It is said that it takes only people in the community to solve the community’s problems. As such, World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT), represented by Dr Sarawut Rachasrimuang, National Director, has handed over Patong Municipality, Phuket Community-level Child Projection Mechanism Project to start engaging the communities in their self-run child protection mechanism. The official handover ceremony was held on January 23, 2019 at the auditorium of Faculty of Agricultural Technology, Phuket Rajabhat University. Mr Tanyawat Chanpinit, Phuket’s Vice Governor, represented the communities in the event.
“Over 10 years of the project implementation, the project has supported the establishment of a network of organisations and community representatives who have collaborated in promoting child protection mechanism in the communities. They have gained knowledge and abilities to coordinate with varied relevant networks and to facilitate case referral. These have contributed to the empowerment of community-level child protection mechanism in Patong Municipal of Phuket,” said Dr Sarawut.
The Patong Municipality, Phuket Community-level Child Projection Mechanism Project started in 2017 with the goal to drive the establishment of a child protection mechanism in Patong Municipality Community through empowering community capacity in protecting children against abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence, as well as reaching out to the most vulnerable children, to ensure that child problems are promptly attended and children receive capacity development and are properly responded to for their best interest. The project work has been collaborated by the government and non-government, civil society, and family sector to drive holistic, preventive child protection which benefits child safeguard mechanism and promotes child and youth development enabling environment.
Relevant local agencies have joined hands to set up the child protection network while a community-level child protection committee has also been established. The committee comprises 20 members from 7 communities: Chai Wat, Sai Nam Yen, Kalim, Ban Mon, Hat Patong, Khok Makham, and Na Nai. In addition, there is a database in place which facilitates children’s situation assessment and child development and protection. Children themselves have also gained knowledge and understanding and been introduced to the agencies which they may need to contact.
“We have been well trained and learnt a lot. We have also visited different networks within Phuket and in other provinces. These have made the committee members understand their roles. I consider myself lucky. As a local person living in Patong and a genuine Phuket citizen, I feel proud. Living in Patong Municipality, we’re well-informed where to locate the poor and the vulnerable,” said Mr Somchai Niao-naen, Chairperson of the Patong Community-level Child Protection Committee.
Child protection milestones… until today
World Vision Foundation of Thailand started the intervention in Patong Municipality in 2002 under Rim Hat (“By the Beach”) Project to provide shelter to homeless children. The project was supported by the Phuket governor. Patong Municipality Office contributed a building next to Patong Public Library for the support of the project implementation.
Later in 2006, Ban Dek Suksan (“Happy Children’s Home”) Project, supported by Holiday Inn Resort Hotel, Phuket, was conducted to provide temporary shelter to children in difficulties. The project also included the target group covered by the Rim Hat Project. The children had also received age-appropriate development, physically and mentally, before they were reunited with their families, schools and societies.
When both projects, Rim Hat and Ban Dek Suksan, had reached the project closure, WVFT reshaped the implementation approach, from the direct support to development work, and reintroduced the new initiative by using the site of Ban Deksuksan Project to run a learning and development centre under the Patong Municipality, Phuket Community-level Child Projection Mechanism Project.
With the capacities to build knowledge and understanding and the abilities to collaborate at the network level, plus the database for children’s situation assessment, the Patong Municipality, Phuket Community-level Child Projection Mechanism Project has been successfully achieved by WVFT and has proved it right that “it takes only people in the community to solve the community’s problems”.