At the close of a recent seminar, Assoc. Prof. Natee Khlibtong, Chief Executive Officer of the National Village and Urban Community Fund Office, referred to the main challenges facing the success of the Village Fund, which has been in existence now for 18 years.
At the seminar, fund members were invited to propose ideas for a conceptual framework for the development of the Village Fund in order to draw up a long-term master plan, which would be able to meet the requirements of the 20-year strategic plan, especially in addressing social inequality and reducing poverty.
Initially, the conceptual framework visualizes the Village Fund proceeding via 15 key activities to reach its goal of becoming a national financial institution within 20 years and ultimately a village and urban community development bank as well as an economic center for communities and surrounding areas.
The master plan will also answer the issue of village fund heirs, introducing a public-sector budget and an operating budget for long-term sustainability.
One activity is to create a loan fund for graduate studies in collaboration with university partners, with immediate job openings for successful students. Learning centers will be upgraded to act as public universities using curriculums and experience gained from the grass-roots economy to benefit members of the fund and their heirs.
In the past, the government earmarked budgets under the Pracharat policy to Village Funds in order to foster the grass-roots economy. In the future, it plans to allocate annual budgets and provide public welfare and assurances to a greater number of Village Funds that are able to demonstrate their readiness and strength.
“Village Funds will become an important mechanism in solving the country’s economic problems, especially poverty, but requires all community members to share their ideas and work together to make hopes and dreams come true.”
The CEO of the Village Fund stressed that in the future the Village Fund will continue to play a valuable and sustainable role as a mechanism to solve social problems with tangible long-term results.