Women Empowerment Through Functional Literacy (Nan province)
Northern Thailand is known for its highland areas, a difficult to access mountainous region that is the home to many different ethnic populations. Nan province is situated in the eastern part of the region bordering with Laos PDR. The province is home to Lua, Hmong, Mabri, Htin, and Khamu highland populations in addition to the lowland Thai ethnic population. The ethnic population speaks its own language that is very different to Thai. And, each ethnic population has its unique culture and as such the culture related to the role of women and girls within the communities. Most highland communities are agriculture-based and women have roles both in the field and in the household while men usually pay roles as leaders in the community. Also, it is important to note that women in this area often have a minor role in the household decision-making.
In the area of education, Thailand has an extensive primary education system, with compulsory up to grade 9. Among highland women formal education often ends with 6th grade. Life can be difficult in these areas and many times young women have to drop out of school to help their families in farmlands or earn a living wage. The young women in these areas tend to have two main different options in life. For many Lua, the only option is to go to Nan city or other bigger cities to find any kind of opportunities. However, having only grade 6 education leaves them with low paying jobs. This demographic tends to return to their villages during harvest time to help their families harvest coffee and rice. The other option for these women, and the most common, is to stay behind and live from the little agricultural yield that non-harvest times provides and from other occupational activities such as sewing and creating handcrafts. Without being able to communicate in Thai or having any other skills these women are disempowered by these barriers.
The women living in the area have to face many other barriers in life apart from the disempowerment that lack of skills and language barriers bring. They also face land security issues, gender imbalances, and face being at risk at any given time due to the fact that they don’t know their most basic human rights, read, write or other. Raks Thai Foundation and CARE International believe that empowering women can empower and help develop entire communities, and that all women should have access to education and to have at least functional literacy.
To use tailored functional literacy programs to empower Lua, Hmong, and other ethnic highland women and girls in Nan province 15 to 24 that will allow them to have better occupations, voice their opinions, and become agents of change for other women, their families and their communities.
Female of 15-24 years age group. The selection of candidate’s target community will be through a process of engagement with existing community groups, helping identify individuals who most need to become more quality of life improving, change and self-employable. A key consideration will be identifying women who are held back by a lack of accessible, affordable education, or suffer social constrains or disability.
Sub-districts in Nan province including Bo Kluea, Chiang Klang, Chaloem Phra Kiat, Thung Chang, and Put