Sustainable Community-Based River Basin and Coastal Management in Trang

Sustainable Community-Based River Basin and Coastal Management in Trang

Thailand
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ecosystems are sustainably and thus best protected and managed with collective involvement of local people/communities who have the sense of ownership with supports from social networks that provide social capital to save natural environment. Wise uses of these resources are not only for livelihoods of locals but also benefit everyone, including ecotourism visitors.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

1) Destruction and/or degradation of mangrove forests, coral reefs, seagrass beds and the coast as a whole due to forest encroachment and use of destructive fishing gears. 2) Destruction and/or degradation of sago palm forests along canals and rivers due to actions by the government's Irrigation Department and modern agriculture as a result of the government policy to promote cash crop farming 3) Lost of sources of food, thus vulnerability of food security, and lowincomes, thus poverty as consequently of problem (1) and (2). 4) Young people left their community to find job elsewhere.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Pisit Charnsnoh, the founder and Chairman of Yadfon Association, pioneered development and environment conservation by nonprofit/non-governmental organisations in Southern Thailand, establishing Yadfon Association as the first development oriented (as against welfare oriented) NPO/NGO in the region. Leaving a large international organisations to return 'home' in the south to form a small, own organisation, he was also among the first, if not the very first, Thai development worker to made best use of being a 'local' with connections, particularly kinship, knowledge of local culture and custom, and dialect to achieve effective outcomes. Yadfon Association has always been an innovator. In 1986, community forest, especially community mangrove forest, concept and practice was new to Thailand and probably in South East Asia, so innovative that it quickly became a source of learning/studies, a model that inspired many others. A symbol, in this case dugong, was innovatively used to effectively inspire actors and supporters, and mobilise actions that both protect natural resources and improve livelihoods. In 2000, Yadfon introduced holistic and systematic approach to build social capital to save and restore sago palm forests, from creating paradigms and identities, including a deep meaning but easy-to-remember slogan, for common understanding and unity building to use of learning and sharing process as an important change process instead of confrontation, and wide-ranged and continuous use of all forms of media, including mass media, while bargaining/negotiating to win or gain upper hand both in term of knowledge, meaning and interpretation, and in term of specific tangible points of concern or problems over more powerful parties. Building of a social capital for protection and management of the whole river basin from the mountainous source of water area to freshwater wetland, saline/brackish water wetland and coastal area of the river system is also unique
About You
Organization:
Yadfon Association
Section 1: About You
First Name

Gawin

Last Name

Chutima

Website
Organization

Yadfon Association

Country

, 71

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Yadfon Association

Organization Phone

66 75 219737

Organization Address

16/4 Rakchan Road, Tambon Thabthiang, Mueng District, 92000, Thailand

Organization Country

, 71

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, 71

Website URL
Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

The fisherfolks protect the sea and mangrove forests even better than responsible government agencies and consequently saving healthy environment and natural beauty for tourists, while themselves achieve food security, higher incomes and better livelihood. Young people do not have to leave their village to find job elsewhere as before and have certain things to be proud of and thus higher self esteem. The fisherfolks are also recognised by the authority, have better social status and thus have more bargaining power for financial supports and to stop projects that would have negative effects to them. People and groups from various sectors came to visit and study their achievement as model to replicate elsewhere. These villagers received several awards and are now widely known by the public, mass media, academic and like-minded people overseas. Villagers in freshwater wetland of Palian River Basin who have been working to restore and protect sago palm forests also enjoy similar impacts even at higher level as they have wider networks with unique paradigms and identities.

The fisherfolks' success in having the local authority banning destructive fishing gears and demarcating protection zone save coral reefs, seagrass beds and the sea around, not only as their healthy fishing ground but as beautiful tourist destination. Ecotourism in the area has emerged, including homestay business, and began to be publicized in tourism publications and TV documentaries domestically and internationally, featuring the coast in Trang as an ecotourism destination or 'gentler' side of Southern Thailand.

Actions

1) Get acceptance from and building trust with target groups
2) Create learning process in the community
3) Create paradigms and identities
4) Bridge target groups with potential external supporters
5) Develop projects and seek financial supports
6) Use media to disseminate news and information to the public
7) Define knowledge, meanings and interpretation
8) Run public education campaign
9) Advocate related policies
10) Initiate negotiation and create opportunities for bargaining
11) Work with local governments
12) Monitor, assess and learn lessons from work regularly

Results

1) Increase of community mangrove forest areas and communities that protect them with recognition and more supports from the government.
2) Coral reefs, seagrass beds, dugongs and the sea around are protected from degradation or destruction.
3) Remaining sago palm forests are protected, managed and wisely used.
4) Network of community organisations in each ecosystem is getting stronger and they work more closely together as one whole river basin network
5) Increasing and continuous supports from the government and other external parties
6) Having networks with other like-minded NGOs and community organisations in other provinces and other countries

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

For Yadfon Association, these factors would be more or less the same in the next three years:
- Continuous financial supports are secured.
- A team of qualified staffs is maintained (high rate of staff turnover is a common problem faced by NPOs/NGOs in Thailand).

What would prevent your project from being a success?

- Dramatic increase in the price of cash crops
- Major natural disaster of gigantic proportion

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?

Yes

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Regional Community Forestry Training Centre (RECOFTC), IUCN, Mangrove Action Project

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Partnerships are critical to the success of Yadfon Association's innovation as Yadfon is a small organisation based in a small province far from Bangkok, the power centre, and target groups are poor fisherfolks and farmers who are generally powerless or have little power. The target groups also have limited connections and capacity to network with outsiders beyond their local areas.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1) Trust from local people / target groups and external partners
2) Ability to maintain existing and getting new financial supports and qualified staff
3) Ability to maintain networks and external supports

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Recognition that the environment is best protected by local people whose livelihood and wellbeing depend on.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Pisit Charnsnoh, 69, an Ashoka Fellow and a respected Thai senior development worker, began his career with the Foundation for Thailand Rural Reconstruction Movement, credited to be the very first development NGO in the country. Pisit was among the first Thai activists who decided to leave large or established NGO and returned to their hometown to initiate a small organization based on grassroots people for the desired changes, in his case a family hometown of Trang Province in southern Thailand. He received the Goldman Environment Prize and was a Rolex Awards laureatte.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Personal contact at Changemakers

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer