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If village women had the same opportunities as men, the number of poor people would be reduced dramatically!
A UN Food and Agriculture Organization report states: ‘If women in rural areas had the same access to resources as men (land, technology, education, financial services), the number of people suffering from hunger and poverty in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.’ Therefore we work at reducing the gender gap in Southeast Asian agriculture!
In Northeast Thailand, 85% of the farmers are smallholders, who are unable to meet their basic financial needs from agricultural production alone. Women and young people face the fewest opportunities. A high proportion of the women are classified as ‘unpaid family workers’. A study found that 51 % of the Thai population are employed in agriculture and 31% of these are unpaid women. (NSO; Labor Force Survey 1998.)
Poor farmers lack the necessary skills to earn a better income from their land. They either have to sell their products through middlemen who have the skills to sell online, or they have to sell in their own small village shops. This cements existing inequalities. People are forced to leave their villages to find low-paid jobs in factories and the tourism industry elsewhere in Thailand or abroad. Many young women and men end up in bars, massage parlours and the sex industry.
The value of Thai e-commerce has increased very fast and so has the number of internet users. However the major online marketplace platforms are owned by big commercial corporations based outside Thailand, and local producers are unable to join these online platform due to too high fees and lack of online marketing and ICT skills.
Why not donate to help change the lives of poor women and children? Or you could join us as a volunteer, helping women improve their lives through technology and entrepreneurship education, helping them access their full potential, benefiting themselves, their communities, and the wider world.
To address this problem, our aim is to help micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) market their products to a wider audience by building an online sustainability marketplace platform. We also want to provide them with training to improve their knowledge and skills, increasing their presence in the online marketplace.
Openmind Projects, as an NGO, has a long history of working on sustainable projects such as learning camps, community development projects, and raising environmental awareness. We work closely with local communities and at many different governmental levels. Therefore, we are confident that with our knowledge and experience, we can help the local communities in meeting their needs. This will help us to achieve our long term goal of using innovative ICT solutions to help end poverty.
For our initial year of business, our end beneficiaries have been the local farmers and producers of handmade products in rural Thailand. 40% of farming households are living below the poverty line ($900USD a year). The sector’s low income and higher debt drag on the country’s economic growth.
We have established connections with producers in other Southeast Asian countries such as Laos, Myanmar, and Nepal. After our first year of business, we will open registration for these vendors, creating more beneficiaries.
To ensure the project is sustainable, we would require the vendors to pay 3.5% commission + 2% transaction fees per sale. This is 80% lower than other online marketplaces such as Lazada.co.th, Aliexpress.com, tarad.com, Agoda.com, and Airbnb, etc.
Revenue from vendors and our own online shop will be donated to support projects benefiting young adults, with a particular focus on women.
The money goes towards :
- Hiring local staff to support the projects
- Scholarships for OMP trainees
- Funding learning camps
- Startup funding for young social entrepreneurs
Project Road Map.
Year 1: Development
- Finish the first version of the online marketplace platform (Web app and Mobile App).
- Integrate online payment system (finished).
- Integrate sale commission function (finished).
- Complete registration for EV certificate ($1,750,000 Warranty for platform insurance).
- Training of 30 women groups and local social entrepreneurs (approximately 150 local women).
- Recruiting volunteers, Thai and Laos internship students.
Year 2 and 3: Scaling
- Finish the mobile app.
- Open registration for new vendors.
- Employ at least two more staff members.
- Organize and host a social entrepreneur start-up camp.
- Recruit and train 10 more local trainees.
- Integrate training and knowledge-based sites.
- Select local OEM producers to produce OMP charity products.
- Integrate online bookings function.
Year 4 and 5: Crowdfunding
- Integrate online crowdfunding option for young social Entrepreneurs and local producers to fund their products.