore, the Network was successful in engaging the Provincial Fishery Authority to stand on its side and reject the proposal. In addition to coastal protection, the Network also kept a watch on its mangrove forest and coordinated with the official authority when official logging was found. It also trained women and youth groups in livelihood activities that are non-threatening to the environment. A master plan was formulated to guide the direction of long-term development of the fishing communities in the area. The tsunami of December 2004 caused severe damage to Baan Tha Klang and several villages in the Network. One hundred fifty-one people were killed, 100 houses were washed away and more than 400 fishing boats were damaged. The Network coordinated with various donors for immediate relief. However, when it came to longer-term rehabilitation, assistance from these donors seemed to be insufficient and not effectively planned. Most of the assistance from outside did not build on the community s existing mechanisms nor did it involve the community in the design and planning process. As a result, many affected households could not fully benefit from the assistance while some activities could not be sustained in the longer run because they were implemented with no genuine community participation. The plan to build a community cooperative shop was an exception, however. The decision was taken through a consultative process with all households and was facilitated by the Baan Tha Klang Fisherfolk Network, which is a homegrown community-based organization (CBO). This project is so special. It responds to our immediate financial needs and also secures our future. I m so excited to see the shop open. The community realized that the co-op shop would be beneficial to it in both the shorter and longer terms. One year after the tsunami, coastal resources had gradually recovered and the villagers were ready to go back to the sea. They needed new fishing boats and fishing gear. Besides, the benefit from the shop would enable them to pursue their activities under the master plan to achieve their long-term goals. O B J E C T I V E S A villager of Baan Tha Klang The project was perceived as an important add-on component of the community s
4 230 VOLUME 14: EXAMPLES OF COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACHES TO RECOVERY FROM NATURAL DISASTERS: POST-TSUNAMI EXPERIENCES ongoing activities under the master plan. It had three specific objectives: to construct a building that could be used to support the community s self-help initiatives such as a cooperative shop, meeting rooms and a centre for other development activities; to reduce time and costs in purchasing fishing gear from outside private shops; and to strengthen community social infrastructure by involving the community in the learning process through project planning and implementation. O U T C O M E S In addition to these objectives, the following expected outcomes were identified: fisherfolk in Baan Tha Klang and nearby communities could buy fishing gear and goods for daily consumption from the community co-op shop at lower prices; the fisherfolk network would have a permanent coordinating centre to support its self-initiated development activities. The building would be used as a venue for activities such as training for youth and women s groups and the monthly meeting of the Fisherfolk Network to monitor ongoing activities and discuss new activities as needs emerged; and community self-organization and management capacity would be enhanced through the management of the co-op shop. A C T I V I T I E S, A C H I E V E M E N T S A N D I M PA C T A C T I V I T I E S A N D A C H I E V E M E N T S Key activities of the project can be grouped into two categories: activities for the construction of the building and activities for the operation of the cooperative shop. Activities for the construction of the building were as follows: identifying a location for the building and buying the land from the Network s account; planning for the construction and establishing the construction committee; preparing the engineering and building design. The building is designed to be suitable for the local environment. It will have sufficient windows for the natural circulation of air and will use energy-saving light bulbs; no air conditioner will be installed. The building will have two storeys that are 5 metres by 15 metres. The lower floor will be a co-op shop while the upstairs rooms will be used for meetings and training; procuring construction materials by the construction committee; contracting local builders from the community;
5 Linking Mid-term Rehabilitation to Long-term Sustainability: Thailand 231 monitoring the progress by the construction committee and sharing information among the Network and community members; conducting the final inspection of the building; and holding an opening ceremony (religious rite and public opening). Activities for the operation of the cooperative shop were as follows: setting up a committee to oversee the operation of the shop; mobilizing funds to run the co-op shop by selling shares to community and Network members; drafting rules and regulations for the operation, which will be done through a participatory process where all members are invited to a meeting to discuss different possibilities and eventually agree on the best alternative; and hiring local staff to carry out the day-to-day operation of the shop. Construction of the building started at the end of August 2007, with 30 per cent completed at the time of writing of the case study report. The promotion on the selling of shares is ongoing. T H E P R O C E S S Strengths and Weaknesses The project is relevant to the needs of the community and builds on the existing structure and ongoing, self-initiated activities, ensuring its long-term sustainability. It was planned and implemented through a genuine participatory process, facilitated by a CBO that has proven, long-standing experience in sustainable natural-resource protection and livelihood development. The concept of running a community cooperative shop as an alternative business is relatively new to most fishing households in the community. Therefore, the activities had to be implemented gradually to ensure full commitment from them in the longer term. This resulted in the delay in the project implementation and most activities were behind schedule. P R O J E C T P L A N N I N G A N D D E S I G N T H E P R O C E S S Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) exercises were conducted among different stakeholder groups in the village. Household representatives were divided into a religious leader s group, a men s group, a women s group and a youth group. Each group was facilitated through PRA exercises to: assess the impact of the tsunami on the whole community and the impact of the assistance received to date; assess past development activities under the community master plan and their impact; and identify gaps that needed further development and support.
6 232 VOLUME 14: EXAMPLES OF COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACHES TO RECOVERY FROM NATURAL DISASTERS: POST-TSUNAMI EXPERIENCES The results from all groups were presented to the plenary, followed by a discussion before the meeting came to a consensus that: in the past, the community had concentrated its efforts on protecting natural resources, which were its main source of livelihoods. It had made progress, which had resulted in a significant increase in fish stocks in the past few years. The amount of fish caught also had increased and several households had been able to pay part of their debts; and to reduce risks associated with small-scale fishing that might arise in the future, the community would like to have an alternative source of income through community enterprises. The idea of setting up a community cooperative shop was therefore proposed and discussed at length. After the tsunami, many boats and fishing gear were damaged. Almost every household in the village felt that it had spent more money than it should have to buy new fishing gear because it had had to go to private shops outside the area. This required much more money as well as time for travelling so to have a co-op shop owned and managed by the community itself would be beneficial in many ways. It would reduce a household s time and cost to purchase fishing and other goods for daily consumption. Profits from the shop would be given back to its members as dividends. Part of the profit could also be allocated to support the implementation of the community s activities under its long-term master plan. The community would have a permanent building for its meetings and training. Most important of all, it would learn new entrepreneurship and negotiation skills and it could sell its seafood products collectively for better prices. After a comprehensive discussion, a joint decision was taken to use the South- South Grants Facility (SSGF) grant to construct a building for the cooperative and to mobilize money from community members to set up the shop. R E P R E S E N TAT I V E N E S S As the cooperative will benefit several villages within the Network, one representative from each village is required to sit on the construction committee. Most of the representatives are women. Local builders and labourers were also recruited from the communities. For the operation of the cooperative shop, local staff would be hired and a group of committees from all villages would be established to oversee the operation of the shop. S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y The project has been integrated into the community development master plan; hence, its activities will be continued beyond the project phase. Moreover, the Baan Tha Klang Fisherfolk Network, which has a core role in the project, will soon be linked to the Ranong and Suksamran Fisherfolk Network (a
7 Linking Mid-term Rehabilitation to Long-term Sustainability: Thailand 233 province-based network) and the Assembly of Andaman Fisherfolk (an ecology-based network) in order to pursue joint efforts to achieve the following ultimate goals: marine species along the Andaman coast are rehabilitated; community mangrove forests are well protected and coastal ecology is kept in good condition; the livelihoods of small-scale fishing communities are secured; no destructive fishing tools are used; land-based pollution from industry and aquaculture is kept to the minimum; management of coastal resources takes into account the need for sustainable livelihoods of smallscale fishing communities and their participation in policy formulation and implementation; and a mechanism for collective coastal-resource management is established among communities within the same ecosystem. E VA L U AT I O N The community used informal meetings as a means of monitoring project activities against the plan. Through an ongoing action-reflection process, the communities learned to improve their ability to manage an infrastructure project and developed analytical skills to draw lessons learned. P A R T N E R S H I P S I M P L E M E N T I N G I N S T I T U T I O N The project is implemented by the Ranong and Suksamran Fisherfolk Network, a local CBO whose objective is to promote the community s participation in sustainable coastal-resource management at two levels: policy formulation and on-the-ground implementation. In 2005, it received a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) to strengthen the community s capacity in participatory, sustainable coastal-resource management. Baan Tha Klang was one of four communities that benefited from this grant. After the tsunami, the Ranong and Suksamran fisherfolk continued to provide support to Baan Tha Klang through their provincial- and regional-level network, particularly the delivery of immediate relief services. From 2006 onwards, the focus of the Ranong and Suksamran Fisherfolk Network was on mid- and long-term rehabilitation of the community. Its roles in this project include facilitating the participatory planning process, giving technical advice on the construction and management of the cooperative, linking the community with outside partners or agencies for technical support, facilitating learning and knowledge-sharing among participating villages, and monitoring project progress. R O L E O F G O V E R N M E N T The Suksamran Tambon Administrative Organization participated in the PRA
8 234 VOLUME 14: EXAMPLES OF COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACHES TO RECOVERY FROM NATURAL DISASTERS: POST-TSUNAMI EXPERIENCES process and approved the design of the building and its construction shortly after the proposal had been submitted. As a result of its participation in earlier community meetings, it had a better understanding of the project proposal and the community s aspirations. Other line agencies such as a districtbased cooperatives office will provide technical training on managing the cooperative shop, and a study visit to model cooperatives may be conducted. N G O PA R T N E R S H I P S Through the implementing CBO, the Baan Tha Klang community is linked with other CBOs in Phang Nga Province along the same Andaman coast mostly for knowledge-sharing and policy advocacy, which is part of the community master plan. With regard to the construction and management of the specific cooperative shop, the role of other NGOs is not evident. C H A L L E N G E S A N D C O N S T R A I N T S From a development perspective, this project could potentially address the following challenges. I N F R A S T R U C T U R E A N D F I N A N C I N G The community will have a permanent building for its cooperative shop where the villagers can buy fishing gear and goods for daily consumption at lower prices. The villagers will learn to mobilize funds among themselves to manage a community enterprise (the co-op shop) for mutual benefit. Part of the profit from the co-op shop will be given back to its members as dividends and the rest will go into a community development fund to support the implementation of its master plan. The building will also be used as a community meeting and activity centre. H U M A N C A P I TA L Through the operation of the cooperative shop, the community will learn how to manage a business. It will also realize the need to cooperate and work collectively to help itself. MARKETS AND PRODUCTIVE CAPACIT Y With better fishing boats and fishing gear, it is envisaged that the productivity of the community will increase and that selling the seafood through cooperatives will ensure more secured and better prices as it bypasses private middlemen. R E G U L AT O R Y A N D I N S T I T U T I O N A L F R A M E W O R K Eventually, it is expected that the Baan Tha Klang Fisherfolk Network will synergize with the Ranong and Suksamran Fisherfolk Network (at the provincial level) and play a more active role in policy debate. Their synergized efforts in the rehabilitation of coastal resources will be
9 Linking Mid-term Rehabilitation to Long-term Sustainability: Thailand 235 more evident and the public and government sectors will be aware of them. in dealing with more complex problems as they move on. L E S S O N S L E A R N E D R E P L I C A B I L I T Y The following key lessons learned were identified by the project: Assistance projects could achieve more relevant results if they were planned with community participation through genuine participatory methods. In this project, the PRA exercises were conducted separately with different stakeholder groups to ensure that their diverse needs were sufficiently addressed. A one-village, one-time approach could have long-term and sustained impact if it built on ongoing activities of the community and used existing community social infrastructure (e.g., groups, networks) as a mechanism for its implementation. In this way, the project activity could be continued as part of the overall community development programme beyond the project phase. In order for any development activity to be sustainable, the process of its implementation is as important as the products themselves. Through continuous learning by doing and a process of reflection, the communities will accumulate new knowledge and lessons learned, which will eventually improve their skills and enhance their capacity The concept of a community cooperative shop has been shared with other villages within the Ranong and Suksamran Fisherfolk Network. It has the potential for replicability as several fishing villages are facing the same problems of rising costs of fishing gear and lack of negotiating power for better pricing of their seafood. A community-based co-op shop would provide them with access to less expensive fishing tools and goods for daily consumption. Selling sea products collectively through the cooperative would also ensure better prices as the middlemen are bypassed and all the profits go directly to the community. F U T U R E P L A N S The following activities will be implemented as soon as the construction of the building has been completed: mobilization of funds by selling shares to villagers in Baan Tha Klang and nearby villages at 100 baht per share; conduct of training and an exposure trip for the cooperative committee; recruitment of local staff to handle day-to-day matters of the cooperative;
10 236 VOLUME 14: EXAMPLES OF COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACHES TO RECOVERY FROM NATURAL DISASTERS: POST-TSUNAMI EXPERIENCES setting up of the cooperative shop and start of its operation; and allocation of 40 per cent of the profit from the shop to support the implementation of other activities under the community master plan to protect coastal resources and secure the livelihoods of the community in the longer term. P U B L I C A T I O N S A N D R E F E R E N C E S Unofficial Documents for Internal Project Use Baan Tha Klang Fisherfolk Network Master Plan (2005). Poonsin Sreesangkom, National Coordinator, South-South Grants Facility in Thailand. Contacts: Case Study Documented by: Ms. Walaitat Worakul Project Contact: 90 Moo 4 Tambon Kampuan, Suksamran Sub-district, Ranong 85120, Thailand Baan Tha Klang Fishing Community Co-op Shop, project mid-term report (2007). Memorandum of Understanding between UNOPS and Ranong and Suksamran Fisherfolk Network (2007). Progress Report on the Implementation of the Phase Two SSGF Projects in Thailand (2007). Field Interviews: Key Interviewees Prakiat Khunpol, head, Ranong and Suksamran Fisherfolk Network, and the Project Coordinator. Project beneficiaries in Baan Tha Klang.