Meet 5 Catalysts of Change who work behind the lens to advance Gender Equality Through Empowerment at UNDP Thailand

Faces of UNDP Thailand Series

June 11, 2024

As an organization dedicated to sustainable development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) plays a crucial role in fostering positive change worldwide. From eradicating poverty in all its forms to ending all discrimination against people of all genders around the world.  

UNDP has placed a high priority on promoting gender equality & reducing inequality through a wide range of initiatives, resulting in significant progress over the last twenty years. Central to this effort is the UNDP Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2025, which emphasizes harnessing the transformative potential of gender equality.  

In Thailand, UNDP's efforts are spearheaded by a diverse team of individuals who are committed to making a difference and accelerating every progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today, we delve into the story of five catalysts of change, who share insights into their experiences, challenges, and triumphs to advance gender equality through their career with UNDP Thailand.  


Charting a Path for Personal and Professional Growth 

Meet Gigi Sariddichainanta, a young innovative & development enthusiast who works for the UNDP Accelerator Lab in Thailand. With a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Tennessee at Martin and a master‘s degree in negotiation and conflict resolution, focusing on international conflicts and social psychology, at Columbia University, Gigi began her career journey as an assistant designer at a fashion design company in New York and had a wide range of working experiences in private companies and public sector. During her master's degree, she did an internship with the Thai Trade Center, the Department of International Trade Promotion, and Permanent Missions of Thailand to the United Nations, New York. 

Working with UNDP Thailand has been instrumental in shaping her career trajectory. From honing project management skills to fostering partnerships and understanding the nuances of gender equality, each experience contributes to her growth and development, both within UNDP and beyond. Being a project assistant for the UNDP Accelerator Lab in Thailand enables her to develop career insights and gain wider experience working in international development.  

“The UNDP management system is very difficult to understand at first due to its high level of complexity. To overcome the challenge, I need to have a growth mindset and always recall the moment when I prepared the applications and documents to apply for the UNDP and how much I wanted to work here.” 

If you are wondering, what it is like to work as a project assistant for UNDP Accelerator Lab in Thailand and how her role supports gender equality, read the full interview article of Gigi here.   



From Legal Consultant to Development Practitioner 

Meet Kasinee Wongsang, a seasoned professional with a background in Tourism Management from Kasetsart University. With 13 years of experience in a small legal consultant firm, Kasinee found herself at a crossroads, yearning for a deeper sense of purpose and a chance to contribute to the greater good.  

"I always wanted to work with a nonprofit international organization," she explains. "When I saw the opening at UNDP Thailand, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.", added Kasinee. 

For Kasinee, working as a Programme Associate for UNDP Thailand, this role represents more than just a career; it's a life-changing endeavour. Transitioning from the private sector to the UN, she believes that the experiences garnered here will pave the way for future opportunities, shaping her 

“The position is a life changer for me. I shifted my career from the private sector to working for the UN. I believe that the experiences I gained from working here will certainly open more opportunities in the future.” Kasinee says. 

Discover Kasinee’s role as a Programme Associate and her linkage to promoting gender equality in the full interview article here. 



Cultivating Transformation for a Better and Resilient Future  

Meet Mike, Panupong Plansumrit, an environment passionate with a solid background in Science in Soil Resources and Environment Management from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang. This foundation laid the groundwork for a career dedicated to environmental stewardship. Mike began his professional journey at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, where he served as an assistant project manager for the tiger conservation project in the Huay Kha Khaeng and Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, two of Thailand's invaluable World Heritage forests. 

Driven by his passion for conservation and inspired by his prior collaboration with UNDP during the GEF 5 tiger conservation project, Mike made the transition to working with UNDP Thailand. He joined as a Project Assistant for environmental projects, bringing his expertise to a new setting. 

As a Project Assistant at UNDP Thailand, Mike plays a crucial role in supporting the Project Manager in various tasks, including planning, budgeting, procurement, and coordination. The transition to UNDP brought challenges, particularly in adapting to a wider range of information systems. Transitioning to UNDP presented him with challenges, particularly in adapting to a broader range of information systems. However, with perseverance and the support of his colleagues, he navigated these challenges and found himself thriving in his role. 

“The current position I hold (Project Assistant for Low Carbon Cities Project) is in high demand by the UN system and external organizations. I believe that having work experience is very beneficial in terms of using that experience to further develop my skills or learn other things.” Mike says.   

If you are curious about Mike’s journey with UNDP Thailand, read the full article here. 



Embarking on a Mission of Change 

Meet Samantha Gunasekera, the driving force behind operational excellence at UNDP Thailand. With a career that spans continents and industries, Samantha's journey from the bustling skies of Emirates Airline in Dubai to the innovative landscapes of Australian tech firms and back to the heart of utility provision in her homeland reflects her unwavering commitment to making a difference.  

As the Operations Manager, Samantha's days are a whirlwind of activity, where she deftly navigates the intricate web of tasks and responsibilities that keep the Regional Hub in Asia and the Pacific and Thailand country office running seamlessly. For Samantha, each challenge is an opportunity to showcase her expertise and passion for effecting meaningful change in the world. 

When it comes to gender equality, in Samantha's view, gender equality isn't just a checkbox—it's a guiding principle that permeates every facet of their work. With an unwavering commitment to inclusivity and a steadfast adherence to Leave No One Behind (LNOB) principles, Samantha champions gender equality through action, not just rhetoric. 

"If you want to give back to this beautiful universe, please join UNDP—it’s a passion and not just a mere job. You can make change happen.", Samantha says.  

Read the full interview of Samantha’s here to learn more about her day-to-day life working as the Operation Team Lead with UNDP.  



Navigating Pathways towards a Sustainable Progress  

In the bustling realm of international development, individuals like Sukanya Thongthumrong stand as pillars of change, driving initiatives towards sustainable progress. With a rich background in Anthropology and Sociology coupled with over two decades of experience as a Programme Management Officer, Sukanya brings a blend of expertise and passion to her role at UNDP Thailand. 

"When you work in a field that resonates with your values, it's not just a job; it's a calling," shares Sukanya. The profound impact of UNDP's work on societal issues deeply resonated with her, inspiring her to become a part of their transformative journey. 

For Sukanya, her role at UNDP Thailand serves as a platform for personal and professional growth. Through navigating the intricacies of policy and regulation, she enhances her skill set, positioning herself for future opportunities within the UN system. 

Drawing from her experience as a gender focal point, Sukanya integrates a gender-equality lens into all facets of her work, championing inclusivity and empowerment at every turn. To explore more about Sukanya’s journey with UNDP Thailand, read the full interview here.  

If you would like to be a part of the catalyst of change and would like to join a life-changing mission with UNDP, visit for more information and follow us on our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, to stay tuned for the latest updates and insights from UNDP Thailand.