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Young Thais join “UNICEF NextGen” network committed to bringing positive change to children’s lives

UNICEF Thailand launched “UNICEF NextGen Thailand”, a new initiative bringing together networks of Thailand’s young generation who are passionate about making a sustainable impact to the lives of children in the country and across the world.

A UNICEF global initiative already implemented in a number of countries, UNICEF Next Generation (NextGen) is a group of young leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs and innovators in their 20s and 30s who commit their resources, resolve and enthusiasm towards supporting UNICEF’s life-saving and life-changing work for children.

In Thailand, the NextGen initiative is being launched with nine steering committee members or ‘champions’, who will mobilize their networks to support UNICEF in raising awareness about children’s issues in innovative ways. The members and their network will also carry out activities to promote the rights and well-being of children as well as raise funds for UNICEF’s programmes for children.

“The NextGen initiative comes at a time, when children and adolescents in Thailand face new challenges and we are all faced with the task to find new ways of tackling the issues that stand in the way of children reaching their fullest potential, especially the most vulnerable such as children and young people from migrant communities,” said Thomas Davin, UNICEF Representative for Thailand.

“Achieving results for children no longer depends on the government, NGOs, UNICEF or any organization alone. We must work more with groups of trendsetters, influencers and networks of young people like the UNICEF Next Gen, who share our passion for the cause, and who have the power to mobilize their voice and their network to speak out for disadvantaged children and help us find creative solutions so that we can truly achieve real change for them.” Davin added.

In Thailand, around 15 per cent of young people aged 15 – 24 years (about 1.3 million) are not in education, employment, or training, and two thirds of them are young women, according to 2017 labour statistics from the International Labour Organization. Without adequate investment in education and training, millions of young people will be unprepared and unskilled for the fast-changing environment – a serious threat to the country’s progress and stability.

At the UNICEF NextGen Thailand launch on Friday at Siri House in Bangkok attended by some 200 young leaders and influencers, Nophol Techaphangam, one of UNICEF NextGen Thailand Champions said the group plans to raise 7.5 million baht over the course of the next 12 months to support migrant adolescents’ skill development and vocational development opportunities so they become an active workforce in the labour market. Funds raised will also support UNICEF’s Youth Challenge Programme, which aims to promote children and young people’s participation in designing solutions to solve issues that affect their lives.

Elsewhere, the NextGen Programme has gained growing interest among the young generation. The programme first kicked off in the US, where the NextGen US members have mobilized their network and resources to support 17 UNICEF programmes to help save children’s lives across the world. The NexGen initiative has also expanded to the UK, France, Sweden, Italy, Vietnam and Thailand.

“I am very glad to be part of UNICEF NextGen Thailand, with members who share the same passion and vision for children’s future,” said Chananda Thavisin, one of UNICEF NextGen Thailand’s Champions. “As the world is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child this year, there are still so many issues facing children and depriving them from reaching their full potential. I am confident that NextGen’s passionate voice, commitment to realizing children’s rights, and our creativity will help contribute to the positive change for every child in Thailand and beyond.”

The nine UNICEF NextGen Champions are: Ton – Nophol Techaphangam, Nub – Chananda Thavisin, Pim – Natapree Pichaironarongsongkram, Pitta Na Patalung, Manow – Sornsin Maneewan, Pleng – Patapohn Sriboonrueng (Kavita Chindawath), Richard Raseak Rattanthanakul, Ada Chirapaisarnkul and Sasivimol Phetnamsin.

Davin added: “These nine UNICEF NextGen champions have been able to gather over 200 people who came to the launch today in support of the cause of children, with the aim to mobilize more champions, superheroes, and heroes to join the network of passionate young Thais who deeply care about improving the lives of children. UNICEF is very excited about what will come next, as this launch is only the first milestone in a long and collaborative journey, in which we hope to see many other young Thais joining hands in support of hundreds of thousands of children in the country and beyond.”