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The climate is changing, we have to adapt!

For ethnic populations living in the mountain areas of north Thailand, climate change has direct consequences on their daily life. These communities who are traditionally close to nature, have to face drought, flood, cold spells, changes of the forest … Plan International organises training with community leaders to provoke in-depth and long-term changes in the communities habits to face climate change.

check dam

“When I was a child, we used to swim in big rivers, the forest was larger, now we don’t have enough water at home, there are less birds, less animals…” Sakenal, 18 years old.

Because the climate change represents a real risk for their living and their food security, Plan International aims to enhance understanding of the causes, the impacts and to increase the adaptation of the vulnerable communities in Southeast Asia’s countries.

Hands-on experience

In Thailand, the Aka ethnic population in Chiang Rai province participate in training on how to create herbal gardens, to conserve the forest, to manage waste….

And in this mountain area, one main activity is to learn how to build check dams in order to:

  • stock water for agricultural purposes,
  • increase wetland area as a natural firebreak and a source of biological diversity.

During each training, 50 participants are sensibilised on the role of the check dams, they learn where to install them, how to create them with stones and cement, how to maintain them… The training provokes real changes in the communities’ habits.

Communities and youth leaders’ involvement

Plan International takes a participatory approach: villagers are the main actors on climate change adaptation. The training is led by the community leaders and Youth’s intervention is central.

I was a Youth leader working with Plan International before, and now I am a Community leader so I invited the NGO to organize a check dam training. I want to involve my community and above all the Youth. It is my time to share my knowledge with them, it is a good way to develop themselves: they are the future of our community.” Patala Pon Mayer, Community leader.

 “It is not easy to change the communities habits, only few people are listening to Youth, but I will continue to speak… because for me it is an important subject. I want to protect the big trees in the forest and to plant new trees.” Sakenal, 18 years old.