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December 2005

Announcement of a new publication

Promoting rural women's cooperative businesses in Thailand

A training kit

by Smita Premchander
and V. Prameela
in collaboration with Wim Polman

A publication of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

RAP Publication 2004/01

The cooperative sector is well-established in Thailand. Although many women’s cooperative groups were established following the economic crisis of the late 1990s, few of these projects remain active today. Many women’s cooperative groups require support for training and capacity-building activities.

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific has developed this training kit to assist rural women in becoming individual or group entrepreneurs and managers of cooperative businesses. Rural women's cooperative groups in Thailand cover a wide range of businesses. Some of their training needs are the same, such as those relating to business and accounting concepts. Other training needs, especially those related to technology, differ across sectors.

Several of these needs can be met by training members of the women's groups. As a long-term strategy, training is better than providing services because it enables the women to take charge of their own businesses.

The key elements to this training kit are:

  • Attention to attitudinal change: instilling an entrepreneurial attitude in both women's group members as well as facilitators.
  • Attention to gender relations: a lack of gender- disaggregated data on cooperatives, particularly on membership, management and leadership complicates this issue. In general, both women and men are reluctant to challenge the positions of men in top leadership positions. A note and a handout offer guidance on steering discussion on the subject.
  • Attention to the Thai cultural context: takes into account the ways in which Thai women and trainers learn best.
  • Focus on four rural enterprise sectors: sectors have been chosen from those with a greater concentration of women's groups. A regional balance has also been attempted in the selection of the sectors.

Click here to view the document.

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