Please provide a brief summary of the initiative including the problems/challenges it addressed and the solutions that the initiative introduced (300 words maximum)
Thailand started school milk program in 1992 to promote good health in children following the recommendation by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations that milk is a food that could be provided to children to prevent undernutrition. Classical directive management at early stages of the program proved to be unfruitful. The issue was further complicated with unsold fresh milk problem of local dairy farmers. After years of experiments and developments, a participatory management model was implemented. A multi-sector representation of stakeholders in Thai dairy industry food chain including government authorities, private companies and organizations, dairy farmers and entrepreneurs was formed and named “Milk Board”. The integrated committee serves as an umbrella policy making group for optimal and sustainable development of Thai dairy farming and industry. The Milk Board works through its eleven subcommittees that concentrate on each specific area. The participatory management model has been successful resulting in comprehensive policy development for Thai dairy industry and effective management of school milk program. The ultimate benefits have been achieved as follows: 1) good health for preschool and primary school children as observed by a significantly reduced in undernutrition situation, especially among under-fives; 2) better quality of life for local dairy farmers as they have a stable and secure source of income through selling quality fresh milk to the school milk program; 3) quality enhancement of dairy farming and industry as characterized by milk quality, farming conditions and standards, logistics, and packaging, and 4) better delivery of public services to general population as reported by government service satisfaction surveys.
a. What are the overall objectives of the initiative?
Please describe the overall objectives of the initiative (200 words maximum)
The participatory management model of Thailand school milk program had two main objectives: 1) to increase participation of stakeholders in decision making processes and 2) to maximize their collaborative contributions to effective implementation of the program.
b. How does the initiative fit within the selected category?
Please describe how the initiative is linked to the criteria of the category (200 words maximum)
The initiative introduced an innovative participatory management model. To ensure an optimal and sustainable management system of the school milk program, multi-stakeholder engagements have been practiced at both national and local levels. Representatives of a diverse group of stakeholders including government agencies, dairy farmers and industry, public and private schools, and local administrations have participated in relevant committee or subcommittee(s). and contributed their knowledge and skills that leading to the development of a new management model. Nationally, a central administrative committee named “Milk Board” has been appointed to make decision on issues involving dairy farming and industry in Thailand. Milk Board then works by appointing subcommittees with specific assignments. Inputs to decision from a diverse group of stakeholders provide a wider choice of options and a better chance of making a valid decision.
The initiative should improve people’s lives, notably by enhancing the contribution of public services to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the SDGs
a. Please explain how the initiative improves the delivery of public services (200 words maximum)
The participatory management model presented here was in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals. The model has illustrated a well-orchestrated collaboration among stakeholders to enhance the better delivery of public services to the needy or underprivileged, i.e. school children and local dairy farmers. The school milk program provides quality fresh milk to school children nationwide, especially those in rural areas, and sustainable development of local dairy farming and industry.
The initiative must impact positively a group or groups of the population (i.e. children, women, elderly, people with disability, etc) and address a significant issue of public service delivery within the context of a given country or region.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant issue related to the delivery of public services (200 words maximum)
Prior to the establishment of Milk Board, there were several important issues involving dairy farming and industry such as quality improvement, pricing system and milk powder importation. And then came a very complicated issue, Thailand school milk program. Stakeholders involving school milk program include central and local authorities, large companies and organizations, local dairy farmers and entrepreneurs, and public and private schools. In earlier time, Thailand School Milk Program experienced such problems as poor management and lack of transparency. But after years of development, it has become clear that inclusion of a diverse group of organizations and participants with enhanced legitimacy helps to succeed.
b. Please explain how the initiative has impacted positively a group or groups of the population within the context of your country or region (200 words maximum)
The success of Thailand school milk program has a positive impact on a diverse groups of Thai people. First, children: more than 7.5 million school children (K1-3 and Grades 1-6) are in good health through nutrients and health benefits provided by school milk. A significant reduction of stunting among school children has been observed, especially those under-fives. It has been widely acknowledged that healthy children will benefit more from education. Second, dairy farmers: their well-being has been strengthened by providing an outlet for their locally produced milk. They secure a regular and stable source of income by selling quality fresh milk to the program. Thailand school milk program plays an important role in the Thai dairy market since it takes in as much as 30% of the total liquid milk market (approx. 1,200 tons per day). Third, dairy farming and industry: local dairy farming has greatly developed both in capacity-building and quality improvement.
The initiative must present an innovative idea, a distinctively new approach, or a unique policy or approach implemented in order to realize the SDGs in the context of a given country or region.
a. Please explain in which way the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region (200 words maximum)
The innovation of the initiative is the participatory management model. All stakeholders in Thai dairy industry food chain are included during decision making processes and policy development. To ensure an optimal and sustainable development of Thai dairy farming and industry, the mechanism of “three shared characteristics” was deployed. First, they have shared interest in dairy industry. Second, they have shared desire to collaborate for the better dairy industry. Third, they have shared benefits in dairy market. Each entity engaged in the school milk program has taken their roles and responsibilities corresponding to their area of competency and relevancy to achieved the ultimate goal of promoting good health for children and better quality of life for dairy farmers.
b. Please describe if the innovation is original or if it is an adaptation from other contexts (If it is known)? (200 words maximum)
The participatory management model presented is an original innovation. Milk Board and its subcommittees have their roles on the entire dairy industry food chain--from farm to table.
c. What resources (i.e. financial, human , material or other resources, etc) were used to implement the initiative? (200 words maximum)
Currently, the Royal Thai Government allocated the annual budget Bt14,000 M for school milk program. The program delivers free fresh quality milk to about 7.5 Million children in all public and private school (K1-3 to Grade 6) for 260 days per calendar year.
The initiative should be adaptable to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions). There may already be evidence that it has inspired similar innovations in other public-sector institutions within a given country, region or at the global level.
a. Has the initiative been transferred to other contexts?
Having succeeded in school milk program under a specially structured committee named “Milk Board”, Thailand has now extended the practice of participatory governance to other commodity-oriented decision making processes. For example, “Beef Board”, “Egg Board” and “Pig Board”.
The initiative should be able to be sustained over a significant period of time.
a. Please describe whether and how the initiative is sustainable (covering the social, economic and environmental aspects) (300 words maximum)
Sustainability is the heart of our work. The presented participatory management model has shown to be sustainable. It integrates multi-sector organizations such as government authorities, private companies and organizations,and dairy farmers and entrepreneurs into win-win environment.
b. Please describe whether and how the initiative is sustainable in terms of durability in time (300 words maximum)
More than a decade ago, Thailand passed the legislation establishing Milk Board on January 31, 2008. The presented participatory management model still functions very well at current situation. Under the protocols and procedures developed by Milk Board and its subcommittees, quality improvement in dairy industry has been observed continuously.
The initiative should have gone through a formal evaluation, showing some evidence of impact on improving people’s lives.
a. Has the initiative been formally evaluated?
If yes, please describe how the initiative was evaluated? (200 words maximum)
Thailand school milk program has gone through three formal evaluations in 2012, 2014 and 2016 by means of document reviews, personal interviews and stakeholder surveys. The evaluation process involves all stakeholders including an overseeing government agency, dairy entrepreneurs, local authorities, schools and students.
b. Please describe the outcome of the evaluation of the impact of the initiative (200 words maximum)
The 2016 evaluation report concluded that overall milk quality management system has been in good standing. Student surveys showed that the students were satisfied with the provided school milk. Dairy entrepreneurs were satisfied with the current rights and eligibility system. But they requested no-delayed payments. Purchasing process transparency assessment of local authorities indicated the process was practical, but could be strengthened on problem of unmatched numbers between requested and provided school milk packages.
c. Please describe the indicators that were used (200 words maximum)
Thailand school milk program is subject to formal evaluation in the areas of milk quality management system, dairy entrepreneur rights and eligibility assessment, and purchasing process transparency.
The initiative must demonstrate that it has engaged various actors such as from other institutions, civil society, or the private sector, when possible.
a. The 2030 Development Agenda puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, coordination, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe what stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative. Please also highlight their roles and contributions (300 words maximum)
The participatory management model of Milk Board and its eleven subcommittees shares the same structure of stakeholders inclusive. Milk Board is responsible for overall decision making and policy on Thai dairy industry, while each subcommittee concentrates on one specific assigned area: subcommittee on strategic planning, subcommittee on fresh milk purchasing standard, subcommittee on milk management system, subcommittee on school milk program, subcommittee on milk production cost, subcommittee on milk pricing system, subcommittee on milk powder and dairy products importation, subcommittee on promotion of milk consumption, subcommittee on milk quality improvement, subcommittee on technical advisory and subcommittee on fine and punishment. Stakeholders, through their representatives in Milk Board and its subcommittees, actively participate in activities such as setting goals, determining action plans and making contributions to decisions. With a broader view of the situation and a wider choice of options, Milk Board and its subcommittees have a better chance to make a valid decision. Besides, all involved partners have been more committed to the decisions they have made.
a. Please describe the key lessons learned, and any view you have on how to further improve the initiative (200 words maximum)
In earlier years, Thailand School Milk Program experienced such problems as poor management and lack of transparency. But over the years of experiments and developments, it has become absolutely clear that inclusion of a diverse group of organizations and participants with enhanced legitimacy helps to succeed. And the fact that the presented participatory management model, Milk Board and its eleven subcommittees, handles the demands and interests of all stakeholders in an institutionalized settings, so positive-sum interactions are more likely achievable. Moreover, all involved partners are more committed to whatever decisions they have made.