จดหมายข่าว โครงการอียูรับมือโควิด ฉบับที่ 3 / EU COVID-19 Response & Recovery Project Newsletter Issue 3

EU COVID-19 Response & Recovery Project Newsletter Issue 3

The COVID-19 pandemic was still ongoing at the end of 2021 with the new Omicron strain. Although the government had implemented measures to control the spread, such as designating risk areas and restricting opening times of places with high risk, the number of infected persons continued to increase and broadly impacted everyone in aspects of health, economy, and society, especially to those vulnerable groups.

However, partner organisations of the EU COVID-10 Response & Recovery Project had by then all received increased experience, skills, and expertise working under limitations in the past, and therefore responded to and revised plans under the project, such as adjusting the type of activity conducted or the number of participants involved to ensure in advance the safety of the target groups and staff, enabling more activities to be carried out than during the first half of 2021. The main activity still focused on building up knowledge on disaster response and food security, to support communities to have a plan to respond to disasters in future, to convey the information from the targeted groups out to the wider public, and to enhance the capacity of partner organisations in carrying out the activities in various aspects.

In the final two trimesters of the project (January-June 2022), each partner organisation compiled a summary and list of challenges from carrying out the activities in order to develop a set of policy recommendations regarding COVID-19 response in various dimensions, such as a forum for exchanging views on disaster response that will drive policy and revise disaster laws, a seminar on future city planning “Creating urban food spaces” that involves Bangkok Governor candidates, and the seminar “Migrant workers and access to relief during COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand” for state agencies and relevant organisations, in order to present the problems and offer solutions to the public, as well as to encourage all relevant parties to carry out responses and participate in solving the problems of the various target groups in a concrete and sustainable manner.

Click here to read the EU COVID-19 Response & Recovery Project Newsletter Issue 3


จดหมายข่าวโครงการอียูรับมือ โควิด ฉบับที่ 2 ประจำปี 2564

EU COVID-19 Response & Recovery Project Newsletter Issue 2

The outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2021 is currently still ongoing. Therefore, the government has leveled up the control measures, for example, determination of COVID-19 risk areas, the control of inter-provincial travel, the enforcement of curfews, etc. which results in challenges facing for the fieldwork. The EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery Project and partnered organizations therefore have adjusted their activities to the occurring circumstance, such as changing forms of some activities from onsite to online operations, adjusting number of participants and activity patterns to be safe for the target groups and actors.

This adjustment has created learning, innovation, and cooperation among partner organizations so that activities can be carried out under various constraints. However, during the first year of the program, more than 45% of all activities had already been organized, such as distributing survival bags and hygiene products to schools and communities as well as other target groups, developing necessary professional skills during the outbreak of COVID-19, promoting knowledge on disaster response and food security, encouraging communities’ planning for future disasters, communicating with society to pass on information of the target- groups to public, as well as strengthening the capacity of associated organizations in various dimensions to carry out activities to be able to reach the target groups of more than 32,000 people in 40 provinces across the country.

Click here to read the EU COVID-19 Response & Recovery Project Newsletter Issue 2


Covid-19 response story Ratchanee Paeseng

"At least someone sees that we are here": Ratchanee Paeseng

“The government should come to see what support the community is seeking, if they are too much for the government to provide. What we really need is a fund that allows each of us to start a livelihood. We can do the rest with our hands and strength. If it comes as the 50-50 co-payment scheme, it doesn’t last, better to put money in career support.”

Ratchanee Paeseng, a villager of the Sa Ton Pho community in Phuket Province, is affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Previously, she was forcefully evicted from a land where she put up her house seven years prior.

Ratchanee moved to Phuket from Nakhon Si Thammarat Province seeking career opportunities. She was evicted from the land she settled along with many others, but later the group joined the Phuket Community Development Rights Network and participated in social activities. Supported by Chumchonthai Foundation, People's Movement for a Just Society (P-move) and ActionAid Thailand under the EU-funded Land is Life Project, the community’s the land right issues were raised to the state and eventually a new Sa Ton Pho community was created in an area next to the old place.

Before the pandemic, Ratchanee had worked in a spa in Phuket, earning about 800-900 Thai baht per day. With it, she could live with little difficulty. After the outbreak, the spa was shut down, and income dried up. She was struggling to buy food for survival. Investing in a new occupation was out of the question. And because Ratchanee was a non-registered person in Phuket, she could not receive any support from the provincial authority.

Fortunately, the community once again received emergency assistance from the Chumchonthai Foundation and ActionAid Thailand under the EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery Project. On top of distributing relief packages, the project hosted a meeting where everyone could exchange and share issues, to find solutions together in response to the current and future disasters in the community.

Ratchanee reflected that past hardships taught that one had to fight to get through, expressing gratitude for the help and moral support from the Community Development Rights Network and the EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery Project.

“The help from the project made me feel better and strong enough to fight on. At least someone sees that we are here and doesn’t leave us behind.”

"อย่างน้อยมีคนมองเห็นว่ามีเราอยู่": รัชนี แป๊ะเซ็ง ชุมชน สระต้นโพธิ์ จ.ภูเก็ต
รัชนี พร้อมชาวบ้านชุมชนสระต้นโพธิ์ / ภาพ: สุริยะ ผ่องพันธุ์งาม / แอ็คชั่นเอด ประเทศไทย

Food security: sustainable lessons for future crises

Sustainable lessons for future crises

Due to the surge of the pandemic, many vulnerable communities were struggling to survive. They could not afford enough food and necessary daily nutrients. Food security was one of the solutions that the EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery Project, led by ActionAid Thailand in cooperation with BioThai Foundation, implemented. The aim was to reduce food expenses, improve nutrition in target groups, promote chemical-free vegetable cultivation, encourage growing for family consumption and spreading the practice in the community, and improve target groups’ overall physical and mental health.

In 2020, BioThai Foundation held workshops on basic food cultivation, from soil preparation to food production, for 30 community leaders from Pho Rieang, Thai Kriang, Thai Noi, Amnat Charoen, Chumphon, Wat Sawat, Suan Luang, Wathai Ayutthaya, and Wathai Nonthaburi.

ชุมชน มั่นคงทางอาหาร เสริมสร้างความยืดหยุ่นในยุคโควิด
ภาพ: มูลนิธิชีววิถี

Phonnarong Punthong, a leader of a northeastern network from Amnat Charoen Province, said that during the pandemic, his community was severely affected. Earnings dropped precipitously. Yet, food supply was not a problem, because his network had been working with and assisted by the BioThai Foundation on organic farming. As a result, his community was able to cope with food shortage during the pandemic.

Phonnarong recognised the importance of food security and decided to take part in the training because he hoped to enhance his food security skill and knowledge to sustainably develop his community.

“Joining this training is very useful. It helps create skills in agriculture from scratch. Instead of the uninformed traditional approach, there was the methodical instruction on growing vegetables and proper storage.”

พรณรง ปั้นทอง แกนนำเครือข่ายภาคอีสาน / ภาพ: สุริยะ ผ่องพันธุ์งาม / แอ็คชั่นเอด ประเทศไทย

Phonnarong added that the factor that changed his life after the training was the proper knowledge that was practical and highly beneficial to his family and his community. It led to his intention to pass on the knowledge from the training to other areas in his northeastern network in future.

Sukanya Kerdtim, from an Ayutthaya community network, said that before the spread of COVID-19, she had been a company employee in Bangkok. When the outbreak occurred, her working hours were reduced until she was finally dismissed. She did not have the income to support her family. Then there was the food shortage as it was very difficult to buy food during the crisis.

After joining a training about soil preparation and vegetable growing, Sukanya could better appreciate the importance of food security and would raise awareness on the issue, starting by growing greens at home and transferring this knowledge to friends in the community.

“I believe the vegetables that I grow will be shared with colleagues and friends. The sharing is not limited to vegetables, knowledge can be shared too.”

ขจร ฉูตรสูงเนิน จากชุมชนไทยเกรียง / ภาพ: สุริยะ ผ่องพันธุ์งาม / แอ็คชั่นเอด ประเทศไทย

Kajorn Chutsungnoen, from the Thai Kriang community network in Samut Prakan Province, was a repairman. During the pandemic, he struggled with food shortage. Sometimes his wife could not make her daily trip to the market. With his interest in food security and experience of growing vegetables at home, he was interested to join this training. He wanted to properly grow his own food and to set an example for his community.

“I have never known some of the information taught in the training, like in planting, I didn’t know that you have to clean it first. Coming to this training, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge, which is truly practical.”

After the training, Kajorn would be able to have his own vegetable garden, eat them every day, and share them with his neighbours. Importantly, he believed that this knowledge would help him survive this pandemic and any future crises to come.


สอนคิด คำนึงถึงความแตกต่าง: คุยกับครูบัว–บุณฑริก ซื่อสัตย์ โรงเรียนบ้านฮากฮาน จ.น่าน โรงเรียนสอนคิด เครื่องมือสอนคิด

Critical thinking, individual differences: what Khru Bua's small school fosters

After a successful recruitment procedure, Ms. Bua Buntharik Suesat or, as her students call her, Khru Bua (khru is Thai for teacher) had her first teaching job at Ban Si Wa Doe School in Sop Moei District, Mae Hong Son Province, teaching Karen children from remote communities four years before making her transfer to Nan.

Today Khru Bua is teaching sixth graders at Ban Hak Han School, located in Nan’s Wiang Sa District. The school is under the Nan Primary Educational Service Area Office 1 and, with it being a small school of only 57 students and much fewer teachers, Khru Bua has to teach every subject required by the curriculum.

What made Khru Bua who she is today traces back to her childhood: coming from a low-income family, she had received student aid over the years. Although her family faced financial challenges, her education wasn’t overlooked. At fifteen, Khru Bua had to make a choice between pursuing vocational training or a university education. Choosing to follow her childhood dream of becoming a teacher, she got a student loan and applied for various scholarships. Eventually, the then-high school senior Khru Bua secured her place in the Bachelor of Education Program in Elementary Education at Chiang Mai University.

The reason she wanted to be a primary school teacher stems from her own experience with a short-tempered teacher who tended to hit students. The disdain for this particular teacher made Khru Bua feign mild sickness many times in order to miss the teacher’s class. But skipping lessons took its toll when her own grades worsened. For future students to like their teacher and not be driven away from school, Khru Bua wanted to start with herself and become a teacher. “Primary school is too important,” she said. “Kids shouldn’t feel like fending off the very foundation of their education.”

Photo: Patchgorn Pattawipas/ActionAid

Before getting to know Thinking Tools, a set of innovative pedagogical tools that Ban Hak Han School has incorporated in their curriculum, Khru Bua was skeptical. But she took time to reflect, as a teacher, what resources could be leveraged to help students develop critical thinking skills. “I came around,” she said. “It would be useless if a teacher has their students repeat things after them. That's rote learning and it does very little to help them solve problems in real life.”

“It would be useless if a teacher has their students repeat things after them,
That's rote learning and it does very little to help them solve problems in real life.”

On classroom management, Khru Bua notes, “positive disciplinary behaviour development is crucial. The teacher has to provide understanding, guidance and warmth. There should be no punishment and violence. The classroom should be a safe, stress-free space where students can express themselves and their views, where they can also laugh and play. That’s the ideal classroom. Its size may be small and we may not be equipped with the latest technology – only old fans and worn wooden desks – but if the teacher and students understand each other, that’s what makes a happy classroom.”

“Personally, I think physical tools and resources are necessary, but no more so than a good teaching method and how the teacher is towards the students. Even though Ban Hak Han School is a small school with no abundance of resources, we will overcome any material challenges.”

Khru Bua’s ideal school is not different from what society expects: a sufficient number of adequate classrooms, structural durability, a bright and well-stocked library, a playground and other physical environments that enhance learning. However, there’s no denying that small schools, particularly those in remote areas or in the mountains such as Ban Hak Han, don’t have everything of the ideal. They still face limitations running on funding the central government has allocated.

In many ways, a public school teacher is a civil servant working according to their line of duty. On her specific line of duty, Khru Bua reflects, “Thailand’s education system is always changing. When the person at the top changes, the policy changes. The system never stays still, and teachers need to keep pace with it and be ready for change. At the same time, we teachers have to be firm in the goal of student development. Like bamboos bending with the wind, we’re firm on the ground, but we’re also malleable.”

"The Thai education system needs to do better in recognising individual differences.
Forcing a fish that swims well to compete with other animals at
climbing trees is impossible and of no use. It’s the same with students.
As long as we use the same set of academic standards to appraise them,
there will only be 'smart' and 'slow heads'.

Ban Hak Han School became a Thinking School after the teachers had taken a learning visit to Chiang Rai Provincial Administrative Organisation School (the first school in Thailand to adopt the Thinking School methodology). The trip was supported by ActionAid Thailand. "We learned from hands-on experience and came back inspired to put the Thinking Tools to practice," she called. "We met with positive results and were able to create a positive learning environment. We’ve been doing this for about three years now.”

“Implementing the ten Thinking Tools in class has led to significant changes. Firstly, there’s change within the teachers – we’re more proactive, always learning. We make use of technology and don’t just recite books like before. I also personally see changes in the students. They’re more focused, responsive, expressive, and understanding of other people’s views. They’re able to communicate their thoughts more coherently, explain their reasons, make comparisons, summarise information, and make their own decisions.”

Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast, and Mind Mapping are some of the Thinking Tools used at this school. Photo: Burassakorn Gitipotnopparat/ActionAid

For Khru Bua, the Thai education system needs to do better in recognising individual differences. “Forcing a fish that swims well to compete with other animals at climbing trees is impossible and of no use. It’s the same with students. As long as we use the same set of academic standards to appraise them, there will only be 'smart' and 'slow heads'. The current system takes teachers away from students. It takes away the students’ humanity and encourages them to be more like a machine."

Khru Bua is a notable example of a teacher who has adopted Thinking Tools. She has proven that an effective classroom doesn’t necessarily need to be equipped with abundant resources. This is because learning can take place in any circumstance, even in a Thai highlands community shared by various ethnic groups like Ban Hak Han. Today, Khru Bua remains committed to guiding and developing youth through innovative tools that not only teach them how to think, but how to exercise empathy – how to be human. She is an important player in the movement that’s bringing about change in the area and making an impact on many other schools in Nan and beyond.


EU สหภาพยุโรป สนับสนุนแอ็คชั่นเอดและภาคประชาสังคม เปิดตัวโครงการรับมือ-ฟื้นฟูผลกระทบโควิด-19 / European Union

EU announces support for ActionAid and civil society, launches COVID-19 impact mitigation programme

As part of the Team Europe response to the coronavirus pandemic globally, the European Union yesterday launched two projects under the EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Thailand programme with a total funding of about €2.6 million, or around 90 million baht. The programme aims to increase the capacity and participation of Thai civil society organisations (CSOs) in mitigating the health, social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable populations of the country and will be implemented over the next two years by two CSO consortiums.

The EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Thailand programme has three key components: immediate relief for households impacted by the outbreak; a sustainable social and economic recovery through the improvement of the livelihood of affected communities; and building the communities’ resilience so that they can thrive and withstand future challenges.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will have profound consequences, in the short, medium and long terms. These range from immediate health and humanitarian challenges to more profound structural socio-economic change, which cannot yet even be fully understood”, said H.E. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand. “It is clear that concerted efforts to deal with the fallout of the pandemic will be needed by all actors. As a long-standing development partner of the Kingdom of Thailand, the European Union is committed to supporting our CSO partners in their efforts to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, to ensure that no one is left behind. I am very pleased with our co-operating in ensuring effective implementation of a number of new projects, for the benefit of vulnerable communities all around the Kingdom.”

The programme’s nationwide project will be led by ActionAid Thailand in collaboration with the Chumchon Thai Foundation, the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion (HOMENET) and the BioThai Foundation. The intervention will cover almost 40 provinces in Thailand and work with affected sectors including migrant and informal workers, marginalised populations and children, about half of whom are women.

“We have come together to assist a range of communities in Thailand and respond to their specific needs, both during and after the crisis. This action is a multi-sector response that includes preparedness for the uncertainty of what’s to come, a socioeconomic recovery in the short-to-medium term, and resilience measures for the most vulnerable marginalised communities,” said Mr. Tauhid Ibne Farid, Country Director of ActionAid Thailand.

Save the Children in partnership with Prince of Songkla University and the Prince of Songkla University Alumni Association Volunteer will spearhead the intervention in the three southern border provinces, plus four districts in Songkhla. The project will work with the most vulnerable households, youth groups and migrant returnees with a focus on women.

“A lot of the poorest and most vulnerable families in Thailand are at risk and still struggling to get back on their feet,” added Mr. Prasert Tepanart, Save the Children’s National Director in Thailand. “We must ensure that these communities become resilient and that individuals are prepared and self-sufficient to withstand, mitigate and prevent the impact of future health, economic and social crises.”

About European Union

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 Member States. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedom. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. The EU is the largest trade block in the world, as well as the world's largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. Collectively, the EU and its Member States are the largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing more than half of ODA globally.

สหภาพยุโรป สนับสนุนแอ็คชั่นเอดและภาคประชาสังคม เปิดตัวโครงการรับมือ-ฟื้นฟูผลกระทบโควิด-19 


จดหมายข่าว มูลนิธิแอ็คชั่นเอด ประเทศไทย (กรกฎาคม 2563) / ActionAid Thailand Newsletter (July 2020)

ActionAid Thailand Newsletter Issue 3/2020 (July 2020)

Stay connected to ActionAid Thailand through our latest e-newsletter!

In the past quarter, ActionAid Thailand directed its efforts to respond to the multidimensional impact of COVID-19. Our emergency appeal was able to provide food and non-food items for the most small school children. We also launched a civil society consortium project that will increase preparedness and resilience of vulnerable groups such as migrant workers and marginalised communities to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic. In response to the surge of domestic violence in Thailand during lockdown, the Safe Cities for Women Network introduced #TeamPueakNeighborhood, an online campaign encouraging people to look out for each other despite the barrier of physical distancing. Also highlighted in this newsletter is how Thailand's indegineous networks in the north and south mobilised their resources to tackle food insecurity under the Rice for Fish exchange scheme.

Download the July 2020 issue of the newsletter


Don’t cut women’s lifelines, warns ActionAid, as gender-based violence surges worldwide during COVID-19

Don’t cut women’s lifelines, warns ActionAid as gender-based violence surges worldwide during COVID-19

Global lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions have unleashed a shocking surge in gender-based violence (GBV) in countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, as women’s shelters are shut down and countries divert funding to battle the pandemic.

New research by ActionAid, based on surveys of local support services and women’s movements worldwide, also found that domestic violence survivors with live legal cases were increasingly being forced to settle out of court, due to COVID-related court closures. This is increasing community tensions and damaging survivors’ ability to rebuild their lives.

ActionAid’s Country Director in Nigeria, Ene Obi, says: “We have never been more alarmed about the violence unleashed on women and girls than in recent times.

“Girls, women, young and old, are living in fear as they don’t even feel safe in their own homes. Due to the pandemic, arrest is no longer enough to serve as a deterrent, as most of these cases are being settled out of court. This means there is no real justice for the survivors and their families.”

Key findings from the report, Surviving COVID-19: A Women-Led Response show that:

    • In Bangladesh, ActionAid’s network of support services, including in the Rohingya refugee camps, found a tenfold (983%) increase in sexual and domestic violence this April to May, compared to the same period last year.
    • In Brazil, 143 women were killed across 12 states in March and April this year and had a 22% increase in femicide compared to last year, according to data from security agencies. In the Northern State, Acre, femicide is up 300%.
    • In Uganda, ActionAid was forced to temporarily shut down 10 of its shelters due to lockdown restrictions, even though the caseloads doubled in March and April 2020 during the outbreak, compared to the prior year.
    • In the Gaza Strip, an ActionAid partner organisation reports supporting 700% more survivors of GBV through its counselling services this April-May than in 2019.
    • In Italy, a review of more than 228 shelters saw the number of women who asked for support through the government’s anti-violence hotline increase by 59%.
    • In Nigeria, where the government has declared a state of emergency following a sharp spike in cases of femicide and rape, one women’s shelter reported a 700% increase in cases of violence since lockdown. ActionAid is calling for a ban on bail and out of court settlements for these brutal cases, following 253 harrowing attacks documented since lockdown.

The persistent, yet predicable increased rape and murder of women, which happens in any emergency, remains the most ignored and underfunded part of the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for COVID-19. Less than 0.3% of the funding needed to protect women from violence has been committed.

Four years ago, at the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit, the world promised that 25% of humanitarian funding would go directly to local organisations, such as the women’s shelters featured in ActionAid’s new report. But the UN’s global plan for COVID-19 is way off track, with just 0.1% of funding going to local organisations.

Julia Sánchez, Secretary General of ActionAid International, said:

“COVID-19 is a health and economic crisis which has also unleashed a horrifying surge in femicide, rape and violence against women and girls. Our research shows this is a worldwide phenomenon, played out with shocking regularity and predictability, and is clearly under-reported.

“Governments, charities and donors worldwide must respond urgently, to scale up the pitiful levels of funding for women’s protection services and local organisations working on the frontline of the COVID–19 pandemic and indeed in all humanitarian crises and disasters.

“Two thirds of the world’s health workers are women, yet only a quarter of decision-making bodies for the pandemic are female .This explains why health research doesn’t monitor women’s specific needs and decisions are being made without women in mind, despite women bearing the brunt of the fallout.”

ActionAid’s report warns that the world is "sleepwalking into the shadow pandemic of global femicide". The organisation is calling for GBV services like women’s shelters and referral pathways to be classified as essential in all countries.

ActionAid is responding to the COVID-19 crisis in 40 countries around the world. Its frontline, women-led services have all reported increases in violence against women and girls since the start of the pandemic. More than 60% of its humanitarian funding goes to local organisations, the majority to women’s organisations.

Download the report Surviving COVID-19: A Women-Led Response