Chiang Mai Framework for Action

Image © Baan Dek Foundation

Sustainable Development goals

About the project

With the aim to support up to an estimated 60,000 children living in temporary housing sites for construction workers in Thailand, Baan Dek Foundation works with property developers and construction companies to improve living conditions and access to services for workers and their children, the majority of whom migrate to work in Thailand from Myanmar and Cambodia.

Leveraging a decade of experience with children in urban slums and construction companies, Baan Dek Foundation has developed the Chiang Mai Framework for Action (CMFA), a set of 12 practical actions that companies can do to significantly improve the lives of children and families living in these communities. To implement the CMFA, Baan Dek Foundation has developed a toolkit to guide companies to create social value at scale throughout Thailand.

Baan Dek Foundation has worked closely with pioneer companies in real estate and construction to run and test the CMFA in demonstration site camps in the Bangkok area. An SROI forecast was conducted in early 2021 to identify the outcomes for families and children as a result of the company implementing the Framework. Baan Dek Foundation will continue to apply SROI principles and methodology in evaluating the impact of the CMFA and tracking specific changes for children and families to the actions by construction companies recommended by the Framework.

Headlines

For every 1 Thai Baht invested by construction companies, there is a 7 Thai Baht return in social value for the workers and their families. Outcomes of these investments are forecast to be changes such as reduced injuries and accidents around the housing site, improved health outcomes, increased educational outcomes and reduced risk of exposure to violence and exploitation.

The SROI has resulted in a framework which outlines the business case and the potential value creation for construction companies that are considering investing in implementing the CMFA, and gives assurance that the money invested will create a positive return.

Developers and contractors have the opportunity to act directly on social and environmental issues by adhering to good practices themselves and exerting a positive influence on the practices of their sub-contractors.
Nicola Crosta
Founder Baan Dek Foundation
Interview with Property Guru on ESG in the Real Estate Sector

Learnings and challenges

Learnings

The SROI has shown that it is possible to identify, measure, and value the impact of the camp improvements recommended by the Chiang Mai Framework for Action. It has also shown that camp residents are willing and able to engage in discussion about the impact of camp improvements on their lives.

The research was possible because the Foundation had already established relationships with the camp authorities and residents, which made the research logistics easier. The research also built on the earlier research that had been conducted with camp residents – which provided a strong platform for the SROI. Overall, the SROI process demonstrated the value of conducting an SROI on the back of sustained engagement with stakeholders.

The process also highlighted where the evidence for long-term outcomes is stronger, and where additional research would be useful. For example, it was easier to demonstrate the value of some shorter-term outcomes such as reducing illness and accidents on the camp (for example, through improved sanitation and improved security). Additional evidence on the value created by some of the long-term outcomes, such as increased vaccination rates, and increased participation in education, would help strengthen future SROI analyses.

Challenges

The primary research for the evaluation had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even when research was possible – there were several challenges to overcome, including the different languages spoken, low levels of literacy, and participants’ lack of free time. In addition, many camp residents moved from one construction camp to another fairly frequently, and this means that the long-term impact of camp improvements can be harder to measure.

    Using the Results

    The Baan Dek Foundation invested in SVI training for its staff before starting the project. They are promoting the SROI approach with funders and project partners, and within the social value community in Thailand (including at the Social Value Matters 2021 Conference).

    The results were shared with the project funder. They will also be shared with other construction companies, as part of a package of materials to encourage them to improve living conditions on construction camps by adopting the Chiang Mai Framework for Action.

    The Baan Dek Foundation is planning to conduct further SROI research as part of the implementation of the Chiang Mai Framework for Action in other construction sites across Thailand. This will allow the gathering of further primary research, and the creation of an evaluative SROI.

    Methodology

    The study followed the forecast SROI methodology. The main features of the methodology are outlined below.

    The forecast involves a set of outcomes that the CMFA is expected to create. These outcomes were identified though primary qualitative research with stakeholders, including residents within the camps, education and healthcare services, and company staff. The research involved focus groups with adults and children, conducted within the camp, and one-to-one interviews with other stakeholders. The focus groups included a value game to help identify the relative importance of outcomes

    Previous research conducted by the Foundation, Building Futures in Thailand,[1] was also used to identify the outcomes.

    [1] Baan Dek Foundation and UNICEF Thailand, Building Futures in Thailand, Support to Children Living in Construction Site Camps

    A paper survey was conducted with both adults and children within the camps. The survey incorporated symbols and pictures in the answer choices, in order to be as accessible as possible to those participants with low levels of literacy. Participants were also given the option of receiving help to understand and answer the survey.

    For several outcomes, participants were asked about the current situation, and the situation before the camp improvements had been made. This allowed a pre-post analysis of the impact of the camp improvements.

    A significant amount of secondary research was used in order to calculate the value of the outcomes. In particular, secondary research was used to link the short-term outcomes reported by stakeholders, to the longer term outcomes. For example, data from the Global Burden of Disease was used to estimate the health impact of infectious diseases in Thailand, and therefore to estimate the improvement in health that is likely to arise when people report suffering from fewer illnesses.[1]

    [1] For example, see: The global burden of injury: incidence, mortality, disability-adjusted life years and time trends from the Global Burden of Disease study 2013. Injury Prevention.” injuryprev-2015. 10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041616.

    Research participants took part in a ‘value game’, which allowed the relative importance of outcomes to be identified.

    • Health outcomes were then largely given a monetary value through a healthcare economics approach, drawing on Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). These were given a monetary value equivalent of 2 x Gross National Income per Capita.
    • Economic outcomes were given a monetary value through the use of primary data, e.g. the cost that camp occupants paid on average for legal documents.

    The monetary value outcomes were checked against the value game results, to ensure that they reflected stakeholders’ views on the relative importance of outcomes.