We capped the year 2023 with one of our most ambitious projects to date. For the first time, key stakeholders involved in the reporting of gender-based violence (GBV) in schools met under one roof in Ubon Ratchathani province. We’d hoped that by bringing together the key actors, we could improve the existing GBV reporting system for teachers and students in northeast Thailand. As of now, many are uncertain on what to do or who to call for support. This was why we created this project ‘Reach Out’ largely funded by the Canadian Embassy through its Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. We’re grateful for their backing, not only on this project but over many years, because their support has helped us broaden and deepen our work in this part of Thailand.

In all, 53 participants attended the one-day meeting in November. They included students, teachers, school directors, government hospital, the police, local NGOs, the Social Development and Human Security Ministry’s provincial office, the Secondary Educational Service Area Office of Ubon Ratchathani and Amnat Charoen, and the Canadian Embassy in Thailand. It was not an easy task rounding up all the stakeholders to meet but the result was very gratifying.

At the meeting, the atmosphere was convivial and discussions were lively and frank. The views and ideas shared by the participants will enable us to flesh out easy-to-understand collaterals for teachers and students of the 10 participating schools, so they know at a glance what to do when they witness or become a victim of GBV.

Further analysis of the inputs from the meeting and production of pocket-sized collaterals will occupy our time early this year. We can’t wait to be back soon in Ubon to share the outcome of our work with the stakeholders. Ultimately, we hope our effort will reduce the incidence of violence in schools.