296th Meeting – Tuesday, November 13th 2007
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas
A talk by Carol Grodzins, Vice President, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, and Nikom Putta, Ashoka Fellow. Translator Ken Kampe
Present: Ken Kampe, Kim Stogner, Deb & Chris Brilker, Thomas Ohlson, Louis Gabaude, Jamie Uhrig, Perry Ueisenflla, Carl de Cleene, Winnie Tan, John Thorne, Heidi Berkmüller, Klaus Berkmüller, Adrian Pieper, Dianne & Mark Barber-Riley, Katie Stout, Jason Fourmet, Renee Vines, Keiko Samuels, Eric Skaar, Shane K. Beary, Oliver Hargreave, Ralph Kramer MBE, Natthirah Kramer, Reinhard Hohler, Nell van Amerorger, Christa Crawford, Bodil Blokker. An audience of 29.
Carol Grodzins, Vice
President, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
Carol leads Ashoka’s Global Fellowship program, realizing the collective potential of 1,800 Ashoka Fellows in over 60 countries. Her past experience has been in the areas of international development, higher education, health, and grassroots organizing. Following a B.A. in Russian language and literature, Carol served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a teacher in
Summary of the talk
Carol asked that we reproduce this extract from Bill Clinton’s new book, which she says provides an outline of the content of her talk.
“Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World” by Bill Clinton. Published by Alfred A. Knopf 2007
Giving to Good Ideas
The world is full of people with good ideas who are willing to give their all to implementing them but don’t have the money to get started. These ‘social entrepreneurs’ can change the lives of millions of people for the better if only they are helped to follow through on their ideas.
The movement to
identify and fund
social entrepreneurs in a systematic way, indeed the very term
entrepreneurs’, was the brainchild of one man. Like many of the
greatest givers, Bill Drayton is not well known outside the global NGO
community. But to those who believe in the power of private citizens to
society, Drayton is a hero. After graduating from
For years, Drayton
talking to friends and colleagues and traveling the world trying to
whether it was possible to identify new powerful ideas for systematic
and excellent social entrepreneurs capable of implementing them before
viability of the idea or the entrepreneur had been proven. He became
that it could be done and that he should spend his life doing it.
its operations in
One of the first
was Gloria de Souza, a
By 2006, Ashoka’s budget had grown from $50,000 to $30 million, its fellows from one to more than 1,800 in more than 60 countries on five continents. They have done amazing things in health care, education, economic development, and in advancing equality and social justice. They were all selected through a rigorous process that was based on the potential of ideas to have national impact, their entrepreneurial capacity to implement and sell them, their persistence in staying the course and making appropriate changes when their plans didn’t work out, and their willingness to keep at it for as long as it takes to succeed.
Ashoka tripled in
size from 1999
to 2002 and is still growing and expanding its mission. Besides
social entrepreneurs, Ashoka now develops groups and networks of them
reinforce each other and accelerate their impact, and it provides
infrastructure support, including access to financing for expansion,
the business and academic sectors, and opportunities for partnerships
others doing compatible work. At the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative,
committed to raise $50 million to expand its search for social
Western Europe, Africa, East Asia and the
Bill Drayton looks
more like a
college professor than a world-beater. He is modest, very thin, wears
old-fashioned big-framed glasses, talks softly, and is polite, almost
in manner. He is brilliant, with a wide
knowledge of topics both prominent and obscure. I ran into him not long
an event in
Ashoka is a citizen sector organization (CSO), not a non-profit: Defined by what we are, rather than by what we are not. Learn more at www.ashoka.org/citizensector.
Nikom Putta is an
Ashoka Fellow. The following is a paper describing of his activities in
418, Moo 7,
Phone: +66-5345-5785 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.pingwatershed.org
conservationists should be to save
main achievement has
been the creation of a successful conservation movement by involving
concerned parties - the local communities, the media, government
policy makers - in the management and protection of the natural
the Upper Mae Ping River Watershed in
The 2,100 sq km.
expanse of Chiang
Dao region in the Mae Ping river watershed is home for diverse flora
and various different indigenous populations (primarily Musso, Lisaw,
Igor, Hmong, Kachin and Plong). Most local residents are farmers, and
rely heavily on the forest, wild animals, and other land and water
The natural environment of the
Since much of the area’s resources fall under government regulations, locals are prohibited from drawing on resources near their townships. These regulations, however, do not effectively prevent the local people from intrusions, illegal poaching and logging and often lead to conflicts between the officials and the residents. Moreover, local communities tend to clash over areas that are not under government protection as they are held through a system of common ownership. Many different communities often own or control parts of the same watershed or forest area while no village has much individual incentive to protect the shared resources. As common owners compete to harvest resources the areas are depleted of all valued materials. Furthermore, locals often do not understand the relationship between the environments of the highlands, forested hills, watersheds, and rivers. Many people fail, for instance, to grasp the impact of their destructive activities on communities living downstream from them.
Despite the Constitutional recognition of the public’s right to participate in the management and preservation of natural resources, the senate has refused legal rights to local communities to manage the forests and the watershed areas. As a result, the indigenous communities that have belonged to the forest for years as well as the local Thai villages have been in a constant clash with the government over the natural resources. Economic development and modernization have been synonymous with deforestation and a loss of traditional knowledge. While the elders of the local communities (especially ethnic minorities) have been engaged in the community networks to resolve conflicts and develop better management systems, the youth are rarely involved in learning about their natural environments. This disengagement is exacerbated by the lack of environmental learning and activities in the educational system.
Adding to the damage
mismanagement and conflict in the area are ill-conceived mega-projects
tourist attractions. One primary example is the tourist cable car
2004, to the top of Doi Luang Chiang Dao, an ecologically fragile
considered sacred to local people. The cable car was proposed as a mega
attraction to invite foreign investment in the area without any
with local communities. The project threatened the culture and the
the mountain which is a limestone resource. Another tourist attraction
currently running is the
Nikom Putta has been
campaigning and working towards improved community participation in the
management and resuscitation of natural resources in
Nikom started by helping local communities in the Northern Ping Watershed see the damage their activities (such as tree-cutting, soil erosion, and water pollution) wreak on other communities downstream. He challenged community members to draw maps of the region showing their community resource base and identifying other dependents. Through this elementary mapping exercise, Nikom demonstrated the extent of competition for resources making evident the need for collaboration between villages to maintain the resources.
In each village, Nikom created a core group of individuals, most of them senior members of the communities, who kept him updated on the happenings and helped him plant and spread alternative sustainable practices and economic activities agreed upon by the group. Nikom promoted dialogue between community groups and individual villages that share the same resource base with the goal of developing consensual, locally developed plans for soil, water, forest, and biodiversity management.
After enabling local communities with the skills and the organization to manage the rich natural resources, Nikom worked to synthesize and spread these models through academic forums and community radio networks. At the next level, he connected these communities to policy makers through campaigns and petitions for a community forest law giving legal control over the management of forest land to local communities. In their campaign, Nikom and the community networks of the Upper Mae Ping have raised articles 46 and 56 of the new Thai Constitution that allow for traditional communities to participate in management, maintenance, preservation and exploitation of natural resources.
communities, Nikom launched the
This project addresses the problem at several different levels:
· Reforestation: First the area of the forest is clearly demarcated and the areas under the direst need are identified and reforested first. They are planted with saplings that conserve water and serve as food for wildlife.
· Maintenance: Village Committee members are trained and held responsible for the maintenance of the reforested areas. Community networks meet regularly to monitor illegal logging, encroachment or any other issues and devise action plans for each situation.
· Alternative livelihood creation:
o Construction of a small dam,
o Fish breeding
o Food plots in the forest.
Nikom’s most recent project, this initiative in Chiang Dao district aims to enable youth groups to actively participate in civil governance and environmental conservation in collaboration with other civic groups. Nikom has launched his pilot in the Upper Mae Ping Watershed where youth groups are well organized and can serve as a core group in implementing local natural resource management.
Nikom sees this project as an important next step in order to bridge the gap in education through a local curriculum in natural resource management and to ultimately create a more sustainable model for local governance and civic participation.
In conjunction with the conservation movement Nikom has been an important voice against ill-conceived government projects. Examples of some his most important campaigns are:
Cable Car to
The implementation of the Upper Mae Ping River Basin Management Project resulted in the establishment of community organization networks such as the Mae Ping River Community Forest Network comprising of members in 54 villages (covering most of Chiang Dao district), the Mae Ping River Resuscitation and Conservation Network with members from 28 villages living along the Mae Ping River bank, and the Water Resource Network with 72 villages who manage water resource in the form of small dam. The networks’ activities help prevent illegal logging, boost local unity, peacefully solve people’s fights for local resources, and allow the people and state agencies to communicate.
In January 2003, the
Nikom is most recognized for pioneering the revival of this heavily deforested and damaged area while creating mechanisms for alternative sources of livelihood and natural resource management in agreement with local lifestyles and the ecosystem.
Along with enabling communities to better manage their natural environment, he has also been a key voice in representing these communities in the wake of damaging development projects. Nikom was successful in making the communities’ concerns heard when they were not consulted in the case of the cable car project in Chiang Dao, which was ultimately cancelled.
At present, he
critique the Night Safari by exposing the treatment of animals in the
attraction and was successful in temporarily preventing the import of
Nikom Putta has
created a model
for natural conservation in
5. Background Information
Originally from a
village of the Upper Mae Ping Watershed, Nikom first got involved in
environmental work after a field trip to
Next, Nikom found a job with World Wildlife Fund International of Thailand, where he worked for over ten years. Shortly after starting his new job, he returned to the national park, this time through a Wildlife Fund of Thailand community forestry program for local people. This time, he had a chance to develop his own projects and learn a great deal about the relationship between deforestation and poverty, and the need to work with local people to address resource issues. In 1997 he returned to his home and launched the Upper Mae Ping River Management project.
Quote by Nikom Putta.
Forest Management Working Groups 2000 in
Assist. Prof. Rakpong1,
Prachan The Promotion of A Participatory Network and Power