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 


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


โรงเรียนขนาดเล็ก “ขอให้ทุกโรงเรียนไม่ถูกปิด”: พี่ทรอส นักเรียนชั้น ป.4 โรงเรียนวัดโคกทอง

“I wish every school gets to stay open”: Tross, Grade 4, Wat Kok Thong School

How long have you come to Wat Kok Thong School?

I have studied here since the second year of kindergarten. So it’s five years.

How do you like it here?

I like it. We have a big BBL (Brain-Based Learning) activity ground. The teachers are nice and good. I like my homeroom teacher, Teacher Mob, and my favourite activity is PBL (Problem-Based Learning). I get to find out answers and write them down. Sometimes we work alone, sometimes in groups, and write about things that we’re studying.

The term has just started. Now we’re studying about burners and ovens. The teacher asked us to think about what they look like and write the details down. We also think about what they are made of and their use. We can use them a lot to cook. I learned about different types of burners like gas stoves and charcoal burners. I know that we can cook food with them or burn trash. To burn trash, we will need dried tree leaves or twigs as fuel.

Jitta-sueksa is fun. Some days it’s fun, some days it’s boring. When it’s fun is when I get to draw, because I like drawing. And stories. I like drawing cartoons, like Ultraman, because I’ve watched Ultraman since I was very little. Jitta-sueksa lets us write and draw, and the teacher is kind. He gets angry sometimes when students don’t listen. I would listen to the teacher because if I don’t, I may not be able to catch up with the class and send my classwork in time. When the teacher asks something and I have an answer in mind, I would raise my hand. The teacher said to raise our hands when we want to speak. If not, no one will listen to us. I think I can still use this lesson when I grow up. When I grow up, I will listen to the question carefully and raise my hand before I say something.

If you have to choose between going to a big school and coming to this school that is closer to your house, what would you choose?

Coming to this school, because there aren’t too many students so it isn’t loud and crowded.

If one day you have to go to a different school, what do you think would be the impact on your life?

It would be tiring for my grandfather and he would spend more money on gas. My grandfather gives me a motorbike ride to school. It doesn’t take a long time to get here but it isn’t close enough to walk from home. I can’t ride a bike by myself because the road is too big. If students here go to a different school, this school would be left empty and there won’t be a good school like this anymore.

What can you do if you want to keep this school open?

I can go talk to the school director.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

I want to help my parents sell mushrooms. I think by helping them with calculations. How many kilograms we can sell, things like that, because I learned it in maths class. My parents usually sell the mushrooms to regular customers. And I help them pick fresh mushrooms on the weekends sometimes.

What would you like to say to adults?

I wish every school gets to stay open. Because some students live near their schools and if they don’t want to travel a long distance, they still get to go to school.


Located in Ratchaburi Province, Wat Kok Thong School is a small school of 102 students, teaching from kindergarten level to Grade 6.

Like 15,000 other small primary and secondary schools all over Thailand, Wat Kok Thong is facing the risk of closure and merger with a magnet school, after the Office of Basic Education Commission has issued a “most urgent” letter to directors of education service areas to begin considering closing and merging small schools in order to achieve budget efficiency.

In the official document dated 19 November 2019, there is no mention of improving the quality of public education in the long run, or the multidimensional social and economic impacts on students and their families.

Wat Kok Thong School, led by the school director Ms. Chanita Philachai, believes the voice of strong school networks and local communities, coupled with innovative tools and a strategic move to improve local education beyond the roadmap drawn by central authority, will help them win over a policy that views education through an economics lens – as a commodity that has to be worth the government’s per-head investments.


ActionAid Thailand 2018 Annual Report

ActionAid Thailand 2018 Annual Report

This report is the story of ActionAid Thailand’s year in 2018. It shows our human rights-based approach to development and the progress we’ve made in our three programme priorities – the story of how we strengthen small schools and advocate for the right to education, how we work with the government and public in campaigns and policy advocacy work on gender equality and the right to safe cities for women. It also shows how we support landless and land-poor communities to secure their rights to land and natural resources, and the global efforts to tackle climate change and bring about climate justice.

In here you will also find our audited accounts, ensuring that we remain transparent and accountable to the poor and excluded people that we work with as well as our partners, supporters, donors and all other relevant stakeholders.

Download 2018 Annual Report


Opinion: National Ed Expo and the new Education Act

The National Ed Expo: Rally for Better Quality of Education took place on 26-27 August 2019 at the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam, Bangkok. The two-day event organised by the Office of the Education Council displayed informative exhibits and brought together academics, educators, policy makers and stakeholders from around the country.

An array of topics were discussed, like a national education reform that touches on many policies and laws, from Thailand’s 20-Year National Strategy, the National Economic and Social Development Plan, to the new National Education Act, of which the draft is being reviewed and presented for public opinion before it enters the legislative procedure. Also brought up for debate was the issue of disparity and inequality in education, the 2018 National Education Standards – approved by the cabinet on 2 October 2018 – and the teaching of coding as a third language in schools.

We would like to commend those who are working and devoting their best efforts to improve the Thai education system. Being part of the discussions of academics, educators and other stakeholders, we saw that every group wishes to make Thailand’s human resource development rival that of other countries, and make the education system more decentralised, empowering schools, communities and local authorities to manage local schools more independently while respecting and prioritising pupils’ diversity. The fact that these goalposts are established in the new National Education Act draft shows that Thailand’s education law is by no means moving backwards, but slowly advancing and redistributing power and ownership to the people.

The worrying concern – and something that the participants should reflect on after this – is perhaps the understanding, interpretation and actual practice of these ambitions. Because even though the current National Education Act does support decentralised education management, the reality we have seen paints a complex picture. Policy implementation has proven rocky in practice. Resource allocation, for instance, remains unequal and innovative classroom teaching has been overlooked. It is, then, vital that the government works to ensure equality and equity in education management, especially when Thailand has adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals alongside other member states of the United Nations. 2030 is critically a little over 10 years away.

Education is a chronic condition that Thailand has long endured and no cabinet has been able to prescribe the right remedy for, much less cure successfully. Each administration would implement their brand-new policy, rendering more than 300,000 teachers a variable in an experiment while more than 6 million children the human guinea pigs. When a proposed antidote does not work, a new one is concocted. The cycle continues.

 

Opinion: National Ed Expo and the new Education Act พ.ร.บ.ฉบับใหม่ และสภาพการศึกษาไทย: มุมมองคนนอกจากมหกรรมการศึกษาแห่งชาติ
Photo: Burassakorn Gitipotnopparat / ActionAid

 

Our hope is to see policy makers, adults with decision-making powers, see the center their work on children and respect their human rights and dignity. And these children are not only those in urban areas but also more than 1.2 million of their peers in rural small schools. The adults need to take into account the latter’s varying social, cultural and economic contexts. If at the heart of education is the full development of the human personality that will go on to drive the future of the country, we must not neglect equal and equitable access to it in the first place. We, as a society, must not fail to question public education policies. Are our government’s efforts just and for the benefit of all people?

For that reason, the National Education Act draft is not merely a new education law waiting to pass but an essential framework for the future of Thailand, one of which we are all stakeholders. It is important that we understand what and where it will lead to and voice our opinions. Because sooner or later, its impact will reach us, directly or otherwise.

 

Read the draft of the new National Education Act and give your opinion at the following links.

➡️ National Education Act draft http://bit.ly/2zvqlhy

➡️ Opinion form http://bit.ly/34cml3B


Problem-Based Learning: What This School in Rural Thailand Is Getting Right

Problem-Based Learning: What This School in Rural Thailand Is Getting Right

About two hours’ drive northwest of Bangkok, a small farming community in the Kampangsaen district of Thailand is making huge strides to develop young people. Led by Mrs. Pichsinee Cheunchoowong, Baan Huai Rang Ket Primary School is piloting a cutting-edge program that challenges traditional methods of teaching.

Situated in a rural setting, the program is implementing an innovative educational technique called “problem-based learning.” It uses a social and emotional learning curriculum that prioritizes developing empathy, forming and maintaining positive relationships, and building pragmatic skills as well as decision-making abilities. Students are held to individually established, high expectations both on emotional and academic levels, and they are encouraged to pay attention to their attitudes toward themselves, their peers, and the learning process.

With the guidance and facilitation of their teachers, students also have opportunities to come up with solutions for issues they face in their communities. They are encouraged to think outside the box and express their ideas and imaginations.

 

Problem-Based Learning: What This School in Rural Thailand Is Getting Right
Photo: Meredith Slater / ActionAid

 

A typical day at the school begins with a morning reflection, a key component of the program. The students and teachers sit together in a circle and take time to quiet their minds, share their feelings, and prepare for the day. Everyone sits on the ground – all at the same level – as a physical symbol of the intention that there is no hierarchy within these circles. This simple act helps students let go of anything weighing on them – the morning’s chores, troubles at home – and learn that their school can be a safe space.

 

Problem-Based Learning: What This School in Rural Thailand Is Getting Right
Photo: Meredith Slater / ActionAid

 

The morning reflection prepares students for their day of integrated learning, which combines hard sciences with social sciences using interactive methods. Instead of splitting lessons into eight subjects, as is done traditionally in Thailand, classes are structured into broader, activity-based units. Combining a wide range of tools from storyboards to the internet, teachers use project-based learning to keep students engaged and teach them skills they can use even when they’re not at school.

The culinary unit, for example, incorporates resources children bring in from their farms at home – eggs, milk, sugarcane, lemongrass, corn – and teaches them how to cook with those ingredients, while simultaneously incorporating the arts, English language instruction, and mathematics into the lesson. For instance, students draw up plans for the unit, practice the English names of foods, and lean about measurements, all while cooking a delicious meal that they’ll get to share.

Extending the reach of this lesson beyond the walls of the school, children go home excited to cook with their families. Especially for those who experience difficulties at home, cooking can be a way for students to connect with their parents. This is just one of the many ways the program is helping to build stronger home lives and enhance valuable skills within the broader community.

 

Problem-Based Learning: What This School in Rural Thailand Is Getting Right
Photo: Meredith Slater / ActionAid

 

As with so many projects supported by ActionAid, this one is spearheaded by a local changemaker who has dedicated herself to making a difference in her community. During my visit, I had the opportunity to meet with Principal Cheunchoowong at the school and learn about her drive toward innovation. It hasn’t been easy pulling her school out of the one-size-fits-all curriculum implemented in most schools. Besides dealing with pushback from parents and teachers, she might face repercussions down the road for not using the national curriculum.

In spite of these challenges, Mrs. Cheunchoowong is determined to make sure that young people have the space to learn in a positive, flexible environment. In partnership with a local education group, a nearby university, and ActionAid, Principal Cheunchoowong is successfully piloting a program that she hopes will spread not only to other primary schools within Thailand, but also to schools around the world.

 

Photo: Meredith Slater / ActionAid

 

Sustainability is the next big challenge Mrs. Cheunchoowong will tackle. She recognizes that without her at the helm, continuously pushing the envelope of this curriculum, it would likely not move forward. Mrs. Cheunchoowong is working alongside teachers and parents to build a community dedicated to this rights-based method of educating children. With her continued leadership, the support of the community, and their ongoing partnership with ActionAid, this curriculum can become a reality for students across Thailand.

 

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Written by ActionAid USA Director of Development Meredith Slater, this story is originally published on ActionAid USA.