Community councils provide a tool to enable a more balanced local development

Very often, local people have little control over the effects of market-driven globalization and various government development projects that come to their communities, and no say in how those forces and projects affect their lives, livelihoods and localities.  This disconnect between the larger economic and political forces that determine development and the reality of people’s lives on the ground creates a form of development without roots.  Community councils are a tool for balancing the two.

Community councils are platforms which strengthen the horizontal network of communities within a rural or urban sub-district (ward), giving people who live in that ward a legitimate, collective platform to discuss development issues, work together and initiate development projects of their own.  Community councils were initially organized on an informal basis, but the 2008 Community Councils Act gave a legal status to these important citizen bodies, which include representatives from as many communities within the ward as possible.

A ward will typically include several rural villages and small towns, as well as all kinds of community groups.  Besides meeting regularly to discuss local issues and develop policy recommendations to present to local government, community councils develop community master plans and implement a variety of development projects of their own, including welfare programs, livelihood projects, and programs to support sustainable agricultural production.  Through CODI, which has been supporting the national community council process since 2008, community councils have access to the national government and cabinet.  Today, community councils are registered and active in more than 7,406 rural and urban wards around Thailand.

Community Council figures
(as of May 2019)

  • Community councils have been established in 7,406 wards, out of a total 7,825 wards in the country.
  • That means that 95% of all Thai wards now have community councils.
  • Total number of organizations are members of these community councils: 151,749 organizations
  • Average number of organizations per community council: 20 organizations