Young Thai voters push two top concerns of gender equality and job opportunities

03 Jun 2013

image UNDP Thailand: UNDP talks to grade three, four and five children about the importance of issues like gender equality and employment.

With the aid of two dynamic partners, Thailand has amassed more than 8,000 votes in two weeks—passing more than 16,600 votes to rank sixth out of 194 countries.

Over the past two weeks, Procter and Gamble (P&G) and Dhurakij Pundit University International College (DPUIC) held back-to-back events at two major Bangkok-area high schools—each reaching more than 2,500 secondary students.

At Ratchavinitbangkhen School, UN Women Regional Communications Officer Montira Narkvichien teamed up with UNDP to talk to students about the importance of gender equality and how important education will be in the upcoming ASEAN economic community.

“UN Women is proud to be a part of MY World, where we witnessed how powerful teenagers are as change agents through the campaign’s easy-to-understand voting tool,” Narkvichien said.

Over 2,600 students cast their vote via paper ballot, each selecting six out of 16 priorities. MY World’s two voting options make voting accessible to nearly everyone.

“MY World is one of the most powerful web-based popular mobilization tools that not only it measures how valid the work of the United Nations has been to the eyes of billions but it also links the UN to the direction the world wants us to go,” Narkvichien said.

DPUIC has collected more than 4,500 votes in just over a month of campaigning. Procter and Gamble has collected almost 5,700 votes in just over two months. Their combined contributions make up more than 60 percent of Thailand’s total.

“When DPUIC first learned about the MY World campaign, we jumped at the chance to contribute”, said Asst. Professor Dr. Harald Kraus, Dean of DPUIC.

Most recently, DPUIC and the United Nations visited St. Andrews-Samakee International School, where children as young as 7 engaged in a three-hour discussion on some of key MY World priorities. After their group exercises, 35 bright young people cast their individual votes.

“We felt that the project would draw attention to local and global issues, and we wanted our students to feel that they would be part of a major international movement. We’re thrilled with the success so far,” Kraus said.

“Procter and Gamble and DPUIC have similar goals. They not only want to reach out to their employees and students, but both have made a strong commitment to extending their individual campaigns into local communities,” said Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and Thailand’s MY World campaign director.

“They have set a high standard for themselves and are models for other companies and universities to follow,” Cogan said.
Each has extended their campaigns to include secondary schools and primary schools. Almost 30% of Thailand’s votes have come from young people under the age of 15.

Thailand is developing new partnerships that are beginning to bear fruit. Manarom Hospital, Thailand’s first private psychiatric hospital will begin campaigning in June—campaigning for better mental health care worldwide. The hospital will use its free Wi-Fi service to encourage visitors and staff to vote. CIMB Thai bank launched their online social media campaign which will continue throughout the summer and into the fall.