Ask random Thai students about their dream jobs. Probably not even one out of 10 would think about working for civil society organizations (CSOs) or the non-profit sector. But that could change. Khon Kaen University in northeast Thailand is now offering students new career perspectives by launching the country’s first Center for Civil Society and Non-Profit Management.
Currently, there are over 70,000 civil society and non-profit organizations in Thailand, and thousands more across Southeast Asia. Opportunities for CSOs in new areas of work, especially in strengthening democracy and local governance, are increasing. Challenges remain for them to efficiently manage their organizations to respond to the needs of society and to attract more students to pursue careers in the sector.
The newly established Center, supported by USAID, offers a well-designed curriculum and certificate and degree programs that focus on modern techniques of non-profit management, including the use of information technology for decision-making and advocacy, and non-profit finance and fundraising. Students discuss how successful leaders can mobilize their constituents and policy makers to create lasting social change.
In addition, the Center will provide practical assistance to CSOs, through a “CSO Management Clinic”—a one-stop shop where CSOs can network, access information on funding opportunities and the work of other CSOs, obtain legal advice and seek advice from experts across a range of themes.
Prior to the launch of the Center in October 2013, USAID helped organize visits by university executives to well-established non-profit management programs in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
“The mission of our Center is to build the skills of future and current professionals of non-profit organizations in Thailand and neighboring countries, equipping them to effectively mobilize resources to improve local governance and encourage social justice for all,” said Buapun Promphakping, director of the Center. “We now have a better understanding of what it will take for us to be successful in our own work.”
“I look forward to seeing [the Center] happen and becoming one of its first students,” said Pateemoh Poh-itaeda-oh, president of the Association of Women for Peace.
Last updated: December 18, 2014