Please give a warm welcome to the CIEE Students of Spring 2012. They worked long hours in project time and have produced some great material which is being used by communities and organizers in Northeast Thailand. You can see their projects in the Projects Tab towards the bottom of the page. Here is a sneak peak of their projects:
From the Wildlife Sanctuary Models Group:
“Final project time allowed our student group to divide into smaller groups, allocating two weeks to diligently working on an issue relevant to us. Our small group has taken these past two weeks to compile research on wildlife sanctuaries in Northern Thailand and write a comparative paper illustrating different policies. We specifically focused on the Phu Pha Daeng and Pha Peung Wildlife Sanctuaries. As a group, we collected research about current and past models while traveling to the villages affected by these wildlife sanctuaries. Both Toong Lui Lai and Huay Rahong villages described all their interactions with the sanctuaries, both positive and negative. We concluded our research by consulting with a local NGO, P’Dai, who originally suggested this comparative research paper. She specified that the paper serve as a non-biased source for local villagers and NGOs. After numerous edits and read throughs, we successfully created a report detailing the different policies and beliefs of Phu Pha Daeng and Pha Peung Wildlife Sanctuaries and their respective head officers.
Our comparative paper is only the first step in this initiative. Wildlife sanctuary models around Thailand tend to be similar, yet some models are starting to focus on community collaboration. Our research recognizes that many wildlife sanctuaries focus their work internally while believing that only sanctuary staff can preserve the forest. Recently, Phu Pha Daeng Wildlife Sanctuary has taken a different stance on forest preservation. The Phu Pha Daeng head officer, P’Koong, explained his approach, “People who preserve the forest the best are in the community and the staff is here to support them.” With differing policies in place across Thailand, a non-biased comparative research paper on wildlife sanctuaries provides a stable foundation for the future. Future student groups can utilize this research paper to educate themselves about past methods while continually educating themselves through home stays. P’Koong talked about a possibility for future collaboration, “It would be great if Pha Peung adapted this model, but the community would have to give this participation.” He recommended an intermediary, such as a CIEE student group, hold a forum between these two wildlife sanctuaries. This would allow villagers to come together to discuss the possibility of adopting a model focused on community collaboration for more wildlife sanctuaries across Thailand.
Compiling our collaborative research paper allowed us to understand how underlying beliefs about preservation and communities inform the policy decisions of wildlife sanctuaries. We hope this this paper will empower villagers and future students to make their own impact on the future of wildlife sanctuaries. Regardless of the actions and beliefs of the past, community collaboration is possible.”
From the Global Warming Research Group:
“For our final project we focused on the global warming case that Huay Kon Tha is currently facing and the formula written by Dr. Pongsak which is being used to quantify environmental damage. Our outputs for this final project are a feature, a research document for the forest communities and NGOs, two vinyls that explain global warming and the formula and a presentation for NGOs and villagers. We are hoping to get the feature posted in the Bangkok Post.
For our research we had exchanges with the villagers in Huay Kon Tha. They told us about the day they was arrested while working in the fields. They also explained about their court case. We also had an exchange with P’Pramote of the Isaan Land Reform Network as well as two lawyers that are representing the villagers in court. They explained the details of the cases the villagers are facing and about the counter-suit against the government. We also contacted several members of the academic community for their opinions on the formula and the charges that many villagers are facing.
As for the communities, Toong Lui Lai is the furthest along in the countersuit process whereas Mae Kwanla of Huay Kon Tha is in limbo as she has not been to court since February 2011.”
From the Na Nong Bong Stock Exchange Research Group:
“Two weeks ago: we think we’re researching gold extraction, production, consumption. Turns out we’re learning about the stock market. Time to step up the acronym game: THL, TKL, SET, SEC, CSR, CG, CIEE. Now we’re talking business.
One week: “For these reasons, we believe that it is necessary for TKL to publicly disclose all policies and practices concerning environmental, health, and social impact to both stakeholders and future investors.” Trading internet access, computer to computer. The four of us are laughing, and no one can remember if we put on deodorant this morning.
Five days: we’re editing. Line by line by line by line by line. We’re editing.
Three days: 11 pages in and we’re done. Take our collective breath and start again, let’s: set a schedule, pick some photos, make our presentation legit. Trying to catch up on some naps and it’s raining outside.
Yesterday: we watch the faces of our readers, presenting the slide synopsis of our work. Explaining, like proud parents, that our baby is ready for the world. Maybe, in some time, with some other input, TKL will understand the true costs of production. Maybe potential investors, stakeholders, consumers will listen.
Today: realizing the potential in collaboration. Remembering our families, communities and hoping to hear the movement of mining change– of social change.
Tomorrow: our next big adventure.”