COVID-19 Response & Recovery


Enhancing Civil Society Organisations’ Capacities in Response to COVID-19 in Thailand- Nationwide Intervention (EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Thailand – Nationwide Intervention)


ActionAid International (Thailand) Foundation has been responding to the challenges that the most marginalised communities have been facing since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Thailand, along with project co-applicants Bio Thai Foundation (BTF), Chumchonthai Foundation (CTF) and Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion (FLEP). We have come together to respond to a range communities and their specific needs for relief, recovery and possible resilience, namely stateless people residing across the borders of Thailand and Myanmar, migrant working groups from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia who couldn’t leave Thailand when the lockdown was announced, informal sector workers in urban areas, poor communities in semi-industrial and rural areas, rural poor including smallholder farmers and ethnic minority groups. We have been providing relief to the vulnerable communities. This action ramps up the relief efforts, followed by recovery and possible resilience in the medium term of two years. The co-applicants and ActionAid International (Thailand) Foundation collaborated to prepare the action design. Women and children, people with disability and elderly people amongst all targeted communities will be the primary focus for the action.


28 provinces in 5 regions – Central, North, South, East and North East


July 2020 - July 2022 (24 months). This considers the possibility of subsequent waves of COVID-19, time taken to gradually open the economy and support needed for communities to rejoin the workforce.


    • Overall objective:  To increase the participation of Thai civil society organisations (CSOs) working with the most vulnerable communities in Thailand in preventing, addressing, and mitigating risks and vulnerabilities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • Specific objective: To support and strengthen the capacity and engagement of Thai CSOs in response, recovery and building resilience of the most vulnerable communities, and to mitigate the health and socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

โครงการอียูรับมือโควิด EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Thailand – Nationwide Intervention

Target groups

    • Vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19 including: migrant working groups from adjacent countries – Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos; informal sector workers in primarily urban locations; ethnic minorities (Chao Le); stateless communities; urban poor communities; rural poor communities including smallholder farmers; and schools and community centers with 12,970 children (including 5,780 girl children). The approximate number of this target group is 387,038 individuals.
    • Co-applicants – Bio Thai Foundation, Chumchonthai Foundation, Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion – and seven third-party grantees.
    • Government officials from the Ministries of Labour, Social Development and Human Security, Agriculture and Cooperatives, Interior, and Finance; and local government officials.

Final beneficiaries

9,500,000 people reached through advocacy and relief outreach programmes.

Expected outputs

    • Provision of relief to the most marginalised communities: CSOs support the immediate relief and access to essential public services including health care systems and access to information for vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19.
    • Socio-economic recovery and rehabilitation: CSOs support and advocate towards local authorities and other government authorities for social security and sustainable and inclusive socio-economic measures to assist the most vulnerable communities in Thailand to help in their recovery to recover and rehabilitate from the impacts of COVID-19.  
    • Building resilience and preparedness of vulnerable communities: CSOs strengthen preparedness and resilience of communities and local authorities to help them withstand future health, social and socio-economic crises. 

Main actions

    • Food support, temporary shelter, access to health services, personal protective equipment, relief kits for target populations (with focus on women and children among them), legal assistance for migrants, campaigns on information related to COVID-19.  
    • Skills development and building resilient livelihoods for target vulnerable communities, supplementing food needs through innovative solutions, policy advocacy on social security, and occupational health and safety training.
    • Pilot green communities: set up community product exchange system and resilience building for the target communities. 

โครงการอียูรับมือโควิด EU COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Thailand – Nationwide Intervention

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Women's Rights

Women hold an important role in the development at different levels: family, community and society. Much progress has been made on gender equality in Thailand since the turn of the millennium; the country’s 20th constitution lays down on paper the principle of non-discrimination and equal protection. Reality presents a contradicting picture, however, in implementation, values and cultural attitudes.

Domestic violence still occurs in Thai society and many take it as a private or family matter not to be meddled with. What’s more, women often do not get proper information on available protection and support mechanisms provided by the government and private sector.

ActionAid Thailand focuses on strengthening capacity, skills and knowledge of and empowering women and girls so that they can grow to the fullest of their capacity and confidence. This will enable them to design their own lives, live without fear of violence, and effectively participate in decision making that affects their lives and livelihoods. Through training and capacity building, we empower the women and girls to recognize their rights and capacity and be able to claim control over their bodies. We cooperate with local governments to create physical safety environments for women and girls and will collaborate with urban networks and youth for Safe Cities for Women campaign to create enabling environment for women and girls to live carefree in the communities.

Learn more about Safe Cities for Women >

In addition, after ActionAid Thailand began working on strengthening civil society roles in poverty alleviation in the deep southern provinces in 2014, we have continued to work with our partner Chumchonsattha Foundation to carry on the work in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat Provinces. The priority of the project is to strengthen women’s groups on economic empowerment, women’s rights, leadership and land rights, and to link up with the groups as networks in the deep southern provinces.

Land & Natural Resource Rights

As an organisation that take action on the basis of human rights, ActionAid Thailand acknowledges the issues a large number of small farmers and remote communities face, especially ones concerning their rights to access lands and natural resources.

We have worked with global organisations on short-term projects; and now, for four years, we have the support of the European Union and are working closely with partners in tackling the issues stated.

According to Land Development Department’s 2014 data, few Thais are able to own land. The proportion of landholding to the country’s population is striking: 60 percent of the people own only 4.69 percent of the land in total. Meanwhile, up to 7.5 million rai – 2.56 million acres – of land are left uncultivated or deserted.

The country’s land policy has weakened the rights of communities. This has not only rendered people in remote areas to have less land to build their lives on and thus compete for natural resources, but it also increasingly granted both the private and public sectors mining concessions. Governmental shifts as a result of the 2014 coup have ensured no certainty nor continuity in direction for development efforts; attempts from civil society organisations and people’s networks at land reforms will, more often than not, come to a halt when changes of the government occur.

Land is Life: the acquisition of rights to land and natural resources for the landless and land-poor is a project spearheaded by the Northern Development Foundation (NDF), Chumchom Thai Foundation (CTF) and ActionAid Thailand with a four-year funding support from the European Union, effective from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2021. The programme aims to establish close cooperation between civil society networks and organisations, landless or land-poor communities and government agencies in working on land rights issues and aiding communities in achieving stability and protecting their heritage and way of life in a sustainable way, which would subsequently reduce economic disparity in Thailand.

The project supports local movements, namely the People’s Movement for a Just Society (P-Move), Northern Farmers Network (NFN) and Community Network for Social and Political Reform (CSPR); and operates in four types of landless or land-poor communities in 16 provinces across the north, northeast and south of Thailand, including small farmers and fishermen’s communities, sea gypsy communities, ethnic minority communities in the highlands, and communities of stateless people.

See the latest updates on Land & Natural Resource Rights >

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Education & Youth

Right to Education

Education is vital to reducing poverty and inequality in Thailand. The Thai education system provides children access to education until grade 12. However, there are serious concerns over the quality and equity of the education they receive at every level of the system.

In 2013, the government’s solution for improving the quality of education was to close and merge small schools with fewer than 60 students so that the remaining schools will have more resources in terms of funding per student and teachers. Meanwhile, the consequences of this policy on remote and marginalised communities are not taken into account. More than 200,000 students along with their families were affected; drop out numbers increased and it is likely that this is due to increased travelling expenses and safety fears – as children had to travel further from their village to get to school.

Today, the closure and merger policy remains a controversial subject both in Thailand and the international arena. And with grave quality concerns that remain in the education system, small schools still face the risk of being shut down were these concerns not redressed.

No matter their size, schools are at the heart of communities. We are working to improve the quality of education in small schools by enhancing teacher capacity and quality of classroom management; incorporating innovative approaches, local context and community participation to develop a curriculum that is tailored to the school; and strengthening school networks in different regions in order that they are empowered to influence policy change.

ActionAid Thailand also collaborates with partners and educational authorities, brings together different education groups and raises public awareness on the right to quality and inclusive education, and the right to participate in the education decision-making process and to monitor the government’s decentralisation process and resources.

Building an active networked civil society for quality education

From 2020-2023, ActionAid Thailand and partners, Thai Alternative Education Council Association (TAECA) and Thai Baan Association (TBA), with the support of the European Union, are working to build an active networked civil society to improve delivery and access to quality education. The four-year project titled ACCESS School aims to build capacity and engage civil society organisations in taking active roles in school governance in their communities through establishing partnership with local authorities and key ministerial personnel. This would lead to improved transparency, better quality of teaching and learning, and more responsive education service with an active learning environment.

Find out more >

Youth engagement

Young people are potent agents of change. They have initiated many remarkable changes in the Thai cultural and political spheres. This spirit continues in the youth’s social concerns and involvement in different social issues, especially through active public advocacy whether online or offline.

ActionAid Thailand works with young people, providing them a platform to use their creativity, capabilities and talents to contribute to our campaigns for a fairer and more just society. Through our Activista training and participative learning initiatives, young people, ranging from university students to first and second-jobbers, are given the opportunity to better their understanding of various rights-based issues – from poverty, the right to education, women’s rights, land and natural resource rights to climate justice. This new generation of changemakers learn to develop and strengthen their capacity as campaigners and advocates, engaging in ActionAid Thailand’s work at both national and community levels.

See the latest updates on Education & Youth >