It’s a treat to hear from Anita, our Thai translator, steward of the Barefoot MBA at PDA, and general goodwill ambassador for the program. Anita and Laura, the PDA intern from Michigan State, have made great progress deepening and broadening the Barefoot MBA’s reach at PDA. We’ll post photos when they arrive. Meanwhile, Anita writes:
We have been busy working to dramatically increase the number of our Village Development Partnership (VDP) projects and engaging the private sector. … We are looking at incorporating the Barefoot MBA into our VDP model. As we give villagers access to credit to start/expand their businesses through the Village Development Bank, we also offer them skills to help them succeed in their businesses through the Barefoot MBA.
Laura and I just spent 3 ½ weeks in the PDA Lamplaimat center this March, where you were based last time. We went through the remaining 13 modules of the curriculum, along with Khun Prahat, the head of the VDP program (he was previously also the center director). Of these, we decided to discard 3 as they were already covered by other training run by PDA. Working with Somthin (who helped us last time), we adapted and translated the remaining 10 modules, grouping them into 4 learning sessions. Of these, we tested out 2 in pilot sessions, including as many people as we could from the first two pilot sessions. They were also a success, despite a massive storm preventing many of the participants attending the second session!
We are calling the sessions based on your curriculum “Barefoot MBA Stage 1: Introduction to Business” and this will be offered to all villagers who are interested in setting up/expanding a business, and to members of the Village Development Bank committee. We are incorporating two PDA training sessions, which teach how to write a business plan and how to create a budget over 1-2 days. These are very in-depth classes which are designed to give participants the actual tools they need to start a business, so we are only offering them to villagers who are very serious about setting up a business. We are calling these classes “Barefoot MBA Stage 2: Advanced Training.”
We won’t stop here. We will continue to work on expanding the Barefoot MBA at PDA to include “Study Abroad,” “Internship” and “Networking” stages.
As you can see, your work with us almost two years ago has been invaluable in helping us to get started on offering villagers what they desperately need: business knowledge and skills!