Bangkok (Thailand) – November 8, 2019 (travelindex.com) – Thai school helps UN to localize SDGs in underprivileged communities The UN Country Team (UNCT) of Thailand celebrated a partnership with a rural school in the northeastern province of Buriram for the localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with grassroots communities in Thailand, ahead of the UN Day which is on the 24th October of every year.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, Deirdre Boyd, and UNCT representatives visited the Mechai Bamboo School in Lamplaimat District, Buriram province, on Tuesday 22 October 2019 to celebrate the achievement of the school in translating the SDGs into a local reality. Since its founding by prominent Thai activist Mechai Viravaidya in 2008, the Mechai Pattana School has applied innovative learning methods with a focus on sustainability and environmental conservation.
To enroll in this school, parents and students do not have to pay school fees but plant 800 trees per year and participate in community service for 800 hours per year. On this occasion, students of the Mechai Pattana School, along with students from 15 schools across the North East Region of Thailand came together and pledged to be champions in the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their communities: “We, the undersigned, pledge to uphold, communicate and implement the SDGs in our schools and in the surrounding villages to improve the quality of life for all people.”
The UN Country Team Thailand witnessed the pledge signing ceremony. The ceremony was part of the UN Day Celebration, co-organised by the Mechai Pattana School and the UN Country Team Thailand. The celebration, themed “Children are the Future”, is aimed at highlighting the role of youth and local communities in realizing SDGs, and the importance of education that put sustainability at its center. Resident Coordinator (RC) Boyd said that in driving toward the SDGs, local aspirations must be heard and delivered. “The SDGs were decided globally by all the world leaders. But they draw on the views and needs of everyone on the planet.
If we want to achieve the SDGs for the world, we first have to achieve them at the local level,” said Boyd. “Mechai Pattana School and its surrounding communities have done an amazing job in making the SDGs local.” Apart from showing various SDGs-related projects to the UNCT representatives, the students had a chance to exchange views with the RC and UNCT representatives regarding SDGs localization in Thailand during the “SDGs Exchange Classroom” workshop.
The UNCT team also visited the first SDGs Village in Buriram — Ban Kwang Ngoi Pattana Village, in Kok Klang sub-district, Lamplaimat district. The village has been set as a model for 15 other communities surrounding the school in localizing the SDGs. Ban Kwang Ngoi Pattana is a typical rural underprivileged Thai community, of which villagers have an average annual income of about 1,100 USD. The Mechai Pattana School, which has the vision to become a hub for social and economic advancement for villagers, has had projects in line with SDGs in the surrounding villages for several years. Examples of projects include waste management, water management, environmental conservation, and clean energy. With only ten years to go before the 2030 deadline, the school has decided to take a bold step in implementing SDGs more thoroughly.
The Mechai Bamboo school has had workshops with villagers to educate them about the SDGs, reflect on which goals are the most urgent and relevant to them, then brainstorm for the aspiration for the village. They will soon meet again to set their own targets and indicators, with the global framework of SDGs, in mind.