July was a whirlwind for me. In the course of several weeks, my team and I made our way through over 10 schools and reached out to more than 2,000 high school girls in northeast Thailand including Ubon province. We trained, distributed self-learning kits and collected data to map gender-based violence in schools. Barely catching my breath from completing the project and I was on a plane to Washington DC, the first leg of a three-week trip, arranged by the US Embassy in Thailand. Then it was off to Des Moines, Iowa; Manchester, New Hampshire; Detroit, Michigan; and Seattle, Washington.
We were among five Thai NGOs invited for the visit as part of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program #IVLP exchange on NGO management. It’s aimed at encouraging exchanges between civil societies of both countries. I found it to be a deeply edifying experience learning from my American counterparts and sharing about our work and challenges in Thailand with them. Through our wide-ranging conversations, I picked up new skills in managing donors, beneficiaries and volunteers, community engagement and tapping social media to amplify our impact. I also made new connections that I know will come in handy when I need a resource person to bounce off ideas.
It was not all work though. Our chaperons and English-Thai interpreter took us to wonderful museums, wildly entertaining seafood markets, a musical and even to someone’s home for dinner to experience American hospitality at its best.
Three weeks flew by really quick and it’s back to work on home ground. But I feel renewed from the experience knowing many of the takeaways from the trip will help me run Pratthanadee better. A big thank you to the folks at the US Embassy in Thailand! And to program sponsor and partners