The Organization of American States is holding a training program at Kasetsart University in June on community-based microfinance. Participants from each of the member countries of the OAS will attend this program to learn about The six-week program includes topics ranging from self-help groups to financial ratio analysis. All participants receive a scholarship for a round-trip ticket, tuition and books in order to attend this course. For more information, please see this link. 0 comments
09 April, 2009
Japan Embassy Supports Thai Microfinance
The Government of Japan is extending grant assistance under the Grassroots Human Security Projects scheme (GGP) to the "Micro Credit for Low Income Families on the Thai-Burmese Border" project. Kyoji Komachi, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Thailand, and Sakda Netek, Director of the Kwai River Christian Hospital Staff Self-Help Group, signed a contract on March 12, 2009 at the Embassy of Japan. An influx of people into Thai territory from the neighboring country of Myanmar due to its unstable political situation and aggravated economic conditions is bringing about a further increase of non-Thai residents along the border areas. Non-formal migrants have to pay for medical services they receive at their own cost, as they fall outside the official Thai healthcare system. However, they often fail to do so or, at best, can cover only part of the expense. Against this background, in 2005 some staff of the Fuaimarai hospital located in Sangklaburi district of Kanchanaburi province started a microcredit scheme by setting up a self-help group to cope with their urgent daily needs. The Government of Japan has decided to provide a total of 2,969,000 baht (US$83,545) to cover funds for a microcredit scheme for low income earners. The assistance will enable low income hospital staff and other local residents to join the scheme.
April 6, 2009 A group of women from the Mae Taeng district in Chiang Mai disbursed their first dividend today - a 46% return on members' savings. Last April, the group joined together to form their own savings and credit program. Rather than paying the local lending company 5% per month in interest, the women chose to start lending to themselves at 2% per month. Not only did it provide cheaper loans but an annual dividend meant that the village would profit from the loans.
Village Banking is commonly used by NGOs and MFIs who are involved in microfinance activities in Thailand. It has been proven to work in nearly every region of the country where rural populations reside. SED, an affiliate of the Catholic Relief Services, runs a highly successful program in Surin province with over 8000 clients. Other organizations, such as Common Interest and and PDA have similar programs that are attracting international attention.
Locally, money lenders are called "Helmet Men" for the simple reason that they usually ride motorcycles and wear very large (and dark) helmets. Helmet Men work in most areas and continue to drain a community of resources. With Village Banking, the hope is that this stops and that local communities can profit from their own efforts. 0 comments