Mrs. Phy Sapak, 32, is a listening and dialogue group member living in Samut Krom village, Lumphat district. Before joining the listening and dialogue group, Sapak had never had the opportunity to participate in any village meetings.
“I never participated in any meetings before, even the village meetings, for I was too busy farming and cooking, said Sapak. “ My husband would regularly go to meetings organized by the community—but I had no time to go,”she continued.
One day, Sapak was approached by a friend who invited her to join the listening and dialogue group in her village. Her friend explained that the listening and dialogue group members met every two weeks to listen and discuss a radio program called,“My Community, My Natural Resources.” Sapak was very interested in the program—but told her friend that she would be unable to join because of her busy schedule. However, her friend then explained that the group met after working hours. Sapak was delighted to hear the news and told her friend that she would be sure to attend the next meeting.
Mrs. Phy Sapak, second from left, and her listening and dialogue group members
After joining and regularly participating in the meetings, Sapak learned a lot of new information about the importance of the forests and how to participate in the environmental conservation process.
“I found the radio program so interesting, “said Sapak. “It made me realize how important it is to protect the forests and land in my community. If our forest is destroyed and our land is lost, we will have nothing. Our lives will be very difficult. Without the forest and land, we won’t have wood to build houses, land to farm, and food to eat. We could not survive, “ exclaimed Sapak.
Phy Sapak’s listening and dialogue group
“I now plan to help protect my community’s efforts to protect our land. If we don’t protect the land, someone will surely come in and clear the land. However, if I collaborate with the other villagers to register the land, this will help protect it from being sold or grabbed by companies. I don’t want the forest and land to be lost, “ concluded Sapak.
Sapak feels that the radio program and listening and dialogue groups are really important. She has learned a lot of valuable information. Moreover, she now has the opportunity to discuss the pressing issues with other members of her village and use the information she has learned to make a positive difference in her community. Sapak is hopeful that the radio program will continue in the future and that more villagers will have the opportunity to become involved with the project.