RIDF urges 'giving back to society'

RIDF urges 'giving back to society'

MR Disnadda Diskul, secretary-general of the Royal Initiatives Discovery Foundation (RIDF), or known in Thai as "Pid Thong Lang Phra", has challenged large commercial conglomerates as well as academia to get involved in social development rather than just benefiting from the poor.

In his words, "giving back to society" took on a more humorous yet serious undertone of Robin Hood's "robbing the rich to give to the poor". He spoke at the foundation's press conference, marking its 6th anniversary in Bangkok yesterday.

During the past six years, the foundation has made headway in rural development, achieving what had previously been unsuccessful under government-run programmes. This, according to MR Disnadda, is due to the RIDF mission of embracing His Majesty the King's royal initiatives and his principles on the sufficiency economy.

The community-based project required at least 70-80% approval from local communities as well as participation in the entire process, he said. "This way, they feel responsible and a sense of ownership. This is a civil state in its purest form."

Plans for the next five years will focus on scalability and integration between various government units. In his recent policy announcement, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda emphasised the need for a bottom-up, participatory approach to development.

The challenge for RIDF, he said, would be to consolidate the efforts of all government units to work in an integrated manner, persuade the private sector to become more involved in "giving" rather than just "taking", and academia to get down from their "ivory towers".

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