Community Leaders’ Learning Exchange (CLLE) in Thailand: From the Mountains to the Sea

Development at what cost?

Two key questions raised throughout Innovation for Change – East Asia’s weeklong Community Leaders’ Learning Exchange (CLLE) in Thailand last month were ‘WHO LOSES?‘ and ‘WHO BENEFITS?‘ from the current brand and scale of development projects in the region.

“Speaking from his experience fighting to protect the Orang Asli’s forests against loggers and miners, Mustafa Along of the Kelantan Orang Asli Network noted the two-faced nature of governments with regard to balancing economic development with stewardship of the environment and respect for communities’ rights to natural resources.”

Learnings from the field trips in Chiang Kong

Effective advocacy must always be shaped by informed knowledge. The Chiang Kong field trip helped emphasize the importance of gathering and harnessing local and indigenous knowledge.
“You need to fight (armed) with knowledge… doing research is part of the fighting. And it can be very powerful.” Knowing is half the battle, and it spurs better planning towards achieving our envisioned goals.

Reflections from CLLE Thailand’s Campaign Accelerator Training (CAT)

“Local participation in decision-making processes is lacking; look at the One Belt One Road initiative, ASEAN free trade agreements, government development projects…”

“Innovation also involves tapping into local and indigenous knowledge, of which there is so much in SoutheastAsia.”