City tries jump-starting stalled village community fund initiative

Friday, 22 February 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 8 By  Warunya Thongrod

The Pattaya Social Development Office has re-launched efforts to obtain central government funding for area villages under the National Village and Urban Community Fund.

The government last year approved 727.3 million baht for the program, which aims to allow villages to become semi-independent of local government, but Pattaya’s welfare-fund committee proved disorganized and lost key documents. Thus, the Community Organizations Development Institute, and Ministry of Social Development and Human Stability refused to release the money.

Deputy Mayor Wutisak Rermkitkarn and Social Development Office staffer Varunee Changmuang met with a newly selected committee comprised of members from 36 Pattaya-area neighborhoods Feb. 6 to jump start the program. The city in October paid 610 members about 227 million baht and needs the government matching funds to ensure that last year’s outlays aren’t wasted.

Deputy Mayor Wutisak Rermkitkarn meets with a newly selected committee comprised of members from 36 Pattaya-area neighborhoods.Deputy Mayor Wutisak Rermkitkarn meets with a newly selected committee comprised of members from 36 Pattaya-area neighborhoods.

The meeting attempted to determine what documents were still needed by the CODI and set guidelines on fund membership, as 1,300 groups have petitioned to receive the free money, which could total as much as 500,000 per applicant.

The NVUC last year began awarding funds to villages nationwide aimed at establishing mechanisms allowing communities to have roles in directly fighting poverty, developing an economic foundation to generate revenue for the village and offer career training.

Under the program, villages are categorized as small, medium or large, with small villages of 500 people or less receiving 100,000 to 300,000 baht per project; medium-sized villages of 501-1,000 residents getting 400,000 baht and larger villages getting 500,000 baht per project. Each village can apply for funding of more than one project.

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