We thank everyone who has been on a trip for making this program special. We value all the staff who have been a part of the Barge Program family for their input and passion for the Program, and especially we thank MLTri, whose adventurous idea has led to the incredible learning opportunities, awe and wonder of the world, and personal growth of every single trip participant.
- Stan (Erin Stanley)
Head of Barge Porgram
One third of all girls in the developing world are married before the age of eighteen, and one in nine are married before they are fifteen. One in three women across the world is experiencing violence and there are 32 million girls out of school.
These are just some of the daily challenges faced by thousands across the world, but it is easy to look at a statistic and condemn the families for allowing their daughters to marry so young or for not sending their children to school. To help groups understand the reasons and pressures behind these decisions, Traidhos Three-Generation Barge Program has developed a game to simulate family life in a developing country. Will our groups send their girls to school? Will they send their sons to the army and who will earn the money for the family?
The game involves four families each facing a new pressure every year. Each year the family must have enough money to feed their family and decide who will work that year and who will go to school. As in the real world, there is a gender wage gap, with men earning twice as much as women in the game. Boys who go to school can also earn a university bonus. Each family has a different number of women to men with the aim of the game being to force the hand of certain families to make decisions they may not want to make.
Some of the yearly challenges include another daughter being born, the father of the family getting sick and being unable to work, and conscription forcing some families to send one of their boys away to fight, with the resultant loss of his wage for the year. Each year some families find it harder to feed everyone, and some families get wealthier and wealthier. By allowing groups to make their own decision each year we can effectively demonstrate how gender equality issues arise, as each person or family in a village has different priorities. This also leads to very effective discussion on how to bring each family in a community together with a common goal, what might benefit one family can has a detrimental effect on another.
When Barge staff played this game, two of the four families were forced to sell their daughters to marriage to afford to feed their family. The other families chose to send their sons to school and have their daughters staying out of school to help earn the family’s wage. After playing the game we discussed how people felt making decisions that they did not like out of necessity.
By highlighting these issues through a game, the hope is that groups gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding gender equality, helping them to understand that positive change is the responsibility of everyone in the community. By empowering young men and women to make their own decisions and break free of pressures from family and community, many of the global goals can succeed. For example it has been shown that providing an extra year’s education to all children, can increase a country’s GDP by 0.37%, which can be hugely significant to the economic growth and development of a country, helping to achieve goal one of eradicating poverty. Girls’ education can also help to lower infant mortality, pregnancy rates and HIV/AIDS, making a massive contribution to goal three of good health and wellbeing.
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Sustainable cities and communities is about cities being inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. As we know, the population keeps increasing every year resulting in more and more resources being required. It is estimated that by 2030, sixty per cent of the world’s population will live in urban environments. The challenge is to prepare infrastructure and systems to support this growing urban population.
One impact on the growing urbanisation is the loss of cultural diversity. The UN recognises this concern and the importance of people maintaining connections with their roots.
Technology is very important and plays a key role in life. It makes day-to-day life more convenient, but may contribute in removing people from their background and eroding their sense of cultural identity. This is happening in Thailand as more and more people move to city areas, and as previously rural communities develop into small towns. People leave their homes to find the jobs and to look for the chance to get a better life. The result is that cities like Bangkok become more and more crowded. At the same time, while some people are looking for prosperity, some groups still value their own culture and can see how sustainability of their community is a valuable asset. The Barge Program visits the sustainable community of Ko Gerd in Ayutthaya province. This community is an example of how people live sustainably.
Ko Gerd community on the Chao Phraya River, includes a home-stay centre for people to visit and a learning centre to learn about herbal medicines. These include items for human health as well as insect repellents. They also have the station to learn how to make traditional snacks and food using ingredients from the local area. Local villagers working together staff the learning centre. It helps to provide employment for local people, and removes the need to live outside their community. The local culture is maintained and remains strong. Although there is no high technology, this community runs effectively using local knowledge, but the most important thing is people still can have a life at home.
Goal 13 Climate Change
Global Warming and 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21)
Representatives from 195 countries, 130 Heads of State and the European Union, including Thailand are gathering with a mission: Stabilise greenhouse gases before they are dangerous and further harm the planet. Global leaders at this conference have promised to develop voluntary plans putting each country on a path to reducing emissions of CO2
and other gases. The deal also commits all countries to keep a global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. Thailand’s commitment includes a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions approximately 20 – 25% by 2030, trying to reduce use of fossil fuels and instead use alternative energy sources promote a healthier environment.