The Halcrow Foundation has partnered with Population and Community Development Association (PDA) – one of Thailand’s most well-established non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – to support a project that provides rural villagers with the skills, education and funding needed to escape a life of grinding poverty. PDA was set up in 1974 with the fundamental belief that local people are best suited to shape and sustain their own development. The Association has pioneered grass-roots growth marked by extensive villager involvement, not only as beneficiaries but also as planners, managers and leaders.

The Halcrow Foundation is supporting a medium-sized village in Thailand over six years, funding a range of projects planned and implemented by the community.

Administered through a village development partnership (VDP), the bulk of the Foundation’s £40,000 donation is being ploughed into projects selected by community members. Designed to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining after six years, the programme aims to instil the importance of community empowerment, and provide villagers with the confidence, as well as the physical means, to change their situation.

Community institutions are being established in the form of the village development committee and its components: the village development bank committee, the youth council, and the council of elders. A village development bank is also being established as part of the programme – an important source of credit for income-generating activities and a system that encourages saving. By gaining knowledge, business skills, having access to micro-credit and a structured framework to alleviate the root causes of their poverty, community members can play an active role in shaping their future.

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