UN joins hands to improve livelihood conditions in Mae Hong Son
Projects target villages to develop new partnerships and improve its craft
Muang Paem is a Karen village in the province of Mae Hong Son. It was one of the 2 target villages selected for community-based tourism under the UN Joint project for Integrated Livelihood Development.
The Community-Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I) implemented the project on the ground, coordinating participatory research and capacity-building activities from 2012 to 2014.
In November 2013, CBT-I organized a four-day tour for 14 tour operators and institutions; all participants were selected because of their demonstrated interest in community-based tourism and community-empowering projects.
Among those, Mitos Urgel, Executive Director of WEAVE, had the opportunity to meet with the skilled Karen weavers of Muang Paem. This has opened the door to a new stimulating collaboration and will provide additional livelihoods opportunities for the village women.
The province of Mae Hong Son lies in a deep valley with high complex mountain ranges in the North of Thailand, on the border of Myanmar. Over 60% of its population are members of ethnic groups, among them are Shan, Karen, Hmong, Yao, Lahu and Lisu. In 2007, the National Human Development Report for Thailand identified Mae Hong Son as the lowest province in the Human Achievement Index, with a poverty rate of 34%.
In order to improve livelihoods conditions, 8 UN agencies – WHO, UNHCR, FAO, UNIDO, UNFPA, IOM, UNDP and UNESCO - are collaborating with Thai ministries and provincial government to undertake a large development project covering the areas of agriculture, small-scale businesses, natural resources management, health, education, legal status, tourism, etc.. Ethnic minority groups have been identified as one of the key beneficiaries.
The Programme has adopted a number of delivery approaches which are also the underlying strategies for sustainable development. These include a mix of bottom-up and top-down approaches to maximize community empowerment, building effective local partnerships, multi-sectoral UN Country team work to capitalize on each agency’s specific strengths. It also emphasizes the need of using culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches and materials, to increase opportunities for the most vulnerable groups to actively participate in activities and to understand complex information disseminated and exchanged throughout the project.
1. To enhance productivity, diversify the economic base and promote small scale business/enterprise development, thereby increasing income generation of vulnerable groups (agricultural communities in remote areas, ethnic minorities, refugees in camps and migrants) in underserved areas, through capacity building and targeted skills development
2. To promote sustainable natural resource management and conservation.
3. To increase opportunities and equality in accessing social services such as health and education for vulnerable groups including migrants and camp-based refugees.
For more information, visit the main website for the UN Joint Project for Integrated Livelihood development in Mae Hong Son