Association for Community and Ecology Development (ACED)

The Association for Community and Ecology Development (ACED) is located near Chiang Rai in northern Thailand. ACED develops and protects the rights of ethnic minority children, youth and highland communities through education, raising ecological and cultural awareness, and promoting the sustainable management of agricultural and natural resources. ACED will celebrate 25 years of operations in 2012. The organization's objectives are: To conserve the flora, fauna and biodiversity and restore and protect natural resources in local communities; To strengthen the self-sufficiency of agricultural groups and communities; To prevent human rights violations and help children who have been victims...

Association for Community and Ecology Development (ACED)
9 Moo 13, Baan Doi Jam Tong, Doi Lan, Meung
Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai 57000
Thailand
+66 (0) 86 116 2220
http://www.monsaengdao.org/

Project Leaders

Thewin Akkharasilachai

Mission

The Association for Community and Ecology Development (ACED) is located near Chiang Rai in northern Thailand. ACED develops and protects the rights of ethnic minority children, youth and highland communities through education, raising ecological and cultural awareness, and promoting the sustainable management of agricultural and natural resources. ACED will celebrate 25 years of operations in 2012. The organization's objectives are: To conserve the flora, fauna and biodiversity and restore and protect natural resources in local communities; To strengthen the self-sufficiency of agricultural groups and communities; To prevent human rights violations and help children who have been victims by liaising with relevant public and private organizations; To promote the education of ethnic children and women through the establishment of an alternative education centre and educational funds; To learn, gather and disseminate community knowledge and local traditions and complement it with modern technology; and To raise awareness regarding problems and laws affecting local communities and the environment. ACED operates the Monsaengdao Ecological School (MES) and the Monsaengdao Training Centre at its 97 rai (38 acre) property 30 kilometers south east of the city of Chiang Rai. ACED also conducts community based projects with ethnic minority and remote rural communities throughout northern Thailand. Programs cover alternative education, protection of human rights and environmental conservation projects with children, youth and local communities. ACED was established in 1987, registered as an association in 1994 and three years later registered as a non-profit organization. ACED believes that the power of the poor, children, youth, women, local communities will be an important mechanism to achieve self-sufficiency with human dignity, local culture inheritance, balanced dependence of nature, and sustainable society. The ACED community leadership network coordinates activities within the Mekong ecological basin which covers eight provinces in far upper north Thailand. This part of Thailand is of significant ecological importance as it forms the core area of the upper Mekong region (Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and China) and is increasingly impacted by the continuing economic expansion and development of the Mekong Sub-region resulting from the ASEAN Free Trade agreement. The Monsaengdao Ecological School was founded in 1998 by ACED in response to the issues facing children from the region's ethnic minority groups. Many children from highland communities and remote rural areas live in poverty and have limited access to education. They are expected to find work and earn wages to support their families. Young girls are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations including being trafficked to work in the sex industry or other menial jobs. The school was established to provide an education for at-risk girls in a safe, supportive and healing environment. Around 30 girls, aged from 12 to 18 years, receive free accommodation and education at the school each year. The unique combination of ecological teachings, supportive school community and the beautiful natural setting encourages each student to develop the knowledge and self reliance required to reach her full potential.

Programs

ACED operates in two main program areas; firstly to support & strengthen local communities understanding and access to sustainable agricultural techniques. ACED is committed to enabling rural communities to preserve natural resources, biodiversity and achieve environmentally sustainable livelihoods. The second priority area is to empower marginalized rural people and support their advocacy for human rights protection and development, especially the rights of children and women from local ethic minority communities. Monsaengdao Ecological School The Monsaengdao Ecological School is ACED's flagship program and embodies the organization's priority focus areas. The school's curriculum, teaching and learning processes are developed according to the eco-school and environmental education concepts. It is one of eight alternative education schools in Thailand. The school is considered a model for providing ecological focused education for children from ethnic communities. Students learn about the protection of ecosystems, environmental management and the development of sustainable agriculture. In turn, they are encouraged to disseminate this knowledge within their own communities. The school also exchanges the concept and their experience with both primary and secondary public schools in the wider community. The curriculum incorporates general subjects as per the curriculum of the Department of Non-Formal Education. At the core of its teachings are specialized elective subjects developed by the school. These include: Vocational Studies - Arts, Organic Farming, Tourism and Hospitality, Cooking. Life Foundation Skills - Environment Education, Ethnic and Community Culture, Occupational Skills, Social Development, Sufficiency Economy, Morality for Life. Activity clubs - Performance and Arts, Environmental Conservation, and Cultural Inheritance. Monsaengdao Ecological School promotes an alternative integrated education. While teaching emphasizes practical exercises and self learning, equal emphasis is placed on supporting the students to live in a community and encouraging them to help others. Teachers offer assistance, guidance and opportunities to the students throughout the learning process both within, and outside of, the classroom. Awareness and appreciation of cultural identity is encouraged and celebrated. Daily life at the school is designed to replicate life in the students' communities as closely as possible. The girls cook their own meals, forage in the forest for traditional herbs and food, shop at the local market and sleep in buildings constructed in the traditional manner. Each girl is encouraged to be conscious of their individual importance and to have a positive attitude so that they can be proactively involved in the development of their communities that are socially, ecologically and economically sound in the future. Eco-girl project This project underpins the activities of Monsaengdao Ecological School. It aims to protect young girls who are at risk of being trafficked by giving them access to education and the opportunity to develop themselves and become active citizens and leaders in their communities. Many young girls from ethic minority communities and hill tribes do not continue their education past elementary school at approximately 12 years of age. The eco-girl project provides these girls with the opportunity to continue to higher education through the school's alternative education program. Once the girls complete the courses at Monsaengdao, they are given further opportunity to attend college in Chiang Rai through a cooperative scheme between ACED and Rajabphat Chiang Rai College. The college provides scholarships to selected girls to enable them to complete their studies. Our Rivers, Our Life project (OROL - Conservation and Protection of Our Rivers to Promote Life project) This is a project of the South East Asia Regional Working Group on Biodiversity and ACED is the project partner in Thailand. The campaign promotes the protection and conservation of rivers in South East Asia by working closely with those communities directly affected by river degradation. It specifically encourages the active participation of children and youth in river health programs. The campaign focuses on thirteen rivers in seven countries: the Salween River (Burma), Viako River (Cambodia), Mae Kok, Ing, Nan, Ping and Mekong Rivers (Thailand), Agusan and Pulangi/Liguasan Marsh rivers in Mindanao Island (Philippines), Cisadane River (Indonesia), the Dong Nai and Saigon Rivers (Vietnam) and the Xedone and Xelanong Rivers (Laos). The campaign aims to reach approximately 200,000 children and youth (30% direct), and tens of thousands of people in 66 targeted communities region-wide. Specific activities include the formation of river watch groups, networking at a community, national and regional level and raising public awareness of river health. OROL will also utilize media to influence groups at all levels (local, national and regional) to develop policy and local laws to protect rivers and biodiversity and promote ecological child rights. Quality of Life Foundation project Developed by ACED, the QLF project promotes local learning, acquisition of life skills and environmental education for students and youth throughout the province of Chiang Rai. The project features the development of series of learning stations, each being represented by physical sites around the Monsaengdao property. The learning centers cover four themes; the sufficiency economy, local Lanna wisdom, environmental education and media and globalization. Within each theme there are a number of key study areas. These include a nature trail (incorporating 11 learning stations) and sustainable agricultural areas including organic vegetable and traditional plants gardens (6 learning stations). Teaching is delivered through workshops, activities and practical learning at the various sites around Monsaengdao.

Statistics on Association for Community and Ecology Development (ACED)

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