INCOME GENERATION AND LIVELIHOOD UPDATES
Assessment of WEAVE’s Income Generating Initiatives
WEAVE facilitated an assessment of its women’s economic empowerment program in the 3 refugee camps on the Thai-Burma borders. Among the focus of the assessment included, finding out the impact of WEAVE’s Income Generation activities on well-being as well their level of dependence on camp ration, whether they are fully, partly or dependent only on the ration. Response from the women shows that they are neither fully or partly dependent on camp ration. But they admitted that they could not yet survive without the ration.
The study found out that “more than the issue of dependence on external aid, the reasons why the refugees are depending on the ration is largely a consequence of their forced immobility and restricted existence in the camp. The fact that they risked leaving the camp to find food is an indication that they are willing to fend for themselves, albeit, it is as well possible that working outside is mainly to fill in the insufficient aid relief”.
Currently, over 100 artisans from Umpiem Mai, Mae La and Mae Ra Moo are involved in this project and are benefitting from the safe income and employment activites. If you wish to have a copy of the report, kindly get in touch with Ms. Mitos Urgel, WEAVE Director at [email protected]
Embroidery Training at Umpiem Mai
In order to improve the quality of craft-based hand-woven products, WEAVE constantly provide capacity building training to women artisans to meet this objective. From August 25 to 28, 2009, 20 women from Umpiem Mai Camp, in Tak Province participated in an embroidery skills training. The training was made to increase number of women embroiders; allow them to learn embroidery skills and improve their craft and hopefully avail of equal opportunity to earn safe income.
The 4-day training provided a good learning environment for the women to practice their skills on embroidery. They were simply grateful to have been given such training opportunity. As one training participant puts it, “before I only appreciate embroidered patterns and thought that it is a difficult tasks, never did I know that I will learn how do it myself. The training was very useful for someone like me who doesn’t have proper education and don’t have access to training in the refugee camp”.
Women’s Livelihood Workshop in WSP
On August 19, 2009, a livelihood workshop was conducted by WEAVE’s IGP trainer for Women Study Program (WSP) in Karenni Camp1 to discuss the situation of women in regards to available work in the refugee camps, identify issues/risks and vulnerabilities of women due to their inability to earn income. This activity is part of WSP’s school activities to learn about Women’s Issues and Development. WSP as part of its community outreach will work with the community in ascertaining livelihoods priorities and develop small-scale income earning projects.
Vocational and Livelihood Opportunities for Karenni women
WEAVE visited JRS Vocational Training – Non-Formal Education (VT-NFE) in Karenni Camp1 and met with Sr. Rachel Bade, F.I, VT-NFE Coordinator and the Assistant Project Coordinator Mr. Jack Kaola, Coordinator to discuss about possible collaboration in furthering vocational opportunities for Karenni women in Mae Hong Son province. JRS is extending vocational training courses to over 4,000 Karenni refugees in Camp1 and Camp2 since early 2006. Together with the Karenni Education Department, they train and provide material assistance to refugees in order to apply what they learn and hopefully generate small income. In 2008, WEAVE started to collaborate with the program to support the income generation activities of KNWO in Camp2 especially on technical and material assistance of 3 community projects namely weaving, sewing and knitting. Among the items that VT-NFE produces includes: decorative and scented candles, medicinal balms and oils, decorative flowers and shoes and bags out of recycled materials.
Peace Education Workshop in Karenni Camp1
WEAVE was invited by the Karenni National Women’s Organization (KNWO) to facilitate a workshop to review the organization’s peace education work and to come up with a framework that will define KNWO’s thrusts and direction of its peace work in the context of Karenni/Burmese struggle towards democracy. Approximately, 30 women and men attended the 1-day workshop last August 27, 2009 in Karenni Camp1 which also looked at the current situation of women and gender based violence in the Karenni refugee camps and the current activities of KNWO.
Participants of the workshop included representatives from the Women Study Program (WSP), a WEAVE-KNWO joint program which provides 10 months course to 30 young women on Women’s Issues and Development, Community Organizing and Mobilization as well as Peace Education; Nursery School and KNWO camp committees and other projects such as: Women’s Crisis Center and RAT.
Regional Livelihoods Workshop
WEAVE through its 2 representatives, Mitos Urgel (Director) and Dawa Saharatanapan (Women Capacity Development Training Officer) attended a livelihoods workshop organized by the Women’s Refugee Commission from August 11 to 13, 2009 at BangkokThailand.
The workshop was participated in by various livelihoods practitioners, UN agencies and academe. The highlight of the workshop was to discuss the recently released Field Manual entitled Building Livelihoods: A Field Manual for Practitioners in Humanitarian Settings. The first-ever comprehensive guide is designed to assist field – based programmers and practitioners in designing and implementing more effective economic interventions for displaced people.
Download the Manual. Click Here.
ECD Staff Attends 1st Regional Leadership Training on Children’s Rights, Child Protection and Child Participation
WEAVE was lucky to participate at the 1st Regional Leadership Training on Children’s Rights, Child Protection and Child Participation organized by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) in partnership with Save the Children-UK. The 10 day leadership training course from August 17 to 27, 2009 in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand was conducted in order to enhance the leadership capacity of key stakeholders in the Region and to enrich their creative skills in delivering services through creative drama, creative writing, visual arts, creative sounds and music, and creative body movement.
This training has particular importance to WEAVE work, as an organization that promote and uphold child’s rights and early childhood development and specially working with displaced children and communities in temporary shelters (refugee camps) on the Thai-Burma border. The training allowed the participants to share their experiences, knowledge and perspectives on children’s rights. It also provided open and dynamic space for sharing, leveling-off and analyzing critical issues in the Greater Mekong Sub-region as basis for developing children’s advocacy agenda.
WEAVE’s representative shared that she learned a lot about the situation of children in the GMS and the current practices and tools in addressing their issues including protection systems. Moreover, the opportunity to observe the project of the Foundation for Child in Bangkok provided her with insight to her on how to create creative space for children in an enclosed place such as the refugee camps.
Two Staff attend PSAE workshop
The Prevention of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (PSAE) workshop took place on August 7, 2009 at Ibis Hotel, Bangkok. It was attended by Misses Jovelyn Castro and Lalita Yawangsan and the workshop was primarily aimed at incorporating PSAE among the partners’ HR procedures.
The workshop involved presentations of organizations that incorporated PSAE in their company HR procedures/policies. The reports showed the challenges and successes encountered by the various implementing organizations.
Assessment to improve the implementation of PSAE was likewise made by the participants towards the end of session to prevent the occurrence of sexual abuse and exploitation among the partner organizations and its beneficiaries.
3 New Full-Time WEAVE Staff
WEAVE is pleased to welcome Kamchart Songsaeng (Chart), Mako Rakarsrom (Kaw Kaw) and Nantikan Sinpornloed (See) for making it as WEAVE full-time staff.
Chart works as the Office Assistant in Mae Hong Son, Kaw Kaw as Production Assistant in Mae Sot and See as Shop Manager in WEAVE-TTC Fair Trade Shop in Mae Sot.
Congratulations Chart, Kaw Kaw and See!
Special thanks to our sponsors and kindred individuals: Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Netherlands; Terre des Hommes, Germany in Southeast Asia; Refugee International, Japan; EMpower; Global Fund for Children; Stephanie Bernstein; Thai Tribal Craft; Australian Business Volunteers; Greater Good Foundation.
WEAVE accepts donations and grants and will match up funds up to 5,000 baht. Proceeds will be used to fund innovative and supportive projects of women’s and community based organizations that promote development and empowerment.