Y Development Co-operation Co. Ltd.
The Y Development Co-operation Co. Ltd.(YC) aims to:
- create sustainable incomes for producers as well as disadvantaged people
- improve working conditions
- provide support for environmental and sustainable community development
- provide technical assistance and market information
- create employment opportunities for women
- ensure that producers get a fair deal
- maintain fair business that makes every effort to be as transparent as possible
- channel traditional handicrafts into more international and local markets
- increase awareness of fair trade principles among producers
- promote co-operation among member-organisations in the areas of skills' development, technology transfer and access to information
- promote and practise the principles of fair trade.
Y Developmentâ€™s criteria for selecting producers are that the group:
- will have been trained in production by the YMCA, Y Development or the government to export level
- will be made up of producers belonging in a low income bracket
- will be looking for the opportunity to sell to the export market
- will have less chance to reach the market without support for example, HIV positive people, rural groups, tribal groups, disabled, and students looking to earn a supplementary income.
To find new groups, local fairs are visited and groups whose product may be adapted for the export market are selected. After visiting and interviewing these groups, as many as three times, the original number is probably halved, and there may be four to five new groups each year.The visits and interview cover the history of the group, the products, the way the group works, the activities, and the attitude of the leader.
Ninety per cent of producers are women which reflects the general situation in the handicraft production in northern Thailand. Men do woodwork, sometimes assisting womenâ€™s groups in the village.The women then finish the woodwork.
The Y Developmentâ€™s mission is to work with groups over a long period of time to improve their standard of living so that they are no longer classified as disadvantaged. Some groups become strong enough to run their own business and find their own markets; some groups change or divide up and cease to work with the Y.
There are 25 producer groups involving 500 people presently on the list â€" some drop off after efforts at product development or improved production have failed and there are no orders. The groups vary in structure but most are small or medium enterprises or associations of individuals. Producers are of any religion or of no religion â€" all are included. Most groups are in villages close to Chiangmai which helps to stop migration to the cities by producers looking for work.
A 40% advance is paid to producers when orders are given and final payment is one week after delivery which gives time for a final quality control check. Loans are available at half of the bank interest rate. Producers receive training in basic accounting and in how to price their products. All employees are paid at least the minimum wage (300 Baht in 2013) as this is one of the standards of fair trade.
Workshops at the annual meeting on fair trade principles are held, and a newsletter for producers every three months is also produced which includes this information. Y Development staff frequently visit producer groups to monitor behaviour, as well as to carry out quality control and monitor production.
While some of the workshops focus on product development, marketing and related trading activities, others focus on environment, and various social visits and study tours are arranged.
Further examples of training include:
- literacy training for hill tribe children who have no birth certificate and are therefore hard to place in schools. Y Development helps with literacy training and providing printing work on Christmas hangings etc. which they can do in their free time.
- Y Development has worked with the YMCA on the economic development aspect of these groups of people â€" the YMCA has trained parents to make sticky rice and pork BBQ (fast food) so that they can sell this
- training has been given to farmers who grow pineapple to use the fibre to make paper in the Chiangrai province.
- Selected students who need help to pay for their studies on the basis of need (street children etc.) apply to be taught to make boxes and cards and Christmas decorations in the evenings to earn some extra income.