Community Capacity Building Projects

Article Index

Community outreach:

PSU’s mission in community outreach and social services is conducted by all faculties and units according to the university’s policy in knowledge transfer from the university to the community and society so as to reinforce community and social strength. This policy concept is based on university values expressed through PSU’s guiding principle: “Our Soul is for the Benefit of Mankind”. The activities are carried out in various forms considered suitable for different needs of different communities. They include: (1). Training courses; (2). Continuing education courses; (3). Community studies by students in programs of study such as community studies and other programs; (4). Students’ job training in the community; (5). Youth camp activities; (6). Annual PSU Open Week; (7). Personnel development activities to serve both internal and external organizations; (8).  Medical, pharmaceutical and nursing services to the community and society; (9). Business Incubation Center for the general public; (10). Activities jointly organized with other organizations such as POSN camp (The Promotion of Academic Olympiad and Development of Science Education Foundation under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra); the Technology Clinic with the Ministry of Science and Technology; and specialized personnel development program; and (11). Activities for the three southern border provinces such as vocational development, family development, building unification, and educational development; (12). Community-strengthening activities; and (13). community-linking activities in search of research questions.

Some outstanding outreach activities of the university are as follows:

1. Activities which promote occupation
and improve quality of life 

1.1 Food and occupational security for vulnerable men and women in southern Thailand, a joint project between PSU and OEC-OXFAM funded by EU and OXFAMBackground:     EU has allocated a fund for community and social development in the southern border provinces of Thailand during the unrest
situation, and the Office of Extension and Continuing Education with cooperation from OXFAM proposed the project for a grant and the project was approved, to be conducted from  2010 – 2012.
Objectives: To solve the poverty problem and to upgrade living conditions in the communities affected by the violence in the southern part of Thailand, and to increase the efforts of peace-building and reconciliation in the area. The main activities are as follows:
Activity 1: Natural resources management by the community, which is an activity that revives and preserves natural resources, organizing sustainable agricultural activities, promoting knowledge at the local level, establishing community welfare funds, promoting community potentials, organizing training on marketing management for groups of women, building networks, campaigning,  and providing knowledge for the public.
Activity 2: Initiating a “prototype” for “a strong fishing community”, which is an activity campaigning for understanding the prototype of a “strong fishing community” with the government sector.
Activity 3: Occupational development for affected women, which is an activity that follows up the living conditions and provides training for affected women in order to give long-term treatment to women whose losses resulted from the unrest situation, especially in a troublesome way.
Activity 4: Development of the role of affected women are activities involving training in campaigning and leadership skills, activities in campaigning and media, and activities in extending knowledge through printed matters.

Target group/area
-Natural resources networks, Sai Buri River network, Phru Lan Kwai, Pattani Bay network, forest networks, and Su-ngai Kolok River network.
-Groups of severely affected Muslim and Buddhist males and females: This project provides intensive support for vocational training especially organized for 900 women, 190 of whom do not have knowledge about living skills.
-Poor fishing communities: more than 120 communities of Muslim fishermen (23,324 households with a population of 165,348 people, who cluster on the coasts and in many bays in 25 districts in Pattani and Narathiwat).
The results of the project could be used in creating the opportunity for sustainable occupations that can be reproduced in other areas, and upgrading civil societies and state agencies in local areas to suitably conduct community development. They could also be applied to help vulnerable women who are socially barred to be able to manage themselves economically, and to provide good understanding and confidence among people in the southern community.

1.2 Mobile dental care unit in the southern border provinces project
Background: The data available from the medical mobile unit of the Joint Civil-Police-Military Command Center revealed that most people in the southern border provinces need dental treatment services and the problems existing now are: inadequate number of dental personnel; non-proactive treatment; safety while on duty; cooperation from people in each village; and lack of trust in the work of security personnel.
Objectives: To provide people with services in dental disease prevention and treatment for diseases of the oral cavity and to build understanding in order to reduce suspicion between people and state officials in the area.
Operations: PSU by the Faculty of Dentistry take dentists, post-graduate students, dental assistants, and related personnel to provide dental services such as fillings, cleaning, and extractions to people in the risk areas.  The services are conducted with cooperation from the Joint Civil-Police-Military Command Center, Sirindhorn Military Camp, Tambon Khao Tum, Amhoe Yarang Pattani Province.

1.3 Pilot fishing community development prototype
Background:    Presently, the southern border provinces are faced with the most serious problem in its history and there is no sign of improvement. This has affected most native fishermen, most of whom are Muslim that already have many other problems. The government has allotted large amounts of its budget for solving the problems, especially those related to security. However, for basic problems of the fishing community, most of the budget is used in development related to placing artificial reefs, releasing aquatic animals, and dredging waterways while very little has been done to solve other basic problems in fishing communities. Besides, if there is any development, it is conducted by different agencies with different priorities even though there have been efforts to integrate them. Thus, it seems that the budgets provided by the government have not yet been able to solve the basic problems of the communities, especially the native fishing community.
Objectives: The project is aimed at building a prototype of a fishing community with a good environment where environmental problems can be managed properly; natural resources and the ecological system are conserved and revived so that fisheries are sustainable. The project is also aimed at building a prototype of a fishing community with the realization of good physical and mental health; a strong community welfare system; to develop an economic structure; to create new occupations and supporting occupations for the fishing community so that they are sustainable and efficient; to stimulate, promote and strengthen people through various activities; to make it a prototype of a fishing village with true people participation; to provide guidelines for solving social problems of the fishing community; to build basic fishery community networks; and to build a prototype that is strong economically, socially, religiously, and culturally.

Results: There are five communities taking part in the project, namely, Ban Bang Pla Mo Community, Tambon Rusamilae, Muang District, Pattani Province; Ban Rusamilae Community, Mu 1, Tambon Rusamilae, Muang District, Pattani Province; Ban Lum, Mu 7, Tambon Paseyawo, Sai Buri District, Pattani Province; Ban Kato Community, Mu 5, Tambon Panare, Panare District, Pattani Province; and Ban Thon Na-im, Mu 12, Tambon Kok Kian, Muang District, Narathiwat Province. These communities will be developed economically, socially, and culturally. The operation is carried out through cooperation among local government agencies and among people in the areas. The operation of this project will benefit not only the target villages in terms of development but also the body of knowledge and operation approach will be extended to other villages, too.

2. Activities which enhance environment preservation

2.1 Learning community culture and way of life “Let’s learn together about your hometown and mine”
    Background: PSU, Surat Thani campus, sees the importance of learning outside the classroom for children and youth, especially students in the three southern border provinces, and has therefore organized a three-day training course and study tour so that youths in the southern border provinces can share and exchange their knowledge with youths in Tambon Khlong Noi where they learn the way of life of the community and learn about mangrove forest preservation and oyster culture in Surat Thani Province.

Objectives: To provide an opportunity for youths to exchange their knowledge through activities so that they can apply it for use in their own communities, and to give moral support to youths in the three southern border provinces.

Target group: Groups of female high school students in the three southern border provinces, teachers and soldiers from the Internal Security Operations Command, Region 4, Front.

2.2 Structure for Prevention of Ban Hua Laem (on Krachom Side) Coastal Corrosion
    PSU is the consultant for the operation of the structure to prevent coastal corrosion in the area of Ban Hua Laem in Amphoe Lang Suan, Chumporn Province, carried out by the Marine Department.
    Objectives: to study and analyze the problems and causes of Ban Hua Laem (Krachom Side) coastal corrosion and to find ways to prevent and solve the problems in a way suitable to the conditions of the area; to survey and design the structure in detail; to study and analyze all aspects of the impact that may result from the construction, and to suggest how to prevent and reduce the impact. The results of the study can lead to solutions to the problem of coastal erosion, and its prevention for nearby communities.

2.3 Project to develop maps and database for making buoys and zone-markers to preserve the Gulf of Thailand and Songkhla Lake
This project is an environmental activity conducted by the Center of Excellence for Biodiversity of Peninsular Thailand, Faculty of Science, which has developed maps, a database, and markers for the preservation zones in the lower southern Gulf of Thailand and Songkhla Lake.
    Main objectives:
    1. Buoys for marking major conservation areas and areas at risk from being destroyed are aimed to protect coral reefs and sea grass sources and dolphins’ habitats in Songkhla Lake.  The conservation zone markers are used to make the conservation zones known to the general public.
    2. Buoys for marking boat anchoring and mooring areas are aimed at preventing boats from anchoring and mooring in coral reef zones, especially tourist attraction areas and areas that are used by fishing boats to escape strong winds.

Placing five marker buoys on the sea grass zones in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province for fishermen to see the zones of sea grass sources in Ko Tham Rai area, and the dolphins’ habitat zones in Khanom beach and Ko Tham Rai areas.
Carrying out activities that protect marine resources in Songkhla Province, namely, placing marker buoys for touring boat anchoring and mooring areas, conserving the coral reefs of Ko Nu, Ko Maew, and Ko Kham, and dolphin-protected areas in Songkhla Lake.
Placing marker buoys to prevent boats anchoring and mooring in the coral reef zones of Ko Losin, and placing buoys to mark the sea grass zones in Pattani Bay on Ta Chi Cape.
Placing marker buoys for boat anchoring areas to prevent boat anchoring on coral piles and sea grass sources in Narathiwat Province.

3.  Activities which provide educational opportunities

3.1 Project of distance education and development center prototype in the risk areas of the southern border provinces
    Background: The government has designated urgent strategies for promoting and supporting the upgrade of quality of life and peace building for the southern border provinces.  The many-year continuous unrest situation in the southern border provinces has caused a lower quality of life for people in the area and resulted in a lack of opportunity, especially for education. Students have not been able to fully attend school because some schools have been burned down and some teachers have been killed, forcing schools to close in order to treat their mental conditions.  Teachers and specialists lack confidence in safety being in the area and thus move out. People living outside the area do not dare move in. As a result, problems in learning and teaching and in quality of life as well as other problems arise.
    The Office of National Telecommunications Commission by the National Telecommunications commissioners and PSU realize the importance of operating according to the government strategies stated in the 10th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2007 – 2011) and have therefore cooperated in making a prototype for a Distance Education Center in the risk area of the southern border provinces. The purpose is to upgrade educational standards in the area and it has been conducted by offering a preparation for a foundation subjects project for students in the southern border provinces through e-learning.
    1.  To develop the infrastructure for information technology in response to the government policy stipulated in the 10th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2007-2011) to develop the quality of people and the Thai society to become an intelligent and learning society.
    2. To provide opportunity to students and people in the risk areas of the southern border provinces to search and access information.
    3. To spread opportunity for education and strengthen education in the risk areas of the southern border provinces.
    4. To solve the problems of lacking educational specialists in the risk areas of the southern border provinces.
    5. To upgrade the educational standards of students in the risk areas of the southern border provinces so that they are equal to those in other provinces of the country.
    6. To make a prototype of a distance education center for students and the general public in the risk areas of the southern border provinces.
    The results and usefulness gained from the project are seen to help students in the risk areas of the five southern border provinces, so they have more knowledge in addition to what they receive in class. The project also provides them with opportunities to learn from highly qualified teachers. Networks between educational institutions have been created to cooperate for benefits of the local areas. For the university, its role for the community has been increased as the project has solved the problem of the insufficient number of teachers in the risk areas.  Moreover, the results of the ONET (Ordinary National Educational Test) been improved for students in the risk areas of the southern border provinces.

Faculty of Environmental Management:

 - Songkhla Lake Basin Development Plan 2012 – 2016

The project was implemented through the collaboration of the Faculty of Environmental Management, and the Office of Natural resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP). The study included the review and amendment of the 2006 – 2015 master plan of the Songkhla Lake basin development, focusing on critical issues. It ultimately proposed a more sustainably aware approach to the Songkhla Lake Basin development.

- Community-based management and restoration of coastal ecosystems at Tha Kham sub-district, Palian district, Trang province, southern Thailand: Rapid assessment of ecological status

Wetland International (WI) Thailand cooperated with Wetland Research Center (WRC), PSU, to study baseline information on biodiversity for monitoring and evaluation of specific areas. They aim to advise the actions needed to restore and sustainably manage the ecosystems in the study areas.

- The "Help Conserve Kho Hong Hill Project"

The project was established by PSU and its Environmental Economic Research Unit, FEM, in 2009 in response to an urgent need to conserve Kho Hong Hill. Its missions are to conduct research, build networks, launch campaigns, and create conservation and rehabilitation projects to find ways to protect Kho Hong Hill.

- Enhancing environmental consciousness and knowledge transfer to communities for environmental protection from industrial pollution along Klong U-Tapao, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand

The Faculty of Environmental Management, the Department of Industrial Works, local factories, and communities along Klong U-Tapao worked together to develop biological indicators for water quality monitoring. Knowledge transfer and community-based action research were the main activities in this project.

Faculty of Nursing:

Sustainable Nursing Care in Bangladesh
Through this program, we endeavored to improve the quality of nursing education and care in Bangladesh by developing a core group of nurse educators and nursing staff in two selected wards at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. As there was no clinical practice area which could be used as a model for students learning to ensure high quality nursing care, two wards in DMCH were created, with the technical assistance of nurse educators from PSU, to demonstrate nursing care based on patient-centered, evidence-based, and holistic care.
To further improve some of the areas which are critical to ensure quality of care based on the nurses’ commitment and the sustainability of certain critical nursing procedures which were not practiced by the nurses, it was advised that further technical assistance will be given to the Bangladesh Nursing Council (BNC). At the program’s end there will be an evaluation to assess progress, sustainability, and staff-wide behavior change. Attention will also be given to the knowledge-based nursing process, in selected nursing procedures critical to maintaining quality nursing care, and to assisting the ward in establishing a system of quality assurance.

Work to be carried out:
The Faculty of Nursing, Prince Songkla University, will provide the services of competent nurse educators to visit Bangladesh five times, for a total of 12 weeks, with two educators per visit, to strengthen and build the nurses’ capacity for further learning. Under supervision, the master trainer(s) will assist the core teacher group during training sessions in other parts of the country and in the clinical ward, to ensure the sustainability of quality nursing care. During each visit, the nurse educators will carry out the following activities in collaboration with the Bangladesh Nursing Council and the Directorate of Nursing Services, under the guidance of the WHO Nurse Administrator:
On the first and second training sessions, the nurse educators will work with the master trainer(s) and core trainers in one of the regions by supervising the selected master trainer(s) within the core group of teachers, emphasizing teaching methodologies and mobilizing the master trainer(s) to supervise the other trainers during subsequent training sessions in other regions. On the third and fourth visits, the educators will work with clinical nurses in the model ward, teaching them how to manage nursing records, apply the knowledge-based nursing process, provide standard care using standard nurses’ procedures, and facilitate the establishment of a mechanism that ensures continuous improvement of quality in nursing care. The fifth visit will consist of an evaluation of the progress and sustainability of the model wards, and serve to finalize guidelines for the implementation of model wards in other settings.

The Arts and Cultural Center
    - Research and Development Project for Sustainable Community Pre-School Center
Objective: To develop sustainable education system for the community.
Short description of the activity: “Participatory Action Research and Development” is used for the activity.

E-Learning Center

Expanding Education Opportunities through e-Learning for High School Students in Southern Border Provinces

In the southern border provinces of Thailand, political problems based on religious differences have been accumulating for more than 40 years. Since late 2003, the conflicts between groups of an Islamic movement and the Thai government have increased and the issue of terrorism has arisen. As a result of the disturbances, economic and social problems inevitably follow. Despite the unstable conditions, people in this area manage to live with it and expect the problems to be solved peacefully.

The situation became quite serious: teachers and students had to be protected by the military and police on the way to school and back to their residences; outside school activities were cancelled; and school schedules were frequently interrupted.

The Nation Telecommunication Commission (NTC), under the Commission of Higher Education and PSU, is aware of the situation in southern Thailand, particularly the issue of high school students who were at risk when they lacked proper schooling. Therefore, the NTC provides the budget for the project. The main focus of the project is to prepare students for the knowledge necessary to study at university level, and to assist high school students in this area in their preparation for the national entrance examination. The short-term solution is to provide these students effective tutorials by effective teaching with effective technology. With the existing teleconference network used by the university, PSU extended the network to cover major academic institutions in five border provinces.

Broadcasting from PSU High School and PSU Wittayanusorn, qualified teachers and university lecturers volunteered to teach students from the affected areas. From December 2007 until September 2010, the project created more than 200 online media courses for students to use. Each weekend during this period, 6-10 hours of teleconference classroom teaching were conducted, and a total of more than 1,000 students participated.

The tutorials covered a revision of content students had studied already, samples of exams, and on-demand lessons that students could access anytime via the PSU web site.
Teachers and students in these five border provinces responded positively to the project. Our evaluation reported an increased level of academic performance along with motivation and encouragement. However, the project has to be improved technically and methodologically, a process which would be carried out in the new phase of the year 2010 to 2012.

The success of the project reminds us that technology can be utilized in various ways; specifically, for education. Better modules and ideas have to be initiated and improved continuously. It is undeniable that information technology helps us to extend a helping hand wherever help is needed. And this helping hand will grow stronger and reach farther when other hands are joined together.


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