SDGs is gradually but increasingly incorporated into activities of and for children and youth in Thailand. There are at least two youth development endeavours that have incorporated SDGs into their activities, one of which is the initiative of a project originated in Thailand, and the other is an internationally-influenced project.
The first youth development endeavour is a project called the “Social Innovation for Health Driving through Children and Youth’s Participation”. The project is a partnership between the Faculty of Social Administration, Thammasat University, the Department of Children and Youth, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, and the Children and Youth Council of Thailand. This 18-month project is funded by Healthy Child Youth and Family Division of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation since October 2016. It involves mainly with the Children and Youth Council of Thailand. The project helped the council reform its strategies (in March 2017). Additionally, the project encourages the council members at the local level to develop an effective social innovation scheme that promotes health and well-being of people in their communities (May – December 2017). With participants from ten pilot areas from every region of Thailand, the project provided its participants with necessary training on how to design and implement social innovation, as well as how to understand and respond to needs of communities. After the training, the participants have developed 22 social innovation projects. These projects are funded, coached, and closely monitored throughout their implementation. In February 2018, these projects will be presented to the public and the most innovative project will be awarded.
SDGs was incorporated into this endeavour at two stages. First, SDGs was introduced in a workshop for the reformation of the council strategies. The main principle of the SDGs, “Leave No One Behind”, was included in the new strategies of the council. Second, SDGs goals and targets were introduced in the training as a tool to empower the participants and to expand possible issues that they can work on in their area.
The second is the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange (APYE) in Thailand. APYE was organised by a social enterprise, the “Global Act”, supported by 56 partners from United Nations Development Agencies, local and international Governments, Universities, Corporates and Organisations. APYE started in South Korea, and now it has activities in several Asian countries, including Thailand. In Thailand, the first APYE was held in January 2017. The primary goal is to create a platform for youths in the Asia-Pacific region to learn about SDGs, both in principles and from local reality in Thailand. The Thai and international participants were actively participating this 15-day activity, attending lectures from UN’s SDGs specialists, visiting local communities, learning about the community’s problems in relations to SDGs’ targets, and creating solutions for the community. The solutions were, then, presented to the community, UNDP staffs, and other social enterprises, including local civil society organisations. For the future event, APYE aims to strengthen participation process and partnership between the participants, local youth and local leaders, with the hope that some of the solutions will be adopted and implemented by the local.
For APYE in Thailand, SDGs is the essence of the project. The participants, as well as the local youth and the local leaders, need to learn about SDGs to understand the purpose of the project. At this stage of the project, APYE still needs more practical methods to communicate SDGs to local youths and local leaders. Consequently, APYE is collaborating with SDG Move and Blackbox to design such methods.