Pradit Prasartthong

Ashoka Fellow
Thailand,
Fellow Since 2002

Citation

This profile was prepared when Pradit Prasartthong was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Having observed that communities often have difficulty working across generation, culture, class and gender lines to devise common responses to their most critical problems, Pradit has developed a methodology to encourage community members to break down these barriers while actively involving them in the search for solutions. He uses games, role-playing, and participatory community theater to catch interest, hold it, and use it to educate people on the dangers of drugs and bring into the open taboo subjects like premarital sex and conflicts between the older generation and the young. In every case, the long-term results are dramatic and demonstrate that the approach sparks a lively, inclusive, respectful dialogue that profoundly changes the interaction among people who share a place, a culture, and a common set of challenges and opportunities. Makhampom has worked closely with communities throughout the country and now hosts international students for study tours.
In addition to working directly with communities, Pradit also provides important communications training to individuals and social development agencies that work with communities. Ranging from Red Cross staff to social entrepreneurs to educational outreach workers for the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, national and international government and citizen sector organizations are learning how to engage citizens in real ways, encouraging them to participate in programs as diverse as public health and information technology. Under the instruction and mentorship of Pradit and his colleagues, these people learn both to convey information and to plant it in ways that allow it to take root and have a permanent impact.
With his techniques well established and widely known, Pradit is now returning to the source by integrating his methods into educational institutions. Although he has had longstanding success working with university student leadership and drama clubs, theater departments themselves have thus far remained resistant. Taking advantage of the greater freedom created by national educational reform, Pradit is currently forming a network of university professors and professional theater groups to create a platform that will allow him to spread his methods through both the formal and informal curriculum.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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