Opportunity is always important, especially for the adolescents who are packed with creativity and in need of some space to express their ideas…something just like the “Youth-driven Solutions” workshop, under the theme “Promoting Youth-initiated Project”, which is one of the activities of World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT)’s Positive Youth Development Plus (PYD+). The workshop has brought more than 40 youth leaders who play important roles in driving WVFT’s Youth Council, along with more than 40 field staff members who serve as the youth’s advisors in WVFT’s project areas nationwide, to join the training on project proposal development practice and capacity building to solve problems and bring change to the society, aiming for solutions to problems in the communities they live and being part of an empowered voice to end violence against children (EVAC) under the campaign “It takes you and me to end violence against children.”
The “New Age for Drug-free Camp” project has been initiated by Siriporn, or Eiow, a youth representative from Lom Kao Project, Phetchabun province. She has revealed that the project proposal is based on the actual problem in her area and shared what she has learnt from this workshop:
“The WVFT staff guided us to think about our current community problems, which were mapped out into a “Problem Tree” chart to investigate the origin, root cause, and impacts. Personally, I think developing a project proposal through the mind-mapping method makes it easier for us to write a project proposal based on the problem which we have already broken down into elements.”
Meanwhile Phongpon, or Aon, a youth representative from Kaeng Hang Maeo Project, Chantaburi province, has further elaborated upon the mind-mapping approach to proposal development.
“Once we have the “Problem Tree” in place, then the “Tree of Hope” will be developed. This tree will represent solutions to the problem, as well as what we anticipate from the project implementation. My initiative in this workshop is a campaign to end teen pregnancy. The idea builds upon my previous meeting with the hospital, from which I’ve learnt that Kaeng Hang Maeo is ranked the 3rd among the highest districts with teen moms and the 1st with the highest number of repeat teen births among the 10 districts of Chantaburi province.”
Tharasak, or Jamesun, a youth representative from Kanchanadit Project, Surat Thani province, has realised that the problem of violence against children in his area is critical. He has shared his point of view after having joined the workshop which has given youth opportunity to initiate their own projects to precisely address problems in their own communities.
“The project I’ve developed in this workshop is ending violence against children because there are quite a number of problems of violence against children in where I live and nearby area. The origin of most problems can be derived to family. So, having an opportunity to develop the project by ourselves will enable problem solving at the sweet spot. It is also our opportunity to submit our project proposals to relevant local organisations for their support to tackle the problems.”
Similarly, Kanyarat, or Kan, a youth representative from Mae Salong Project, Chiang Rai province, has also admitted that the “New Generation Battles Drugs” project, which she has developed and presented in this workshop, also comes from real problems in her community.
“They call the area where I live the “Red Zone” as it runs along the country border. Most of the local children would drop out of school at a certain point. This is one of the causes which make them vulnerable to getting involved in the drug abuse circle. So, I’ve developed this project to build kids’ immunisation against drugs. I see that because of our self-initiated project, the implementation will work and can solve problems happening in where we live at the right point and with the right target groups.”
Over 40 projects developed and presented by the youth in this workshop will be actually implemented in their own communities nationwide with the consultation and mentoring support provided by WVFT staff and WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Programme volunteers, as well as relevant local organisation, to ensure the projects’ achievements as anticipated.