Inspiring SDG initiatives in Bangkok

Katina Grigoraskos, MY World ASEAN Advocate in Thailand has gathered stories of humans that are making the SDGs a reality in their local communities. Meet 5 initiatives that are acting to achieve goals related to sustainable cities, consumption and climate action!

MyWaste project is a school recycling program creating by Soravit Thummawatwimon, Maylin Wongjarupun, and Pantach Anantapong in Bankok, Thailand. The MyWaste project aims to improve responsible consumption and production, sustainable cities and communities.

With their project, they give students an incentive to recycle through an easy-to-use reward system where students can collect points for every time they bring in waste to recycle, which can then be exchanged for rewards. They are encouraging students to be responsible and conscious in their consumption through various means trying to build a sustainable school community.

“Our school had already established a recycling program where students bring waste to recycle every Friday. However, the amount of trash brought in by students was in decline throughout the years, especially by middle and high school students, due to lack of regulation and motivation by the school”

These three students are now able to raise more awareness in students and increase the amount of waste recycled at their school. In the near future, they would like to maintain and expand MyWaste further through, making their school 100% free of plastic water bottles.

By creating a sustainable community, they are not only creating a community where everyone has a good quality of life or a safe and secure community, but also an environmentally friendly community. They also put threatening problems we face as top priorities as well such as urban population growth, unemployment, public health, criminal activities, and pollutions.

With the implementation of MyWaste, Soravit, Maylin and Pantach hope to improve other SDGs along the way such as climate action, life below water and life on land.

Better Moon Cafe

Better Moon is a little space located in a local area of On Nut, Bangkok. This cafe aims to constantly develop and serve healthy food for the locals. The Better Moon team focuses on environmental issues, especially the pressing issue of plastic waste in Thailand.

Their creators cooperate with Refill Station, Thailand’s first bulk storefounded at Better Moon. Customers can come to the cafe and learn about low-waste lifestyle tips such as stainless straws, and unique rooms with reused furniture, workshops, activities, and more.

“We go to a lot of camps and do a lot of activities on environmental issues and when we go back to our daily lives, we see that nothing changes. In Thailand, there is not much infrastructure to support change. We made this cafe to support this kind of lifestyle for people”, Pear, Manager at Better Moon and Refill Station

Better Moon Cafe and Refill Station try to reduce as much plastic as we can for the operation and facilitation of customers to get their own utensils and food outside: “We use compostable packaging for delivery and a design that is compatible for the main room. Our partners also have to return glass bottles and use only eco-friendly packaging”, says Pear.

“We want to help change people’s minds, make them comfortable to be here, in the environment here. It’s based on a trust system and the customers can serve themselves”

The most important SDGs for the Better Moon’s team are to have a responsible production and consumption, sustainable cities and communities, good health, life on land and underwater and climate action.

Youths for SDGs

Prima Pupornchai is the founder of Youths for SDGs when she realised that involving youths to learn about and work towards the SDGs is an important step in building a strong foundation for sustainable growth and development.

Youths for SDGs is an academic event that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and strives to be a part of this universal call to action. The event tries to inspire students to learn more about the SDGs and to create change in their communities.

Prima Pupornchai, Founder of Youths for SDGs

“I initiated an event empowering international high school students across Thailand to learn more about the SDGs and what they can do to to help achieve them, called Youths for SDGs”, Prima Pupornchai

The first event of Youths for SDGs took place on 3–4 November 2018, at Wells International School in Bangkok, Thailand, forming a network of 150 students, who shared the same passion for the SDGs. The event raised awareness about global issues, developed partnership across youth from different schools, and encouraged youth to be change makers.

In the event, students exercised their creativity in coming up with solutions to real-world issues that Thailand is currently facing. The activities included were breakout discussion sessions, SDG activity games, and a case challenge to solve. The event successfully brought together youth to learn and work together towards the SDGs.

Prima would like to contribute to this change providing quality education and creating partnership toward the global goals.

Greenhawks club

Since young, Ruby Song was tough and raised in the belief that climate change and global warming were not a big issue. However, everything changed when she joined an environmental club called Greenhawks.

Ruby Song joined an environmental club name Greenhawks not only to
minimize my ecological footprint but also to raise awareness of environmental issues. After five years, she became a leader of this amazing club and we have expanded since then.

Ruby Song, winner of the EARCOS Global
Citizenship Award

“I have encountered that climate change is a big issue that has to be dealt in an alarming point, and realised I was harming the Earth”

Greenhawks deals with all kinds of environmental problems such as recycling, gardening and even food waste. To raise a concern regards excessive consumption of plastics and papers in our society, they have participated in big events such as Trash HeroPaper Ranger, collaborated with Wells Thonglor and Wells primary school to educate future youths about 3Rs: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle! They have also collaborated with other groups of students acting toward reducing the use and disposal of single-use plastics.

School of Global Studies at Thammasat University

Chris Oestereich is a lecturer at the School of Global Studies at Thammasat University. Chris teaches courses related to social innovation, sustainability, and social enterprise.

He is also the co-founder of the Circular Design Lab, an organization running by volunteers that are developing a design framework that combines design processes with systems thinking in aiming to teach communities to develop solutions to the challenges they face.

On top of that, Chris is an example of a sustainable person: “I stopped driving over eight years ago. I still ride in cars but I use public transit, including the BTS, MRT, Airport Link, buses, and vans as much as possible. I have also made significant changes to my diet trying to be a lot more careful with what I buy, in looking to minimize food waste”

He’s also the publisher of the Wicked Problems Collaborative, a press that focuses on humanity’s biggest social and environmental challenge, and a zero-waste practitioner who helps organizations reduce their footprint as they evolve towards the circular economy.

By Katina Grigoraskos, MY World ASEAN Advocate in Thailand. Katina joined the ASEAN MY World 2030 Advocates Programme in November 2018. A native New Yorker, Katina is the the CAS/Events Coordinator and IB Theory of Knowledge Teacher teacher at Wells International School in Bangkok, Thailand.


Also published on Medium.

UNMC Brings 8 Million Peoples’ Voices to Bangkok, Thailand

ESCAP Youth Volunteers Celebrate 7 Million Voices and the Peoples' Voices Challenge!
ESCAP Youth Volunteers Celebrate 7 Million Voices and the Peoples’ Voices Challenge!

As “We the Peoples” Data Playground World Tour kicks into high gear in preparation for the 70th UN General Assembly and the announcement of the post-2015 development agenda, we showcased peoples’ voices through cutting-edge technology at the Asia Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development 2015 (APFSD 2015) and the 71st Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

From May 25-29, 2015, the UN Millennium Campaign, in partnership with UNESCAP, UN Volunteers, UNDP, P&G, and Samsung, hosted an interactive Data Playground. Delegates from around the world explored the MY World data, participated in the special screening of the virtual reality film, Clouds of Sidra,  reviewed the Humans of MY World (HOMY) photo exhibition, and were invited to join the Peoples’ Voices Challenge.

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APFSD 2015 delegates looking through MY World results
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World We Want data visualization fascinates delegates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diplomats, academics, ministers and delegates used Samsung touchscreen technology to disaggregate the MY World Dataset by region, country, gender, education levels, age groups and HDI and live data visualizations on the global, regional, and local post-2015 conversation on the World We Want were highlighted.

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MY World Asia Priorities

Out of the over 7.5 million people who have voted in the MY World survey, approximately 3.13 million people, or over 41%, are from the Asia-Pacific Region. Using data, policy makers were able to answer the question on everyone’s mind: what kind of world do Asians really want? They discovered in Asia that the top priorities are “A good education”, “Better healthcare”, and “An honest and responsive government”.

We believe that behind every MY World vote there’s a personal story that deserves to be told. That is why with the HOMY exhibition, we wanted to go one step further and look beyond the data to help policy makers understand WHY people have voted the way they have? What is the reason for choosing one priority above the other 15 priorities?

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Presenting the HOMY exhibition to the Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha

Sponsored by P&G, the beautiful HOMY exhibition featured MY World voters from different backgrounds. A woman from the transgender community in Manila, the Philippines spoke to policy makers through HOMY. She chose “Freedom from discrimination and persecution” as her top priority because she “wants a whole world without discrimination. Being different means being hurt. On the inside, and maybe the outside as well. I pray it won’t always be like that.” We had the distinct honor to present the HOMY exhibition to the Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha.

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Humans of MY World
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Executive Secretary of ESCAP H.E. Shamshad Akhtar Experiences Virtual Reality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, we initiated a project to bring the world’s most pressing challenges home to decision makers and global citizens around the world through Virtual Reality (VR). VR allowed APFSD 2015 and Regional Commission delegatsd to meet a 12-year old Syrian girl named Sidra living in a refugee camp. Sidra took them on a tour of her new home, into her new classroom, and brought them to dinner with her family. As the first UN virtual reality documentary, we wanted to push the boundaries of empathy by bringing humanity to the front of the global development discussion. The VR film had a profound affect over her audience, one delegate said after watching that Clouds Over Sidra is the “most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life”.Bangkok 11

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Clouds Over Sidra brings audience into another universe

Data Playground, Virtual Reality, and Humans of MY World Heading to Bangkok!

By Kristen Grennan, Global Youth Advocate

The Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development is being held in Bangkok, Thailand from May 21-22 and the UN Millennium Campaign will be there displaying the peoples’ voices through the Data Playground, virtual reality, and Humans of MY World.

What is the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development?

The forum will be a multi-stakeholder dialogue on three key issues: (a) practical approaches for integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development; (b) the potential for a regional monitoring and accountability framework; and (c) the form and function of the Forum beyond 2015. The theme of this year’s session is “Strengthening integration, implementation and review for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.”

UN Millennium Campaign will be hosting a Data Playground at the forum for visitors to explore and interact with the MY World data, a virtual reality film screening called Clouds Over Sidra, and a Humans of MY World photo exhibition.

Social Media

What is a Data Playground?

Data Playground at the Cartagena Data Festival
Data Playground at the Cartagena Data Festival

The Data Playground is an interactive display of the MY World data. Using large touch screens, viewers can touch and play with the data, making “big data” fun and exciting. This is perfect for all ages and will be on display at the Forum in Bangkok on May 21.

Here are sample tweets you can use to post on your twitter account, so don’t be shy, join the conversation on Twitter!

  • Interact w/ @myworld2015 data on May 21 at the Data Playground at the @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum! http://www.unescap.org/events/apfsd2 #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • You’ll be in #Bangkok for the @UNESCAP Forum? Join us on 5/21 at our @myworld2015 #DataPlayground! #dataviz #bigdata  #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • Can’t wait for the #DataPlayground at the @UNESCAP Forum, showing #PeoplesVoices from around the globe! @myworld2015 #BKK #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • .@myworld2015 & @mcampaign hosting a #DATAPLAYGROUND @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum on #SustDev in Bangkok on 5/21! #sustdevAP #APFSD

Virtual Reality

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The Millennium Campaign offers the unique opportunity to get right into the life of a little girl living in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan–thanks to the technology of virtual reality. The film Clouds Over Sidra is a virtual reality film made in collaboration with renowned virtual reality filmmaker Chris Milk that allows you to feel as if you were really in the Zaatari refugee camp with the main character, Sida. As Chris Milk recently stated in a TED Talk, “When [Sidra] is sitting in her room, you’re sitting there with her. You look down and you can see the carpet you both are sitting on. And because of that you see her humanity in a different way.” See what opportunities virtual reality has in store for the future of development!

Sample Tweets:

  • #VirtualReality brings you right into the life of a Syrian child. See #CloudsOverSidra @UNESCAP forum for yourself #VR4Dev #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • #VR4Dev? Check out #virtualreality at @UNESCAP forum in #BKK to see for yourself what it is like to be #childrenofsyria #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • #VirtualReality can change how we perceive crisis & conflict, see @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum @mcampaign #VR4Dev #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • Get into the world of a Syrian refugee via #virtualreality at the @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum! @myworld2015 #VR4Dev #sustdevAP #APFSD

Humans of MY World

Humans of MY World

The Millennium Campaign will also be hosting a photo exhibition displaying the peoples’ voices behind the data. In this intimate photo series, people explain what their top MY World priorities are for Post-2015 and why it is so important to them. Go beyond the numbers, get into the stories, and see the human side of MY World.

  • Beautiful stories of experiences & priorities of ppl from around the globe from @myworld2015, @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • #Storytelling that brings you right to the heart of #Development https://www.facebook.com/homy2015 View the gallery in #BKK @UNESCAP #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • “It feels mostly like I’m waiting for death to come” https://www.facebook.com/homy2015/photos/pb.502956393150078.-2207520000.1430749293./591525860959797/?type=3&theater Photo gallery in #BKK, @UNESCAP @myworld2015 #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • #PeoplesVoices #BKK: “It’s stressful, but we keep going” https://www.facebook.com/homy2015/photos/pb.502956393150078.-2207520000.1430749293./591525860959797/?type=3&theater Gallery on 5/21 in #BKK @UNESCAP Forum #sustdevAP #APFSD

Finally, don’t forget to join the Peoples’ Voices Challenge!

 

 

“Have Your Say at the United Nations” Campaign continues to ensure Thai voices are heard

Text adapted from the original Press release by Supavadee Pink Chotikajan, UN Thailand

Since the launch of the 2013 MY World campaign entitled “Mark a Difference,” over 70,000 people in Thailand have participated in MY World survey.  Thailand is among the top 10 countries with the most votes collected in the MY World Survey. This is a result of the strong partnerships between the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and 60 other agencies in Thailand to promote the MY World.

The “Have Your Say at the United Nations” campaign in Thailand builds on the success of last year.  Its official publicity launch was co-hosted by the UN and Procter & Gamble Thailand Ltd. on 15 July at Esplanade Ratchada, Bangkok.   The event was opened by a beautiful performance by Satit Prasarnmit School singing to the song “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson and “Happy” by Pharell Williams.

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Acknowledging the importance of Thais’ voices, the UN selected Thailand to be one of the 20 countries to launch the “Have Your Say at the United Nations” campaign.  For the first time, this campaign brought the MY World Podiumto Thailand.  Signed by Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, the Podium is travelling the world to gather people’s opinions on issues that are most important to them and their families.  “The Podium signifies that the UN will always reach out to hear your voices no matter where you are,” stated Mr. Luc Stevens, UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand.

Continue reading ““Have Your Say at the United Nations” Campaign continues to ensure Thai voices are heard”

MY World gives young girls in Thailand a special voice

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Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and Kannika Jarusuraisin, External Relations Officer, P&G Thailand pose for a photo with the girls from Rajvithi Home.

BANGKOK–Sitting in a plastic chair in a cold quiet room, Nok isn’t eager to share her story.  She’s reserved, quiet, and often leans on the shoulder of her friends.

Like many of the young girls at Rajvithi Home for Girls in Bangkok, they come from traumatic backgrounds—domestic violence at home, orphaned at birth, or innocent victims of their parent’s divorce.

“My parents divorced when I was young and I didn’t get along with my new mom,” Nok said. She’s been at home for just year after transferring from another home in Isan.

With tears welling up around her deep brown eyes, reveals that she wanted to stay with her mother, but her father refused. Now around 12, she doesn’t know where her birth mother is.

Now her home now is here. Her teachers often take the role of mothers, and she is looked after by her peers, and in turn looks after children younger than her.

On a Sunday morning, Procter and Gamble and the United Nations in Thailand paid a visit to Rajvithi Home for Girls and spoke to more than 300 girls about the importance of sharing their voices and their concerns. Using the MY World Global Survey, more than 200 students and volunteers cast their votes—each with a reason—all with different stories.

“The United Nations is committed to empowering women and girls in Thailand and around the world. The voices of these young women are a critical part of our efforts to reach out to as many people as we can during this very important campaign,” said Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and MY World National Campaign Director in Thailand.

The Rajvithi Home for Girls is home to more than 350 girls aged 5 through 18. Many grow up there, are schooled there, and are allowed to stay through their undergraduate university studies.

But it’s a long road for these young women.

“Many of them have learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or have medical ailments like anemia, which can be caused by malnutrition at birth,” said Ms. Patchara Klangsathorn, Child Psychologist.

Yet these girls find strength through each other and within themselves.

I’ve never met my real parents,” said Pam, who has been at Rajvithi since kindergarten.

“I take care of myself and I take care of others. I listen to the teachers (parents). I’ll change myself that way and focus on my education.”

Education topped her list of MY World priorities, along with healthcare and equality for women.

Ms. Patchara was eager to teach the children the importance of voting on the MY World Global Survey.

“Education is important, especially to teach the children about the dangers of domestic violence. It’s also important for us to have a good government, because we always need to raise awareness about the importance of schools like this that have learning disabilities,” she said.