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Ban Dong: A Model Sufficiency Economy Village in Phitsanulok

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Ban Dong, a village in Bang Rakam district in the northern province of Phitsanulok, has been selected as a model Sufficiency Economy village for 2014.

The selection was made by the Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for implementing the strategy to promote Sufficiency Economy in the agriculture sector and rural areas.

This strategy is part of the “Area-Based Collaborative Research” approach for the mobilization of the Development Strategic Plan in Accordance with the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, 2014 to 2017. Under this strategy, the Ministry of Interior, through provincial governors, will push for the development of about 19,000 villages during the period, based on the Sufficiency Economy philosophy, initiated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Ban Dong and its activities have been evaluated, based on the indicators set by the Ministry of Interior. Among them is the Gross Village Happiness (GVH), which takes happiness as the goal in community development.

Most of local residents in Ban Dong are engaged in rice farming. A number of families lead their lives in accordance with the Sufficiency Economy philosophy. Each has a kitchen garden for growing vegetables and fruit and a pond to raise fish as their food source. There are some soil improvement volunteers in the village to provide local people with useful advice on soil development and the production of bio-fertilizers.

Before being selected as a model Sufficiency Economy village, Ban Dong carried out three major activities. In the first activity, community leaders and village committee called a meeting of representatives of local families to explain steps to become a Sufficiency Economy village and benefits to receive from conducting various joint activities.

Then a total of 30 families were selected as a target group to be trained under this project. Members of these families were taken to join a study tour to observe the operations of another village, which was named a model Sufficiency Economy village in 2013.

In the second activity, representatives of these families attended a workshop that provided them with a demonstration on how to lead their lives in accordance with the Sufficiency Economy philosophy. They were also taught certain techniques and skills, such as the development of herbal plants and fish farming.

In the third activity, the representatives attended a forum to evaluate the village development project, with the use of GVH as an indicator, as well as other criteria. Community leaders have continued to follow up on the results of development, which shows that local people at Ban Dong are more united and have been empowered. They have developed a Sufficiency Economy Learning Center in their village as a study center for this concept. Apart from becoming self-reliant, they are ready to be examples for villagers elsewhere who want to learn how to apply the Sufficiency Economy philosophy.