Thailand: Smile Again!

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Name of project: School & Community Farmland Bio-Diversity Conservation

Organisation: Thai Education Foundation

Country : Thailand

Organisational type: Non-governmental organisation (national)                                

Year in which it was started: 2005

Brief description:
Thai Education Foundation has been working with some 50 schools in 4 provinces of Thailand to create awareness on the importance of the farmland bio-diversities and to conserve species that are important to their livelihood. Students together with farmers, religion leaders, and local agencies identified locations of habitats, conducted survey to collect species. Together, they analyze the benefits, hazards, treats, status and documented all species found as the community farmland bio-diversities information that can be used for sharing and learning. They then prioritized and selected species that they want to conserve and develop habitat action plan. The selected species are those that are nearly extinct or had disappeared and must have value to their livelihood such foods, medicine, income and etc.

Through this participatory learning process, students and farmers developed knowledge and awareness on the importance of the biodiversities in their farmland. The communities themselves were working together on various strategies to designate conservation areas, rules and undesired behaviors that treat the habitats and species, sharing and disseminating their efforts to surrounding communities. Species that were chosen to conserve included frogs, fish, indigenous vegetables for food, and beneficial insects, local species of trees and plants used to provide eco-system services to the farm and as natural extracted pesticides.

Students have much fun learning in their farmland. They have gained much knowledge of the existing species, values from interviews and discussions with farmers. Most schools also developed local curriculum to be institutionalized within the school system.
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 Principal target groups covered by the project:
Children (from 5 to 15 years)

Main education and communication methods used:
Small group discussions or workshops
Townhall style public meetings
Classroom presentations
Posters and other display materials

What is exceptional or unique about this ESD initiative:
The project helped create awareness and understanding on the importance of the farmland bio-diversity which are important to livelihood of farming community. It helps bring about community unity and efforts for preservation that improves the quality of environment and their livelihood. The project also leads the development of responsive education for rural schools and currently being disseminate in other 4 countries.

Visually interesting places, people or activities/events that can be filmed in this project:
Major activities involving school children and community are surveying, collecting species to document the status. Pesticides impact assessment to health of communities. Meeting to discuss and prioritizing the importance and develop plan of action. Various school children materials.