Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
The Jungle Box Project
Explain your project in details:
We are 4 siblings who have explored the peaks of Thailand and have lent others a helping hand ever since we were toddlers. From trekking adventures at Kao-Luang to donating blankets to villagers in Mae-Ai, we have discovered the nooks and crannies of life in the mountains and jungles. From our journeys, however, we noticed a problem of access to healthcare: villagers from Thai hill-tribes who happen to fall ill have to walk 4 km to the nearest health station, a journey that is made nearly impossible in the rainy seasons. As a result of these difficulties, villagers are often forced to sleep through their pain, and endure their illnesses. With that in mind, therefore, we have translated our hobby of trekking into The Jungle Box Project, an organisation that provides medicine boxes and water filtration systems to improve the medical system put in place in these remote areas and also to teach villagers more about health and wellbeing. Faced with the problem of designing a cabinet that would be portable, lightweight, and easy-to-use, we brainstormed ideas using Photoshop. We made various alterations before settling on our final products: a main cloth-box with plastic pouches to store medicine, a collapsible box to hold heavy equipment, a smaller string bag to hold kids medicine, and sets of manuals. Our main cloth bag was designed to fit all the criterion mentioned above: it is portable as it is merely 180 cm long and 130 cm wide (when open), it is easy to use as we have labelled and color-coded each plastic pouch to correspond to usage instructions in our manuals, and it is lightweight as we have chosen to use cloth rather than other materials. Our manuals consist of 5 manuals altogether: the Medicine, Equipment Methods, First Aid, Natural Disaster Procedures, and Wellbeing Manuals.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Altogether, throughout the first and a half years that we have started fundraising, we have garnered a total of 1.2 million baht, a sum that accumulates to $39,474. This has mainly been sourced from fundraising amongst our own communities and online crowdfunding. Ultimately, our goal is to impact 100 villages in Thailand, of which we have so far helped 44. The areas that we have mainly helped include Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Tak, as well as villages along the Thailand-Myanmar border. This translates into 44 villages impacted altogether, and 28,292 villagers impacted. We have calculated this through meetings with the village leaders for information on demographics and population size. As a whole, donating one Jungle Box medicine set to each village in each district has vastly helped to improve the medical systems already put in place. Following several interviews with doctors assigned to groups of villages in certain districts and sub-districts, we found that, by giving them a nearby and convenient method of accessing medicine, we were able to reduce the difficulties involved in going to see the doctors or travelling to health stations. Prior to our donations, villagers would have to travel 4km to the nearest health station, a journey made even worse by torrential rain. With our Jungle Boxes, the only journey required involves merely the doctors' journey to each village, as the doctors can be ensured that each village has sufficient medical supplies, equipment, as well as basic medication. Not having to carry whole bags of medicine whilst travelling makes journeys for the doctors much safer as well as more convenient.
Sustainability and future plans
So far, we have relied on crowdfunding and fundraising from our own communities to fund our projects, which has proven to be a rather effective form of fundraising. Despite this, we have goals to make this process more transparent, and at the same time more official than our current methods. To do this, we are currently in the process establishing The Jungle Box Project as an official NGO. So far, we have relied on the personal aspect of philanthropy to advertise our Jungle Boxes and to encourage donors to donate not only sums of money, but funding for one whole box (15,000 baht or approximately $480). We have done this by offering the choice of pinning the donors name onto the box, and giving them feedback about their impact following the donation (images, updates on villagers). To make this more official, we are planning to partner with various organisations that we are in the process of proposing our business model to. In this attempt, we will be pitching our business plan to their Board of Directors in order to ask for grants, a process that is currently underway. Lastly, to expand our impact, we are planning to take our journeys beyond Thailand, and into other countries. We are most likely starting this by donating our Boxes to camps in Myanmar, and we have also set our sights on Nepal (Langtang area) with the help of some of our connections.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
My name is Doaia Lokitiyakul. I am currently 16, and a junior at Shrewsbury International School in Bangkok, Thailand. Ever since I was young, I grew up playing with not only Barbie-dolls, but also trekking-poles, running in not only parks, but also the jungles of Thailand. I have always been passionate about trekking and charity, and The Jungle Box Project is testament to a culmination of both of these passions. I discovered a way of translating my passions into an impact that far exceeded what I believed I was capable of, and my root motivation was the experiences I had collected as a teenager in my trekking trips. On these trips, I formed various friendships with children in hill-tribes and villages in the jungles, and had come to appreciate the beauty of the traditional art and cultures of each village or tribe. This has propelled me to find a way of helping them, and my drawing board plans led me to start at the root of survival: medicine. Life in the jungles for these villagers is pleasantly serene. Their food, music, and clothing are lush with authenticity. Children are taught not only the basic lessons of Maths, Thai, and English, but also about their ancestry and history. Despite all of this, one main fault lies at the heart of their community - medicine. The medical system put in place in these villages is extremely poor, a result that has led to the prevalence of various illnesses in the villages. In an attempt to preserve this beauty I have recognized in their way of life, I founded The Jungle Box Project. I am proud to say that the project has impacted 44 villages, and the lives of over 28,000 villagers, and its success has propelled me to further continue my service.