Banpu accelerates social enterprise growth

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Banpu has spent more than six years incubating social enterprises under the “Banpu Champions for Change” programme.

As a leading Asian energy company, Banpu says it has worked towards social sustainability, and organised “Banpu Champions for Change: Keep on Growing”, a special event that provides business-pitching opportunities for Banpu Champions for Change alumni members. The alumni are able to present their business progress and acquire additional support as well as expert counselling to improve their social enterprises.

Five social enterprises were selected.

A-Chieve Social Enterprise Ltd is an agency created to educate students on career opportunities through its website, career camps and workshops to help students plan relevant career paths effectively.

Local Alike Ltd is a responsible tour operator that focuses on community-based tourism, which allows local residents to be involved while emphasising community development funded through generated revenue.

Nokhook Group Co is an alternative marketing channel that works by matching agricultural outputs from organic farmers directly with customers following fair trade principles. The enterprise also provides farmers with support on product development and short-term working capital.

Ma:D is a co-working community for social entrepreneurs where they can network, learn from others, exchange ideas, inspire one another, and have an impact on society.

Toolmorrow by Surasek Ltd is an online TV programme that presents teenagers’ false beliefs through various social experiments and video packed with fun and thought-provoking content aimed at building positive morals and ethics among teens.

“The key to building a successful social enterprise is reaching out to someone who knows how to help, someone who can identify or fill in the gap that may be impeding enterprise success,” said Chanin Vongkusolkit, chairman of the board of Banpu. “With our network, Banpu is more than happy to be a gateway to help connect social entrepreneurs with experts.

“We hope that the social enterprises will eventually grow to a stage where they are scalable and replicable to bring about the positive change and impact for our community, our society and our country.”

Project fights floods, drought in Prachin Buri

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Students at the Pla Kayang Swamp, Kabinburi district, Prachinburi province joint to planting Vetiver grass and local plants, which is apart of the Water Development project.

Students at the Pla Kayang Swamp, Kabinburi district, Prachinburi province joint to planting Vetiver grass and local plants, which is apart of the Water Development project.

RECOGNISING the importance of water management, the Honda Khiang Khang Thai Fund under the Honda Thailand Foundation, in collaboration with the Utokapat Foundation under Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King and a Prachin Buri public-private partnership, has rolled out a project to help manage communal water resources.

It will continue the Water Resource Development Project in the Prachin Buri Basin under Royal Patronage of HM the King. The project will enable the local community to prepare for the likelihood of floods and drought in a sustainable way.

The partners anticipate that the project will increase water-impoundment capability to 3.5 million cubic metres, resulting in compensation for damage and increased income for the community.

Once it is complete, the project will enable the community to become a model for others when it comes to managing and mitigating the risk of floods and drought in the future, said Pitak Pruittisarikorn, managing director of the Honda Khiang Khang Thai Fund.

This is the second year that the HKKT Fund has implemented the Water Resource Development Project in the Prachin Buri Basin as a major campaign. The project aims to raise awareness among Thais when it comes to withstanding natural disasters.

“Coinciding with the project, we have implemented a pilot activity to encourage a number of volunteers, including Honda employees, Honda distributors, and local people, to participate in a good-cause effort to develop water resources by restoring dams for agricultural and consumption use,” Pitak said.

“The project includes promoting vetiver grass and local plants as a way to conserve soil and water, and provide a soothing green area where local people can relax.”

Dr Royol Chitradon, secretary-general of the Utokapat Foundation, said site surveys by administrators from Muang Kao and Na Khaem sub-districts in Kabin Buri district discovered that flooding and drought problems had occurred repeatedly in this area for more than 10 years. This flooding is a consequence of huge masses of floating weeds blocking efficient water flow, and means that irrigation canals cannot do their job.

On top of that, Prachin Buri is an important watershed area that helps to withstand 70-80 per cent of the flooding in Khao Yai National Park and 100 per cent in Nakhon Nayok province, before it connects with the Prachin Buri River.

Because of the waterway facing a bottleneck in Chachoengsao province, it requires effective and participatory water management in these two sub-districts. Because of this, the HKKT Fund adopted the Kaem Ling Project that HM the King initiated as part of its measures to increase the water-storage capacity in areas such as dams and ponds between small canals.

The Rehabilitation and Development Project for Pla Kayang Swamp in particular represents a massive 448-rai (71.6-hectare) water-storage area that the fund plans to rehabilitate to increase its capacity. This will help significantly during periods of potential floods and droughts.

The HKKT Fund is supporting the Water Resource Development Project in the Prachin Buri Basin with a budget of Bt15.8 million for 2016, the second year of the project. The project covers the Muang Kao and Na Khaem sub-districts and coincides with the Rehabilitation and Development Project of Pla Kayang Swamp and Boong Kabao Canal.

When the project is completed this year, authorities anticipate an easing of the flooding problem that has caused tremendous damage to more than 10,000 rai of plantations in the two affected sub-districts. It will help reduce government spending and compensate for damages and losses.

The project will increase the water reserve for a 16,000-rai area and increase manufacturing income during the dry season. It will also increase water-storage capability to 3,459,821 cubic metres per year, including 14,093 rai of agricultural area, and will expand the water supply to 4,485 additional households, Pitak said.

Unithai courses inspire vocational learning

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Students are learning on motorcycle maintenance and repair

Students are learning on motorcycle maintenance and repair

Raywat Chansawang, head of electrical Department of Unithai.

Raywat Chansawang, head of electrical Department of Unithai.

UNLIKE MANY other secondary schools, Wat Laem Chabang School has been successful in persuading students to go on into technical and vocational education streams, thanks to inspiration by Unithai’s vocational training programme.

In 2011, the school in Chon Buri province collaborated with Unithai Group to initiate vocational training and a school safety programme for the lower-secondary students (Grades 7-9) with the aim of providing basic knowledge and skills in mechanical and electrical maintenance with safe practices always foremost in mind.

Teerapon Udomkanjananan, managing director of Unithai Shipyard and Engineering, said the company’s engineers had been volunteering their time to share their expertise in regular training classes at the school.

Besides automotive and electrical/electronic fields, Unithai extended the programme into welding training last year. The company also increased the training period of each course from 60 hours to 100 hours, allowing students to obtain more effective instruction.

The courses take place for two hours a week, with 20 per cent of the instruction at the school and the rest practical training in a workshop at Unithai shipyard in Laem Chabang.


“The vocational training is a key part of the company’s efforts for the sustainable development of the community. In response to the need of citizens in Laem Chabang, the project is aimed at enhancing local youngsters’ learning opportunities. It also is in line with the government’s policy to increase the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational education streams,” Teerapon said.

Weerapat Sa-nhuansap, director of Wat Laem Chabang School, said the vocational training programme enabled the students to gain substantial basic knowledge. Importantly, it inspires students to go into technical fields. Last year, more than 90 per cent of the students who completed Mattayom 3 (Grade 9) continued their studies at various technical colleges.

“Wat Laem Chabang School provides kindergarten to lower secondary education levels with about 300 students, mostly from low-income families. The vocational training programme will create opportunities for the students to study at higher levels,” Weerapat said.

The school will encourage trained students to provide free services for people in the community, including motorcycle and electrical repairs. This enhances their capabilities and awareness on contributing to society.

According to the Office of the Vocational Education Commission, about 60 per cent of students are in general education and the rest in vocational education. Industries are facing a shortage of skilled workers, which will eventually affect the country’s competitiveness. Therefore, the commission is encouraging lower-secondary students to pursue further studies in technical and vocational colleges through various measures to ensure quality standards of vocational education, job opportunities and career paths.

Narongsak Inorn, a welding engineer in Unithai’s offshore fabrication division specialising in quality control, has been passing on his knowledge to the students for three years. He acknowledged that there was a severe shortage of welders in various industries because most students are not interested in learning the trade as they are afraid it is dangerous.

Only 10 students are in the welding course, where they learn safety procedures, basic metallurgy, welding processes and non-destructive testing.

In addition to vocational training, Unithai offers a safety programme. The students are taught how to identify potential risks in their daily lives and make safely a habit at home and at school. At the same time, the programme develops leadership skills and encourages them to assume responsibility in aiding and caring for others.

Teerapon said that besides building awareness on safety, the campaign encourages youth to develop a thinking process that is a crucial foundation for educational development. Success in this endeavour will benefit not just the local community but also society and the country at large.

Moreover, Unithai has partnered with the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology to support staff volunteers with capability in relevant fields to be “STEM ambassadors”.

Its latest project in supporting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is aimed at improving youngsters’ ability to think and analyse in order to resolve, in practical ways, problems that crop up every day.

Unithai and the school will jointly organise STEM activities to encourage student participation and expression, which remain weaknesses among Thai children. The STEM ambassadors will help inspire young people about careers in these fields and encourage them to become more creative and innovative.


Big C’s gifts to 3,000 disadvantaged VN children

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Big C supermarket on May 26 began giving gift packages to 3,000 disadvantaged children aged six or below to mark Vietnam’s International Children’s Day.

Each will have school items, confectionary, milk, toys, a helmet, diapers and more.

Worth a total of VND330 million (US$14,798), the gifts will be given to orphans, children with disabilities, and children from disadvantaged families in provinces and cities where Big C has outlets.

To mark International Children’s Day, June 1, the supermarket will organise activities for children at its 33 outlets around the country. –

PTT’s waste recycling campaign goes nationwide

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Waste sorting bins will be placed at PTT gas stations over 1,400 locations countrywide. The revenue from this campaign will help residents around PTT gas stations as it promotes good deeds and community activities.

Sarun Rungkasiri, chief operating officer, Downstream Petroleum Business Group, said that the “Yak Lak Yim” campaign ensured PTT’s commitment to giving back to society, especially environmental impact reduction by managing the collection of waste into recycling, while its benefits will fund community activities.

This project is a cooperation of PTT dealers from all over the country to set up a site for garbage containers and waste disposal and to generate recycles revenue to support activities in nearby communities. The campaign implicates the synergy of all consumers by just correctly sorting trash to go into recycling.

Entertainers joining the recent press conference to launch the campaign also promised to encourage their fans to join the activity through a campaign website and win a chance to be a part of the programme “giving smile to

the communities” in 4 provinces from 4 regions with a crew of 8 famous artists.

Philips Lighting backs Solar Soccer Cup in Kenya

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Philips Lighting, a Royal Philips company, has announced a Solar Soccer Cup to mark the successful implementation of more than 100 Community Light Centres at soccer pitches in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Two under-15 boys’ teams vied for the trophy on the eve of the second United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi. The match, played under solar LED (light-emitting diode) floodlights, took place at the Philips Community Light Centre at Mathare, an informal settlement on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, on Sunday.

The match was to be watched by senior government figures from across the world who gathered in Nairobi for the second UN Environmental Assembly, which opened on Monday.

“I have my own barbershop here inside the container where the batteries are kept for the Community Light Centre in Mathare,” said Alfonce Muckiri, a barber. “Where I was working before, the electricity was unreliable. Now, thanks to the CLC, I can work a full day and earn money for my family.”

Globally, an estimated 1.1 billion people still live in light poverty, without access to safe or reliable electric light. Tragically, 1.5 million die each year because of fire or respiratory illness caused by noxious fumes from lighting their homes with kerosene, candles or fires.

“It doesn’t have to be like this. Solar-powered LED is a huge opportunity to eradicate light poverty,” said Eric Rondolat, CEO of Philips Lighting. “We don’t have to wait for answers or new inventions – this form of light is already transforming lives in off-grid and urban communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

Solar-powered LED has enabled entire communities to “leapfrog” the light-poverty trap, by harnessing clean energy to power more equitable social and economic development. Philips Lighting encourages local people to take ownership of lighting installations, through support for technical training in maintenance and business skills.

In partnership with Dutch soccer association KNVB’s World Coaches programme, local coaches at CLCs have delivered training for people in both soccer technique and life skills, spanning issues from crime to health and the social position of girls and women.

The combination of LED lighting and solar-powered energy is a necessary step to curb carbon emissions and achieve global carbon neutrality in the second half of the 21st century.

Kratingdaeng throws farmers support

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Villagers attend the ceremony to celebrate sustainable farming.

Villagers attend the ceremony to celebrate sustainable farming.

Aunty Joi proudly presents organic rice and vegetables from the project

Aunty Joi proudly presents organic rice and vegetables from the project

Sarawut Yoovidhya, centre, chief executive officer of TC Pharmaceutical Industries, and his team.

Sarawut Yoovidhya, centre, chief executive officer of TC Pharmaceutical Industries, and his team.

ON A VERY sunny day in March, hundreds of rice farmers in Bangtaen village and nearby areas in Prachin Buri province gathered for a traditional ceremony. They offered food and other items to the rice goddess, celebrating the successful harvest of their first organic crop.

During the ceremony, packed rice was exhibited, along with organic vegetables grown on their fields in line with the participatory guarantee system (PGS) initiated by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM-Organics International) to guarantee consumers of pure organic products.

To be certified, producers must follow 23 guidelines covering land preparation, choices of organic fertilisers and milling methods. All participating farmers must also grow 10 vegetables, aimed at raising their income.

The farmers were highly enthusiastic. Ekasit Kaewnet, a member of one of the 33 households joining the experimental organic drive, mulls expanding his organic rice fields for a second year. Encouraging him is the fact that the organic rice yields were satisfactory in the absence of expensive chemical fertilisers.

Adopting PGS also means more income, as his rice can definitely find buyers, as can his secondary vegetable crop. Organic fertilisers also mean lower cost of production.


“The traditional method is costly. Indeed, organic farming is not difficult and it reduces production costs,” said the young farmer.

The first crop suggests that the cost per rai is only Bt1,500-Bt2,000, against Bt4,000 (Bt25,000 per hectare) under traditional methods.

Vilawan Tanwiboonsak, a participating farmer, admitted that the organic farming process was more complicated, but said all farmers gained better health in return from growing organic rice and vegetables.

Chao Thiangthae, the community leader, hopes that the success of the scheme will encourage more households to join it and that the organic plantation areas will expand. In three years, farmers with 50-100 rai of rice fields are expected to adopt the organic method fully, while those who own more than 100 rai should do so in five years.

Chao extended the biggest thanks to TC Pharmaceutical Industries, the owner of the Kratingdaeng energy-drink brand, which approached farmers and offered assistance. The farmers were offered visits to organic rice fields in other provinces and training sessions.

One of the sessions dealt with financial planning. TC Pharmaceutical also offered subsidies for five years: Bt1 per kilogram of paddy rice to farmers and another Bt0.50 per kilo to their community for common purposes.

In the first year, output was 77 tonnes, barely enough for their own consumption.

“When Kratingdaeng first sold this idea, I thought it was a 50:50 chance. All farmers here relied on chemicals to boost yields, given the salty water and dryness. Yet I thought the chance of success should be high given Kratingdaeng’s commitment,” said Chao.

According to Sarawut Yoovidhya, chief executive officer of TC Pharmaceutical Industries, the knowledge shared with these farmers was a result of years of experimentation in provinces including Suphan Buri and Yasothon. The network was extended to Prachin Buri, as it is the home of the company’s only manufacturing facility in Thailand.

Farmers are TC Pharmaceutical’s focus, Sarawut said, as they are the main target customers of the company, which reaps more than Bt100 billion in annual sales revenue.

“We want to return benefits to our main customers, and this will in turn benefit our society and economy,” he said.

The company also sees the importance of food security and food safety for both farmers and consumers. In past years, the company has been involved with several CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities in many provinces, from Chiang Mai in the North to Trang in the South and Chanthaburi in the East, dealing mainly with farming and fishing.

In 2015, the company spent about Bt50 million on CSR activities. Sarawut declined to specify the 2016 budget, saying it depended on project feasibility. Any projects with social and economic benefits that are ready to go will be approved.

“I’m lucky that all my siblings vow to follow in our father’s footsteps. The benefits of the projects come before [money],” he said. Sarawut is a son of the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, the developer of Kratingdaeng.

Reducing poverty is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Sarawut said the company had applied a number of goals to minimise its operations’ impacts on society and the environment. While the carbon footprint is monitored, the company has recently introduced a scheme to increase the efficiency of water consumption. Reservoirs surround the factory, able to feed water to it for 10 months. This ensures that it will not compete with farmers for water during the dry season.

Sarawut is cheered by the fact that some farmers in Prachin Buri plan to increase their organic-farming areas. In the years ahead, if the output increases and is available for sale, Kratingdaeng is ready to build a buyers’ network or train farmers on adding value to the products.

He envisages drawing help in sharing more knowledge from other organisations and corporates that share a similar philosophy.

Farmers in Yasothon now supply 72 tonnes of organic rice per annum to the factory, which is turned into free lunches for more than 2,000 employees. While the employees save money, they are also aware of the benefits of organic products.

“Marketing will be the integral part of this scheme, as subsidies cannot guarantee its sustainability,” he said. “We need a complete solution. We made this happen but if we’re not in the picture, this scheme should continue in a sustainable way. All farmers should be able to carry it on without our help.”

He was pleased with the first year’s outcome.

“My wish is for this approach to be replicated in other areas of Thailand, to boost the volume of organic products.”


Banpu, Change Fusion cooperate on ‘Champions for Change’

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Banpu has collaborated with Change Fusion, a non-profit institute with a key role in driving the Thai social-enterprise industry, to roll out “Banpu Champions for Change (BC4C) as one of Banpu’s CSR programmes.

The 10 social enterprises are made up of interesting ideas and concepts that utilise technology and new media to enhance their businesses and respond to the lifestyles of modern consumers. For example, there are online platforms for people suffering from depression to seek treatment, a critical-thinking course for the underprivileged, learning aids for the blind and hearing-impaired, environmental- and health-friendly packaging products, a mobile application for real-time public-transport schedules, human-waste fertiliser, a zero-waste soy-milk product, and a recreational and productivity hub for senior citizens.

The company’s head of corporate affairs Udomlux Olarn said a lot of young people had the will and ideas to create a social enterprise but sometimes lacked guidance and the means to accelerate their projects and realise their dreams.

Banpu has therefore offered an opportunity for young social entrepreneurs to immerse themselves in a learning process that will help them accomplish their goals, because it believes that learning is the power of change and development. BC4C serves as a platform to provide them with skills, knowledge, financial support and networking opportunities. They will get to learn, solve problems and make the most of their potentials while having Banpu and its mentors as their guides, she said.

Banpu has invited experts from Thailand’s start-up and social-enterprise communities, as well as its programmes’ alumni, as judges and mentors to share their insights and expertise with the young entrepreneurs.

Among them are Pattaraporn “Dao” Yaemla-or, an expert on measuring the impacts of social enterprises, and social marketer Alan “Ton” Archapiraj, a marketing expert and founder of social innovation-based enterprises and inspirational magazines. All of them have proven expertise in the social-enterprise arena.

BC4C participants were given advice and mentoring through workshops that assist in taking ideas and shaping into working business models for sustainable social enterprises with desired impacts.

The 10 selected teams then have three months (April to June) to make the most of Bt50,000. At the end of this three-month period, they will present their social-enterprise progress in a final round to win four places to receive Bt200,000 to fund their businesses.

Thai Union’s English scheme ‘foundation for life’

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Thai Union Group (TU) has initiated a TU English Teaching Volunteers scheme for children enrolled in the Thai Union Child Centre and grade 7 students at the Wat Si Suttharam school in Samut Sakhon province.

The scheme has been led by both Thai and expatriate Thai Union employees, to improve the English language skills of the children attending through interaction with native and fluent English speakers. The two-month long programme began on January 7. The scheme is part of Thai Union’s commitment to promote lifelong learning opportunities, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Darian McBain, group director of sustainable development said, “We believe that education is an important foundation for success in life. The ability to learn English from an early age could be advantageous for these children in an increasingly globalised world. The TU English Teaching Volunteers scheme was created to improve the language ability of the children through a fun and educational programme. Our volunteers have also found the scheme rewarding and have enjoyed the opportunity to give support back to one of the communities in which we operate.”

The Thai Union Child Care Centre was established in 2013 to offer basic education and prepare the children of migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province for subsequent formal education in the Thai school system. Thai Union has invested Bt10 million in the scheme, which has allowed for two childcare centres to open in the Samut Sakhon province and there are plans for another three centres by 2017.