The Consciousness of Outreach, The Merry-Go-Round of Social Concerns
Drained. Some days appear right while others rob the strength from the limbs. Too many issues have emerged. It is good, a healthy indicator one can say, that marginalized people are sharing their views and experiences however as an outreach worker I can do little to influence the political landscape. Changes are what they need, what we need.
I pass the information, and referring cases, to the local NGO, who are mandated to serve the community, their constituency; and as expected the organization lacks the focus and resources to manage the growing cases, from the need for continued counselling services to intervention work. Growing concerns on the lack of support from the government, one that appears to be more interested in societal strangulation than rights-based social protection mechanism. Growing concerns of the urban poor, courtesy of an uncontrolled urbanization and the somewhat their resignation to the karma, that the junta will stay put for quite some time.
There's obviously a spiral of redundancy in good governance and bridging-communities. Haven't seen an exciting prospect of corporate social responsibility, at least one that allows ostracised groups a say in designing projects. The corporates, and the junta, are simply not suited in poverty-reduction programs, not to mention rights-based empowerment.
Often I feel, outreach workers who are working in NGOs are caught in the loop, a never-ending cycle of bureaucracy and internal politicking. Quite destructive, yet a trend of some sort. Perhaps. Anyhow saw, met a few last week. They're distracted, and worried of the dwindling funds. The baht is in short supply, it seems.
Anyway, more improvements are needed for public health -- in areas of basic hygiene to sexually transmitted infections. Unplanned pregnancies, the poor knowledge of safe sex among the public and the increasing stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS.
Aye on awareness, maybe a handful of articles in the mainstream media, but I can't help think Thai reporters, and their foreign sub-editors, write either for sensationalism (such as those regularly associated with sex workers and transgender) or wanting to appear relevant, the tokenism of reporting.
What would be helpful as of right now, is for the authorities and NGOs to increase participation of the marginalised communities into decision-making process. Start with empowerment, and then enable them to be part and parcel of problem-solving. Why not ya?
A concept that I strongly advocate, that institutions provide the platform and resources for vulnerable populations to have a community consultative group, and such body engage with the authorities, funders, pressure groups, NGOs and general public on concerns and needs affecting them. But then again, in the past these attempts have been riddled with challenges, mainly the overriding prejudice against "those people".
|Homelessness in a grand city|
While officials place the image of their grand cities on the top of the priority list, there's a visible absence of political will in addressing urban poverty, and the interrelated concerns of homelessness. My thoughts, obviously city hall is not interesting in solving problems but is more focused on sweeping these issues under the carpet. Too embarrassing perhaps, or just clueless.
What has Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok done that's sustainable for the homeless, or what we are seeing is merely knee-jerk reaction to contain bad publicity?
There are too many societal concerns for me to list out in this blog post, nor do I have the energy today to repeat what has already been said, too often, in my other posts. The rising temperature, the pre-Songkran humidity taxes the strength, The outreach continues, later or tomorrow, travelling into a realm that drains away common sense and ultimately humanity.