4. Digital Knowledge Promotion
PDA – Projects over the last 4 decades
- Family Planning, AIDS and Primary Health Care
PDA in 1974 started with a comprehensivefamily planning program which at that time was considered the most useful contribution to development. Community clinics and mobile health unitsprovided knowledge,advice and contraceptives (pills,condoms,injectables, IUD). Millions of Thais gained access to contraceptives and vasectomies and the exorbitant birthrate at that time could be reduced substantially.
Based on this experience PDA in the eighties embarked on one of the most ambitious and successful HIV/AIDS programs worldwide due to its very special desensitizing and participatory approaches, i.e. ‘condom blowing contests’. The programs are in line with SDG 1,2,3,5.
2. Water Resource Development
PDA has been developing water resource and community sanitation programs using appropriate technology, stimulate community participation, training villagers to develop skills and knowledge necessary for its comprehensive ‘Water for Health and Wealth’ approach. Successful projects comprised projects such as ‘Tungnam’ for rainwater collection in water tanks, ‘Sky Irrigation’ for vegetable cultivation, water supply by solar PV pumping etc. Altogether, hundred thousands of villagers all over Thailand benefitted from PDA’ water projects.
PDA also entered into cooperation projects with neighboring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, especially with regard to water, renewable energy and climate change.
The programs are in line especially with SDG 6 and 7.
3. Nature and Environmental Conservation
PDA initiated reforestation in public areas with the participation of villagers who elected community forest planting committees for environmental care and community benefit, first in the northeast region since 1980 and then throughout the country with significant extension of the afforested area with support from government agencies and the private business sector.
Local conservation organizations were established such as Nature Conservation Clubs in villages around Khao Yai National Park, Pha Taem Conservation Area of Ubon Ratchathani province, and Bang Pa Canal Conservation Area in Ratchaburi province.
PDA’s environmental protection efforts have been internationally recognized with the 2002 UNDP Equator Prize for its successful buffer zone development in Subtai adjacent to the Khao Yai National Park.
PDA has recently been registered as an environmental protection and natural resource conservation organization under the Ministry of Science and Technology in recognition of its contributions to SDG 13,14,15.
4. Disaster relief
The tsunami that hit Thailand’s Andaman Coast on 26 December 2004 was the Kingdom’s greatest natural disaster in human memory, with almost 10,000 people killed or disappeared.
PDA’s ‘New Life after the Tsunami’ program was one of the most comprehensive of any NGO in Thailand. It could significantly improve the livelihoods of villagers in the more than a hundred communities along the Andaman coast of Krabi, Phangnga, Trang and Phuket.
5. Community-Based Integrated Rural Development and the private sector
At the beginning of the nineties PDA embarked with support from Ford Foundation and DWHH on the ‘Thai Business Initiatiive for Rural Development (TBIRD)’ – a pre-runner for public-private partnerships – which was succeeded by the ‘Village Development Partnership (VDP)’ program. The idea in a nutshell is to support companies with their CSR viz. CSV programsand make use of their knowledge about production, finance and marketing for the benefit of rural communities.
More than a hundred companies participated in more than two hundred projects.
6. Democracy, Gender and Education
Women and youth are the target groups of special importance for PDA. Women are encouraged to take an active role in improving the quality of their lives, their families and communities in terms of occupation, additional income, health and environment.
Democracy promotion has received support from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). Moreover, the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation of PDA’s chairman has embarked on an ambitious project to re-engineer rural education in Thailand and convert schools into life-long learning centers.
The ‘Mechai Bamboo School’ in Lam Plai Mat District, Buriram Province, has been qualified by UNFPA as ‘one of the world’s most innovative schools’ in 2017 and cooperates with schools countrywide as well as in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Finally, PDA has provided knowledge and experience to government agencies, private business and general public, in trainings and meetings with thousands of participants from more than fifty countries.