Population and Community Development Association
As a young economist working for the government, Mechai saw that rapid population growth in rural Thailand was making it difficult for the poor to escape from poverty. He felt the need to address the problem with a radical approach and launched the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) in 1974. The results were remarkable: The population growth rate fell from 3.2% in 1974 to 0.5% in 2005. Mechai’s efforts in population and HIV/AIDS education earned him the nickname of the “Condom King of Thailand.” Despite his past accomplishments, Mechai sees the VDP initiative as what will define his contribution toward development in Thailand.
Impact since joining the portfolio in 2008:
- Today, PDA is the leading and most diversified NGO in Thailand, employing more than 800 staff members and working with over 12,000 volunteers. PDA has 18 regional development centers and branch offices located across 15 provinces in rural Thailand. It also manages operation of the Lamplaimat-Pattana Primary and Secondary Schools, which is revolutionary, private education for the poor.
- The Village Development Partnership project currently benefits over 25,000 rural villagers throughout Thailand with 3,000 members in 43 Village Development Banks, who have utilized 25.5 Million Baht (or $US700,000) in micro-credit loans as a means of economic empowerment over the last 3 years.
- 70% of PDA’s funding comes from 15 different Social Enterprises, including the popular restaurant chain Cabbages and Condoms and the newly-launched Business for Rural Education and Development Co. Ltd. (BREAD), which is selling rice grown around PDA’s Lamplaimat Pattana Primary and Secondary Schools to a nation-wide market.
- PDA’s unique approach to reproductive health over the past 35 years resulted in Thailand’s population growth rate declining from 3.2 percent in 1974 to 0.5 percent in 2005, and, according to a World Bank study, an estimated 7.7 million lives were saved as a result of PDA’s HIV prevention campaigns.
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