Phanthip Buttad

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1993
Pranakorn-Thonburi Community Cooperative


This profile was prepared when Phanthip Buttad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Phantip Buttad has become a leading advocate for Thailand's urban and rural poor by using community groups, the media and legislative measures to help solve housing problems with lasting solutions. She has also become an effective writer, fundraiser, lobbyist and public speaker on behalf of Bangkok's urban poor, advocating that slum dwellers be allowed to take part in problem-solving negotiations so that proposed solutions will be appropriate to their particular life styles and needs. Phantip believes their involvement can also prevent the occurrence of some future problems such as relocation of communities to areas that are remote from employment opportunities.

Despite her lack of traditional schooling, Phantip has developed and skillfully applied the organizational and negotiating skills that enable her community organization to gain the support of many influential people who have helped spread information about the plight of slum dwellers through rock concerts and other methods. When the plight of the slum dwellers finally attracted the attention of legislators, Phantip was instrumental in persuading politicians to draft a law requiring that part of the price paid for land on which poor communities dwell will be set aside to purchase a piece of land for those who are evicted. This piece of legislature, which is now out of committee and expected to become law, evolved from the premise that slum dwellers who have land rights will be more likely to develop their communities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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