YOUNG PEOPLE FOR DEVELOPMENT 2004
Report on the Training and Exchange Program for
Rice, Globalisation and Development
RTRC, Chiang Mai, Thailand
10 – 20 July 2004
This year’s Young People for Development (YPD 2004) program held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 10-20 July 2004 was organised as a follow up to the successful first Young People for Development program held in Thailand from 7 – 25 August 2003 (YPD 2003)1.
The initital objectives of this program were threefold:
- To form core groups in each participating country of young people interested in becoming active in promoting solidarity and development in their own local area;
- To build a network of young people actively engaged in working for development in SE Asia;
- To develop an ongoing plan of action and training for the members of the respective core groups.
Following YPD 2003, local YPD initiatives blossomed in several countries, including:
A training program in December for 30 young Karens from the refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border, from inside Burma and Thai Karens. This resulted in the launching of the Young Karen People for Development (YKPD) network. Further local training programs are planned in the coming months.
A training program modelled on YPD 2003 for 30 young people organised by the Catholic diocese of Shenyang in northern China.
Launching of local YPD groups in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam;
A decision by the Rice Merit Movement working with hill tribe ethnic communities in northern Thailand to launch a program to involve young people in working for development;
Creation of a Paris YPD group (Jeunes acteurs du développement)
This success of YPD 2003 led to a growing number of enquiries from other groups interested in participating in future YPD programs. At an evaluation of the YPD 2003 program held in Bangkok on 20 March, 2004, it was decided to go ahead in planning YPD 2004 as a follow up to YPD 2003 with a focus on developing leadership for the growing YPD network. In the context of International Rice Year 2004, the theme chosen was Rice, Globalisation and Development. A YPD 2004 Coordinating Team was formed to prepare the program in partnership with the Rice Merit Movement, a network of ethnic groups in northern Thailand with links to the Resource and Training Centre for Religio-Cultural Community (RTRC) in Chiang Mai.
The YPD program is based on the simple idea that young people each have a vital role to play personally and collectively in contributing to world development. This role is particularly critical in developing countries with a large youth population in the midst of rapid social, cultural and economic transformations in the context of globalisation. The overall objective then of YPD is to enable young people to come together at local, national, regional and eventually international level to discover their role, to gain the skills and experience necessary to make their own unique contribution to development.
Building from YPD 2003, the specific objectives of YPD 2004 were:
- To strengthen the emerging YPD teams and to encourage the formation of new teams;
- To build and strengthen co-operation and solidarity links between YPD groups especially between neighbouring countries;
- To propose a concrete plan of action and training including a 12 month thematic study-action campaign leading up to YPD 2005.
As a result of YPD 2004, the aim was to achieve the following outcomes:
Strengthen YPD Teams
YPD participants (YPD team leaders) to have the skills for animating and facilitating the development of their local group (recruitment, meeting plans and activities, see-judge-act methodology, English conversation, etc.);
Each existing YPD group to have an outline plan for its local development and action over the year 2004-2005;
Develop Co-operation and Solidarity Links
A series of bilateral exchanges to take place between neighboring countries. These will be focused around local training activities in the host country;
A YPD Co-ordinating Group to be established to co-ordinate the activities of the emerging Asian YPD network;
A pilot project for a YPD Volunteer program to be developed.
Promote Action and Training
A 12 month study-action program to be launched on the proposed theme: Rice, Globalisation and Development;
A model for local YPD training sessions to be proposed;
A plan to be proposed for adoption of a larger scale YPD 2005 program mobilising a larger group (6-10) of young people from each country and involving exchanges in several countries.
Nearly 40 participants took part in YPD 2004 including the members of the Coordinating Team:
Vietnam: 3 participants from Hanoi YPD Team; 2 participants from Vietnam YCS;
China: 2 participants from Beifang Jinde Catholic Social Centre, Shijiazhuang, Hebei; 1 participant from Xian Catholic Social Centre, Shaanxi; 2 participants from Liaoning YPD, Shenyang, Liaoning;
Burma: 2 participants from Myanmar; 5 participants from the Thai-Burma border (YKPD)
Thailand: 4 participants from the RTRC Centre in Chiang Mai
Malaysia: 3 participants including 2 Chinese students studying English in Kuala Lumpur;
Indonesia: 2 participants from the AMAN network and Indigenous Youth Movement;
Japan: 1 participant from Hiroshima;
Australia: 2 participants from Melbourne;
France: 1 participant from Paris YPD group (JAD).
The YPD 2004 Exchange and Training Program began on 10 August 2004 with an orientation for the exposure program hosted by the Rice Merit Movement (RMM). The RMM is active in over 300 villages in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces. It began over 20 years as a result of the work of Fr Niphot Thianvahn and the Research and Training Centre for Religio-Cultural Community (RTRC).
Operating on a religio-cultural model of developing social action, the RMM has successfully mobilised many Karen ethnic villages, establishing rice banks in these villages and a solidarity program among the participating communities. The RMM is now extending its action to other indigenous ethnic communities, notably the Akha and Lahu.
Thirty YPD participants were divided into 5 groups to visit 5 different ethnic villages (Karen 2, Lahu 2, and Lowland Thai) where they were hosted by the RMM network of each village over 3 days from 11-14 July 2004.
Training Program: Rice, Globalisation and Development
The YPD training program followed the exposure program and was held at the Research and Training Centre for Religio-Cultural Community (RTRC) at Chiang Mai in northern Thailand from 15 – 19 July 2004.
The program was as follows:
Day 1: Experience with the Rice Merit Movement (RMM): introduction to the program and feedback and reflection on exposure program experience
Day 2: Experience of development at national and local levels in the light of the RMM model
Day 3: Values for development: Towards a global ethic, plus reflection on the work of the World Social Forum (WSF)
Day 4: Leadership for the YPD network: Organising a local and international YPD network
Day 5: Priorities for action at local, national and international level
Several resource persons assisted at various sessions:
- Fr Niphot Thianhavn and the RMM leadership team (Mr Chai and Mr Ligei): The religio-cultural approach to development
- Ms Chanida Bamford, Focus on the Global South, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok: World Social Forum
- Mr Darwis Khudori, Indonesia: Bandung Non-Aligned Movement 50th anniversary program 2005
Plans were made for a number of initiatives:
Local YPD Teams: It is hoped that new YPD teams will be established in Chiang Mai Thailand, Hiroshima Japan; Kalimantan Indonesia, Shijiazhuang and Xian China, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Melbourne Australia and Yangon Myanmar.
YPD International Coordinating Team: A new YPD Coordinating Team was established with one person per country. (See below.)
Volunteer Program: Efforts will be made to develop the YPD Volunteer program:
A short-term volunteer will be sought to work for around 3 months with young people from the Chiang Mai area
Longer-term English teacher volunteers will also be sought to be based at RTRC and holding English courses in various countries according to need.
Local Development Projects:
Hanoi YPD: Will initiate a development program with young people from Hoa Binh province.
YKPD: Will initiate a training program for young people inside Burma in the border towns near Myawaddy and possibly in Yangon.
Malaysia: Contacts will be made with Orang Asli (indigenous people) in Malaysia.
YPD Bike Ride: It was decided to hold a YPD Fundraising Bike Ride to take place along the Thai-Burma border in February 2005.
YPD 2005: Three countries offered to host YPD 2005: Vietnam, China and Indonesia. A final decision will be made by the new YPD Coordinating Team in September 2004.
YPD Newsletter: A newsletter will also be established in the coming months.
YPD International Coordinating Team
YPD 2004 was organised by a voluntary Coordinating Team:
Ms Rungtip Imrungruang, Treasurer, Cardijn Lay Community, Thailand,
Mr Rungrote Tangsurakti, Coordinator, Cardijn Lay Community, Thailand
Fr. Niphot Thianvihan, Director of Research and Training Center for Religio-Cultural Community
Mr William Aung Win Shwe, coordinator Young Karen People for Development (YKPD)
Mr Stefan Gigacz, Secretary, Cardijn Lay Community, Malaysia
Mr Saw Blut, Ph. D. student, Myanmar
Ms Nguyen Thu Giang, Hanoi YPD Team, Vietnam
Sr Francis Xia Xia Lei, Beifang Jinde, Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China
The new YPD International Coordinating Team was chosen on the basis of one person per country:
Vietnam: Ms Pham Thai Hong Van (Annie)
China: Ms Christina Bai Ying Guang
Indonesia: Ms Mina Susana Setra
Burma/Myanmar: Mr Greg Mahn Htun/Mr William Aung Win Shwe
Thailand: Ms Chanika Buala
Japan: Mr Masao Koyanagi
Australia: Ms Catherine Noone
France: Mr Jean-Joseph Christophe
YPD 2004 was financed from the following sources:
Self-financing: Participants from industrialised countries paid a contribution of $250 per person
Cardijn Lay Community:
Funds from YPD 2003: The remaining costs were met from the funds in hand after YPD 2003.
In conclusion, YPD 2004 was a very successful event, consolidating the YPD network and making many plans for the future.
Certainly, there is much work to be done for the future but a YPD movement definitely seems to be taking shape.
1 YPD 2003 was organised and sponsored by several organisations: Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Thailand, Karen Youth Leadership and Management Training Program (KYLMTP), Maesot, Thailand; Beifang Jinde, China; Solidarity and Development Group Vietnam and Cardijn Liaison Committee (now Cardijn Lay Community). It was sponsored by CCFD France.