Community Welfare Funds


Purpose

Community Welfare Funds (CWF) serve as a community-sponsored “social safety net,” to take care of community members in need and prevent loan defaults. By combining daily contributions of 1 THB from the community members with a match of 1 THB per day from both the local and national government, a CWF acts as an informal insurance program.

Through their contributions, community members have a right to receive payouts in case of a child’s birth, death in the family, natural disaster, fire, illness and a variety of other cases.

Structure

CWFs are organized on the subdistrict or municipal level, in rural and urban areas respectively, and average 300 members per fund. However, a CWF can have up to 1,000 members. CODI encourages CWFs to have a large member base in order to pool together resources, maintain sustainability and encourage longevity. Nationwide, there are over 2,500 CWF with a total of 1,000,000 members.

CODI assists community members in setting up new funds, recruiting members, running meetings and managing welfare funds. Depending on the size, each fund elects 10-20 people to manage the finances of the fund and decide on disbursements. The rules and regulations of each fund are decided upon by the community members at the formation of the fund and are made transparent so as to inform members when and how they can access funds.

Conditions

CWF can devote no more than 20% of the fund size to administration and management costs. The remaining sum must be allocated to member. CWF often chose to invest their money in order to appreciate the value. Common investments include palm oil farms and rubber plantations.

Future Plans

The Central Government allocated 727 million THB in 2009 with the intention of setting up an addition 2,000 CWFs. That funding can be used to offset the start up expenses of a fund and to match community members’ 1 THB per day contribution.