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The Leading the Change project (SIDA)
© David Bebber / WWF-UK

A civil society organisation, an important part of WWF's work is empowering local communities and helping to build stronger constituencies for sustainable development, economic equity, and natural resource stewardship.


During the last several decades of rapid economic development, infrastructure building, population growth, etc.  Thailand’s natural resources have been degraded. Local people and community normally are dependent on natural resources for their wellbeing particularly where poverty levels are high.  WWF recognizes the importance of poverty-related aspects to conservation and need to promote sustainable development in balancing between nature conservation and human well-being. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of local communities to exercise their rights, influencing decisions and equitably receiving benefits from natural resources and contributing to the sustainable management of key ecosystems and habitats.



The Leading the Change programme is a global programme funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).   Overall, the programme will aim at improving forest and wildlife conservation and management, reducing Human Wildlife Conflict, and enhancing freshwater and wetland conservation and management by strengthening local CSOs and community engagement in forest and wetland management by strengthening CSO capacity to engage on specific issues.


The project in Thailand is implemented in five areas aims to 1) Promote sustainable water management in Mea Wong district, Nakornsawan; 2) Promote Sri Sawat area, Kanchanaburi as an ecological corridor for wildlife habitat and engage with local people in conservation; 3) Support  indigenous people in Lai Wo sub-district, Kanchanaburi to revive their traditional wisdom and knowledge on sustainable agriculture and living pattern; 4) Promote eco-tourism run by local communities in Kuiburi national park to reduce human and elephant conflict and increase their engagement in conservation, and 5) Build capacity for communities for sustainable water and wetlands management at Nong Han lake, Sakonnakorn that provides tangible benefits to the ecosystem and the resources.


The project implementation strategy will follow a three pronged approaches:

1) Build capacity of CSO stakeholders to strengthen their engagement in conservation;

2) Demonstrate best practices in equitable benefit sharing of natural resources; and

3) Advocate at policy level for sustainable natural resource management to achieve forest and wildlife conservation and the sustainable management of wetlands.


Capacity building will be conducted at both the individual and community/network level to strengthen stakeholder engagement in conservation.  WWF Thailand also aims at demonstrating best practices in equitable benefit sharing of integrated traditional NRM. To this end, the programme will support the local community to develop their own sustainable NRM plan in cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including local government authorities, academia, other NGOs and the business sector. Conducting policy advocacy for sustainable NRM is another key component of WWF Thailand’s programme to achieve forest and wildlife conservation and the sustainable management of wetlands. This strategy will support grant receivers, CSOs and CBOs in successfully advocating and influencing decision makers.


The Leading the Change in Thailand works with local partners namely; Seub Nakasathien Foundation, a key leader in conservation and community-based forest management in Forest Western Complex (WEFCOM), Satthapat Institution, Kanchanaburi Rajabhat University , a key coordination agency in Kanchanaburi province who are well recognized and has been worked with local communities for more than twenty years, Basin Development Sustainability Promote Association (BDSPA) a key and experiences organization on wetland conservation in the Northeast of Thailand, and the Eco-tourism and elephant conservation club in Kuiburi, community-based organization founded by a group of effected people from human and elephant conflict in Kuiburi.