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Cablegate: Thailand S/Gwi Project Proposals for the 2010

VZCZCXRO2034
PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHBK #0378/01 0430802
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120802Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9933
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 6180
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 7642

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 000378

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWMN PHUM PREL KPAO TH
SUBJECT: THAILAND S/GWI PROJECT PROPOSALS FOR THE 2010
SMALL GRANTS INITIATIVE

REF: STATE 132094

BANGKOK 00000378 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Embassy Bangkok's grant review committee submits the
following four proposals for consideration for the 2010
Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues (S/GWI) small
grants initiative. Our first choice is an innovative and
comprehensive economic empowerment program for women in
Southern Thailand, who are often the sole support for their
families due to the longstanding violent conflict in that
region. We also strongly recommend a Burmese border project
that focuses on outreach to Burmese men in the struggle to
prevent violence against Burmese women. Finally, we endorse
two smaller violence-prevention projects on the Burmese
border that request limited budgets for targeted
interventions. If S/GWI selects any of these local
organizations for an award, the grant will be co-managed by
the Human Rights Officer in the Political Section acting as a
Grants Officer Representative, and a Grants Officer in the
Public Affairs Section. If any of the Burmese cross-border
projects are funded, Mission Thailand will coordinate
monitoring with Embassy Rangoon, which has already reviewed
all three proposals. The point of contact for these
submissions is Political Officer Gillian Apfel,
ApfelGR@state.gov.

PEOPLE'S EMPOWERMENT FOUNDATION (PEF) - EMPOWERING WOMEN
ECONOMICALLY TO PROMOTE SECURITY IN SOUTHERN THAILAND
---------------------------------------------
2. (SBU) The PEF proposal seeks to empower women to address
the economic challenges faced in the southernmost provinces
of Thailand. Since 2004, the Deep South has been plagued
with almost daily incidents of violence, mostly attributed to
armed local separatist groups, which have resulted in the
deaths of thousands of people. At the same time that the
ongoing violence has weakened the area's local economies,
women have taken more responsibility in contributing much
needed income and managing family finances. The project
seeks to improve the women's capacity to generate more local
income by developing their existing base of knowledge and
resources. PEF already has an existing foundation for this
program; in 2007, they began working in southern communities
and helped to establish occupational collectives for coconut
oil, liquid soap, and balm producers. The current proposal
will expand women's participation in these groups, as well as
concentrating on individual capacity-building.

3. (SBU) Specifically, PEF will facilitate training for women
villagers in production, design, and marketing of goods -
both through local workshops and by exchange trips to other
small-scale producer communities in Northern Thailand.
Assistance will be given to establish production centers and
once production is established, there will be further
training in sales and financial management. The proposal
describes these activities specifically and realistically,
with a detailed budget and identification of specific program
partners, such as the use of Rural Capital Partners Co. to
establish savings funds in such a way to ensure
sustainability. The proposal convincingly presents a
paradigm for empowering women so as to mitigate the effects
of the conflict, improve economic security at the community
level, and better the lives of women and families in Southern
Thailand.

4. (SBU) The project duration is 18 months, and the requested
budget is US$88,091. The proposal and the local organization
conform to all required parameters. The director of PEF,
Chalida Tajaroensuk, is a close and trusted contact of
Embassy Bangkok.

HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION INSTITUTE OF BURMA (HREIB) - PROMOTING
MEN'S COOPERATION TO STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
--------------------------------------------- ---
5. (SBU) The second recommended proposal is designed to
address violence against women in Burmese communities by
targeting the potential perpetrators, in addition to the
potential victims. Traditional ethnic communities in Burma
are male-dominated, with men holding leading positions in
political and religious spheres of village life. Ideas about
manhood are deeply ingrained, and boys are taught to believe
that aggressive behavior towards women is part of being a
man. HREIB predicates their project design on the premise
that it is impossible to promote gender equality and stop
violence against women without the cooperation and
participation of men. Currently, HREIB's Gender and Women's
Rights Program has two ongoing projects within Burma, as well
as one in Thailand and one in India. They would like to
expand this program with a campaign specifically targeting
men, using ideas and strategies developed from suggestions
from male participants in their current program.


BANGKOK 00000378 002.2 OF 003


6. (SBU) As part of their current activities, HREIB conducts
both "Men Talk" and "Women's Exchange" discussion forums.
The proposed project would include gender and women's rights
trainings specifically for male participants, community
campaign events for everyone, and peer group discussions
solely involving men. They plan to supplement these
activities with Burmese-language resource materials,
including training manuals, posters, and leaflets. HREIB has
had experience and success in generating these kinds of
materials in the past, most notably its trainers' manual,
which was originally published in 1998 and is still in use,
and has been translated into several local languages.

7. (SBU) The project duration is 18 months, and the requested
budget is US$97,084.24. The proposal and the local
organization conform to all required parameters. HREIB is
well-known and trusted by Mission Thailand, and this proposal
has also been vetted by Embassy Rangoon.

KAREN HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP (KHRG) - EMPOWERING WOMEN TO RESIST
ABUSE
--------------------------------------------- -----
8. (SBU) KHRG is an independent Karen-led NGO established in
Eastern Burma in 1992 that operates both within refugee camps
in Thailand and in rural Burma. Their goal is to support
villagers in rural Burma by helping them develop strategies
to protect themselves against abuse and by disseminating
their stories, along with photos and documentary evidence.
Their current proposal addresses the problem that women
suffer a disproportionate share of the abuse perpetuated by
the SPDC Army and other armed groups in Burma. Women are
vulnerable both in negotiations with soldiers, and also
because men go into hiding to avoid harassment and
conscription. KHRG has previously documented this in a 2006
report on the abuse of Karen women under militarization.

9. (SBU) Since 2005, KHRG has implemented their Village
Agency Project, in which they work to actively support and
strengthen the protection strategies that Burmese villagers
are already using. They have been holding workshops since
2006, and in 2008-9, they held over 80 workshops, reaching
more than 2,000 villagers. Now, KHRG would like to develop a
curriculum for women-specific Village Agency workshops, and
then conduct 20 pilot workshops and 20 follow-up workshops,
with an aim to expand the project and make it a permanent
part of the Village Agency program. In doing so, they hope
to equip women and girls with specific skills to resist
abuse, and to have a multiplier effect by training women who
can train others.

10. (SBU) The project duration is 12 months, and the
requested budget is US$17,000. The proposal and the local
organization conform to all required parameters. KHRG is
known to be a trusted source and contact for Mission
Thailand, and this proposal has also been vetted by Embassy
Rangoon.

BURMESE WOMEN'S UNION (BWU) - DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EDUCATION
VIDEO
--------------------------------------------- --------
11. (SBU) BWU requests a small, targeted amount of assistance
from S/GWI in order to supplement their current domestic
violence campaigns with what they believe will be a more
effective communication tool. BWU has long tried to combat
domestic violence in Burmese homes, which they attribute to
cultural, traditional, and religious beliefs. For example,
they cite instances of community members pressuring women to
stay in dangerous relationships using religious beliefs to
justify abuse and blaming women for their own victimization.
Previously, BWU has implemented campaigns, workshops, and
educational programs to reduce the incidence of domestic
violence in the community. In 2003, they published and
distributed a domestic violence handbook both in Thailand and
Burma, and the demand was high enough to require reprinting.
However, because a substantial number of women in Burma and
within the refugee and migrant populations are illiterate,
they are concerned that the message is not reaching the
intended audience. So, from 2006 to the present, they have
expanded their program to include visual aids, such as
posters, key chains, t-shirts, and pins. Although these
initiatives were successful and popular, BWU believes that an
educational video will be an accessible tool that will
exponentially increase their ability to spread their message.

12. (SBU) The proposal includes the costs of producing,
editing, promoting, launching, and distributing an
educational video about domestic violence. This
Burmese-language product will include personal statements
from domestic violence survivors from diverse backgrounds and
cover varied aspects of this issue ranging from causes to

BANGKOK 00000378 003.2 OF 003


prevention. BWU has been working with a professional human
rights documentary filmmaker for the past year in
collaboration with Voluntary Services Overseas and recently
premiered its first film. This experience allowed them to
gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to make
the proposed educational video, and also to prepare an
extremely accurate and minimal budget reflecting the costs of
such an endeavor. They plan to hold screenings along all
Burmese borders (with Thailand, India and China), since BWU
is the only Burmese women's organization that is located on
all borders, and open to women of all ethnic groups and
religious backgrounds.

13. (SBU) The project duration is 12 months, and the
requested budget is US$5,957.15. The proposal and the local
organization conform to all required parameters. BWU is a
valued Mission Thailand contact, and its leaders have been
S/GWI interlocutors on past visits to Thailand. This
proposal has also been vetted by Embassy Rangoon.
JOHN

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