The first step obstacles & Solutions:
The quality of equipment: we found that the equipment sent by donor organizations abroad was not suitable and needed to be fixed before distribution for the primary target group.
To solve this problem, before starting a Partnership with new donors, a screening was done to see the capacity of the donor to fix equipment in the donor country prior to shipping the container shipment to Thailand.
Another problem was funding of the container shipments. This funding is needed to guarantee a constant flow of equipment.When the partnerships with the donors abroad were established, another problem raised…
How will the Project get the container shipments duty free into Thailand? For this, the Project contacted the Department of Mental Health Ministry of Public Health to request for duty free import. Up to today, 41 container shipments, from 7-10 sponsors, were shipped into Thailand tax free.
Another obstacle was the transport of the equipment to the distribution venues in Thailand. Before, the local organizations, who were hosting the distributions, had to finance this in-country transport by themselves. A consequence was that organizations which were not financially strong, did not get the opportunity to request for a distribution. To solve this problem, the Project found a donor who is taking care for in-country transport to all distribution venues.
The next step obstacles & solutions:
At the beginning of the activities another problem appeared… How can the Project spread the news in the most efficient way that PWD could apply for mobility aid free of charge? This was done through the existing channels of hospital, public health centers and several media channels such as radio and TV. Within 6 months, this problem got solved as now applications for equipment are received on daily base.
The Project was confronted with a certain stigmatization towards PWD. To decrease this stigmatization, the Project constantly pointed out to the “abilities” and potentials of the PWD and tries to integrate PWD in Thai society e.g. by stimulating PWD (children) to go to mainstream education. In this way, young children with no disability will get in touch directly with CWD and find out that these children with disability are equal to people with no limitations. These children will take these experiences to their own children. In this way, a mentality change towards this disability stigmatization can be achieved.
As the project was growing, there was a urgent need to set up a transparent management system towards finances, volunteers, statistics, etc. which would show accountability to the high moral standards of the Project, e.g. a database system was set up linked with the equipment inventory system; Pictures were taken of PWD who receives mobility aid and was used as proof for the donors that the mobility aid has been distributed in a good way.
To keep this management system on the right track, there should be a monitoring and evaluation system. The lessons learned out of this monitoring and evaluation should be implemented again into the Project.