Banjumrung Community

Ban Jum Rung Community is located in Rayong Province; east part of Thailand. This community is a model or best practice of sufficiency Economy philosophy and rural community development. It is agriculture community which drives a development process by groups of local residents. Ban Jum Rung Community had visited by many communities and organizations to learn a development experience under sufficiency Economy philosophy. Ban Jum Rung Community launce many activities such as local resource management as a community products, local university as a learning center of community development, home-stay, restaurant, agriculture management etc.
 


Movement of Ban Jum Rung Community
 

Best practice community in Sufficiency movement in Ban Jum Rung community. Why Ban Jum Rung community called as a best practice community is no doubt after we study their experiences and activities. Basic information in order to understand this community will explain as a chronological description; from starting point to turning point, successful and continuity point.
 
Ban Jum Rung Community is located in Neon Kho1 sub-district (Tambon), Klaeng district, Rayong Province; east part of Thailand. This community is a best practice of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and rural community development. It is an agricultural community which drives a development process by groups of local residents. Ban Jum Rung Community had visited by many communities and organizations to learn from their development experiences. They launce many activities such as local resource management as a community products, rural university as a learning center of community development, home-stay, restaurant, agriculture management, garbage bank etc. All activities and movements are based on the concept of community self-reliance which is a fundamental idea of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. It is a small rural community which has approximate 160 households (564 people; 2004). It is old community (200 year) which has a good relationship among residents for long time as a relative and neighbor. Ban Jum Rung Community is agriculture community which has orchards for rubber tree, rice and durian in approximate areas 3600 sq.km.
 

Chronology of Development
In 1986, government Policy “Health for All By The year 2000” encourages community to improve facility for living condition and amenity. At that time, community also wants to gathering together to manage their own community because it so difficult to get subsidy or government support to this small community. Community was started by gathering together and learns to manage their community (starting point of development). They gathering together as a saving group and establish “Community‟s Bank”. They start a “community funds group” which organizes a “community‟s shop”. This movement was related with the government policy about “center of market system learning”. It gave residents learn how to manage their agriculture products. They arrange a meeting and set a management system by themselves. Every households are a member and partner of community funds group and 30% of benefit of community‟s shop will uses for Community development funds. Community used a benefit from community‟s shop for community movements such as improve road, learning activities, meeting and so on.
 
In 1987, the community was established of formal “community development funds” for any kind of community movements. Its support community in term of funds hence many activities were launched freely and encourage spontaneous community learning.
 
In 1992, Community confronts with crisis of durian product; it‟s a worm crisis which decreases a quality of durian product. At that time, orchardist does not have knowledge and experience; they try to solve problem by themselves in term of local wisdom. Even if they cannot sell durian fruit but they can sell durian fry. At the same time, local government of agriculture support community in term of knowledge to solve this problem. Durian fry become famous; it encourage resident to process their own product as a community product.

 
In 1999, after economic crisis in Thailand, government takes on loan from The International Monetary Fund (IMF) which initiates Social Investment Fund (SIF) program. Community got subsidy from SIF which aim to support community system and activities; they submit a community plan to SIF.
 
In 2000, first movement after got subsidy from SIF is “Household account” which led residents know their own expenditure. Hence, community launches a meeting and discussion through information of each household account. It stimulates resident to gathering groups through their own aspect such as local agriculture group, community„s shop member group, saving group, home stay group, the ant army (young generation group for environment), aging group, culture group, rubber tree orchardist group, fishermen group, housekeeper group and so on. In monthly meeting of community; they were a representative of their group in a discussion. This movement continued from a starting point while they gain more and more knowledge and experience, then turning point is after got SIF‟s subsidy; community system was actively operated. They establish community center, assign each own responsibility and provide share space for community‟s work and etc.
 
In 2003, community was submitted a community plan to CODI2 which aims to get budget support under local community revitalization program. In 2004, the community got budget from CODI and start to move in a whole sub-district (Tambon) by knowledge and staff from CODI support. Communities start to analysis their own problems and set goal and objective of development. It‟s a community capacity building, moreover; Ban Jum Rung Community has they own capital (knowledge, experience and funds). From this point, they can move actively and increasingly. Community learning process was drive obviously. Every groups of this community has their own funds for their activities and movements by gathering money together and other support from outside. Even if, they cannot get subsidy, they can drive the progress by themselves.
 
In 2006, community received a trophy from Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as a best practice community of sufficiency Economy philosophy. (Success point of development) Community was widely recognize as a model of rural community development and became a learning center. After successful and well known as a best practice, they keep continue their activities. (Continuity point)
 
In 2007, restructuring by establishment of “network of Ban Jum Rung Community organization” which is expands a boundary of community into a sub-district (Tambon). It initiates a community network of learning through sufficiency Economy philosophy. A second changing point of this community is Government Policy about sufficiency Economy which led community drive through a new knowledge and process of development. CODI advocated Ban Jum Rung Community as a learning Center of community development; it initiate a community network of learning through sufficiency Economy philosophy.

In 2008, Community leader started to launch activities for tourism. Home-Stay Service was launched. This program is not for high benefit but for share and exchange knowledge and experience of local community. Moreover, it is a good strategy for protect environment. The products for tourism is not only processing agriculture products but learning process, environment and community life-style also. Home- Stay Service was launch; they sell a local life-style to visitor from urban area. Visitors can learn a local community life-style by stay in their house and join activities of community such as slash a rubber tree, plant a fruits, eat local food and etc. They welcome a coach bus of tourist into community; tourist can experience a local food, life-style and buy community products from local residents through community‟s shop and community‟s restaurant. Even if, they launch program for tourism but they still keep local life-style. This program is not for high benefit but for share and exchange knowledge and experience of local community. This is one kind of community network movement through tourism and residents can get an income.
 
Nowadays 2010, community has 44 working groups from whole district; in monthly meeting of community; they gathering a representative of their group in a discussion. Every mouth, update a progress of community‟s work through community working groups participant by meeting at community learning center. They continue a development process through sufficiency Economy philosophy. They communicate by community‟s radio.
 
It is a unit of practice of community members. Community leader emphasize on human resource development. Mr. ChartChai Leaungchaloen, 4th generation of community leader, still keep continues community learning process. More than 20 years ago, community was growing up through learning process of human resource. They continue a development process through sufficiency Economy philosophy. It didn‟t increase community income but increased community happiness. (Chartchai, Feb 2010)
 
 


Sufficiency movement in Ban Jum Rung community
Ban Jum Rung community have 44 group activities, it‟s under Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Activities which lead them be a best practice community is drive through sufficiency approach. Ban Jum Rung community revealed benefits of sufficiency in community development through their activities as follows; - sufficiency movements in term of community financial problems solving. As to unbalancing of development in Rayong, community was confronted with debt problems toward agriculture product was under market price and uncontrolled. Communities have to rely on unstable income from middleman and industries. Applying Sufficiency Economy Philosophy into community development; they start from reduce expenditure, saving money as a community fund group, launce community shop and enterprise to have a stable income and debt repay. They created a new way of selling agriculture product which is controllable price by grouping together as a network of agriculturist. Moreover, they have community immunity system by support additional occupation, launce community saving group for occupation, education and welfare. Way of doing under Sufficiency Economy Philosophy is “Consume what we produces and produces what we consume” in order to reduce expenditure. Nowadays, they have stable income from agriculture product which is traditional and environmental friendly and have additional income from green tourism activities. Those activities are launches through basic idea of self-reliance and self-immunity which is one of key components of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.
 
Why called them as a Best Practice Community?
In order to judge rural communities as a best practice community status, can be do in different ways as follows;
- Award – is one kind of social guarantee or measurement to recognize a best practice community. Community receives a trophy from Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as a best practice community of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in year 2006.
- Evaluation indicator – Department of Community Development, Ministry of Interior was evaluated Ban Jum Jung community as a best practice community of sufficiency economy in Rayong province in year 2006. There have 27 indicators3 for evaluate sufficiency community which define by Sufficiency Economy Philosophy Promotion Board, Community Development Department, Ministry of Interior.
- Number of visitors - Ban Jum Rung Community had visited by outsiders; Royal princess of Thailand, university student as an internship program, student excursion, local government officer as a fieldtrip or training program, other community member, tourists, researcher, etc.
 
Ban Jum Rung community as a Model of Development
The model of development is a pioneer or good example form in some directions of development. There have many models in rural development; sufficiency is one of many approaches. Ban Jum Rung community is a one of “models of sufficiency community”. It is about way of thinking and doing through sufficiency lifestyle; it is revealed through community activities. In Thailand, many rural communities applied Sufficiency Economy Philosophy into their way of development, some became a best practice. Each of best practice communities has their own model of development; Ban Jum Rung is one of it. Generally, best practice community is community which can solve their problems effectively or community who have capacity to development in some directions. In this case, best practice community is a community which can be survived or can recover from wave of globalization and mono-agriculture through Green revolution.
 
The ways of thinking of best practice community is more important than their success. Self-Reliance is a model and principle of development through Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Within the philosophy, Self-reliance is mean to the ability to tolerate and cope with all kinds of malign impacts of globalization. His Majesty emphasizes that basic foods necessary for life such as rice, vegetables, and fish are sufficiently produced for the communities by means of simple methods. The surplus can then be shared or sold among the neighbors. To achieve this state, the communities must have unity and work together with diligence, perseverance and self-estimation. The expansion of the production must be done gradually while refraining from making debts. (Office of the Royal Development Projects Board, 2004)
 
Way of thinking in driving community development of Ban Jum Rung community is stop to depend on outsides and be self-reliance, happiness based development, harmonize, balancing and retrieve lost capitals and resources. It is related to Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Activities of Ban Jum Rung community can explain by 4 section; (1) Human (2) Soil (3) Water and (4) forest. These are basic resources of rural communities; therefore, rural communities are a key factor in resources management.
This model is showing ways of resources management through communities‟ group activities such as local agriculture group, rubber tree orchardist group, fishermen group and so on. They are launching many activities in local resources management such as a) “community products” by processing agriculture products by traditional way. b) They launch “the rural university” as a learning center of community in order to manage a human resource. c) They promote a “home-stay program” as a green tourism to be a strategy for environmental protection and environmental friendly agriculture management. d) They promote “community‟s restaurant” in order to value-add a local food and raw materials such as Pesticide-Free Vegetables, etc.
Through their model of development, Ban Jum Rung community is taking a role of mentor in community network. Community‟s leaders or representative of Ban Jum Rung community be a lecturer, mentor, consultant, teacher or model for other communities to learning and apply to their community. The place that use for learning through this model is a community learning center of Ban Jum Rung community.
 
 
Learning Center of Ban Jum Rung community
The community Learning Center provides lifelong education to a broad range of people; children, women, youth and elderly people. Learning centers are based on community mobilization, flexibility, links with other community development activities and cooperation with community network, public sector, private sector and NGOs.
 
The role of learning center as knowledge based activities of sufficiency community in Ban Jum Rung community is well-known. “Rural University” is a name of learning center under movements of Ban Jum Rung community. It is a place for learning together (1) among resident in order to gathering ideas, problems and place for community activities and (2) a place for outsiders to learning from experiences of Ban Jum Rung community development. Functions of the community learning center are place for learning, for knowledge transferring or knowledge transmission, for launch activities, for information sharing and for daily-life sharing. It‟s not only enhancing community relationship and capacity building but also networking community with regional scale. Ban Jum Rung community is well known as a best practice community because of movements from this learning center.
 
The learning Center under the title of “Rural University” is an actual practice of knowledge based activities which is found from rural community movements. What kinds of knowledge are transferring through this learning center is most importance for researcher to emphasize. Sufficiency is a milestone of the community in development; it‟s under Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Knowledge and activities related to sufficiency were transferring time and time again in this learning center. It can reflect both knowledge of sufficiency and role transferor in regional society.
 
Nowadays, Ban Jum Rung Community learning center or Rural University is still welcome visitors from other communities, universities, government‟s officers and people to learn from their experience. In this case, Ban Jum Rung community taking a role of model or best practice through learning centers. This is a “group-level learning”, where knowledge is jointly or collaboratively constructed, primarily in a process of dialogue. It can lead to mutual understanding among networks.
 
Ban Jum Rung Community learning center is welcome visitor from other communities, universities, government‟s officers and people to learn from their experience. In this case, Ban Jum Rung community takes a role of model or best practice. This is a “group-level learning”, where knowledge is jointly or collaboratively constructed, primarily in a process of dialogue. It can lead to mutual understanding among networks.
- Working group - Ban Jum Rung Community has divide working through their aspect such as; local agriculture group, community„s shop member group, saving group, home stay group, the ant army (young generation group for environment), aging group, culture group, rubber tree orchardist group, fishermen group, housekeeper house and so on. In monthly meeting of community; they were a representative of their group in a discussion. It is a unit of practice of community members.
- Learning of young generation - Ban Jum Rung Community are still encourage young generation to learn through community activities and share responsibility to young generation in order to instill a sense of community and sense of belonging to them.
 
 
The Network of Ban Jum Rung Community organization
The “Network of Ban Jum Rung Community organization” is a formal name of their status in society. The learning center has taken an important role in networking between community organization and outsider. Ban Jum Rung Community is well-known through movements of rural university or learning center. Network of community-based organization is recently importance in new society. It is a change from local community into organization according to the law. The change comes from the capacity building of the local community. Changes in the rural community status are made more formal position for them in society. This position is guarantee by Community Organization Council Act 2008.
 
It‟s a new social status of rural community formally through Community Organization Council Act 20084. In Thailand, today many communities were registered as a community organization; they are high capability communities who drive through their own movement. Community organization is a formal status of community by law which is an opportunity for single community who has a readiness in development. Within the “Community Organization Council Act 2008” is support community to participate in national development; emphasize on community strengthening, democracy, good governance, etc. Missions of community organization by law such as (1) propose problems and solving solutions or development approach to a local government in order to include it with local government plans. (2) Open a stage for discussion or consultation among a citizen to promote people participation in any projects implementation of government or private sector. (3) Propose name list of representative of community organization council to participate in a meeting of provincial level for 2 people and many other missions.
 
Structure of Ban Jum Rung community organization is combining with (1) head or coordinator (2) committee or board and (3) members of organization. Monthly, they launch a meeting of board and annual meeting among members.
 
The fundamental idea of community organization is that the communities stop to ask help and support from outside and start to learn and development themselves. This is the most sustainable way; to depend on themselves is a most effective and valuable way. However, movements of community organization needs to coordinate with outside. Network of community organization is one of movements; in order to link and integrate as a whole society for public interest. Community-based organization network is external movements among communities to reach their goal.
 
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1 Neon Kho sub-district combine with 9 villages which has 3 characteristics of physical geography are (1) Freshwater (2) Salt water and (3) Brackish water. Therefore, it has a different type of agriculture product such as rubber tree, rice, durian, man grove and soft-shelled turtle.
 
2 Community Organization Development Institute (Public Organization), Thailand
 
3 Indicator for Sufficiency Village Evaluation has 27 indicators; it had divided into 4 group are; (1) Social and Mind (2) Economic (3) Learning and (4) Natural Resource and Environment. (Sufficiency Economy Philosophy Promotion Board, Community Development Department, Ministry of Interior, 2006)
 
4 Community Organization Council Act was first announce in 2008, in order to enhance a power of grass-root community in system. It is a new progress of decentralization, in with community development.
 
 
Puntita Tanwattana
Doctoral Student
Graduate School of Policy Science
Ritsumeikan University
pun_architect@hotmail.com