International Internship Program 2015
The final presentations by the two teams were held on 29 July at Doi Tung while screening live at the MFLF head office in Bangkok and Nan project site. MFLF’s Deputy Secretary General Khunying Puangroi and Deputy Chief Executive Officer M.L. Dispanadda Diskul, along with advisers, staff and several invited guests were present to support and evaluate the interns’ works through constructive criticisms.
The interns were challenged to create value-added products for the abundance of dying bamboos in Doi Tung area and for the flavorsome mulberries grown at Nan province to create decent jobs for the communities while benefitting the environment.
Both of the groups were trained to work on field with the practitioners who have walked the walk, whom we refer to as local scholars, for first-hand experience to decrease the gap between the students and the villagers.
While exchanging ideas and participating in thorough discussions with the local scholars, not only did the interns developed potential products in line with community interest, but also created business plans highlighting the competitors, strengths and weaknesses, costs, benefits to the environment and the people, and packaging and delivery with the guidance of the internship advisers.
The High-Value Bamboo Charcoal Feasibility Study team branched out from just using charcoal as a burning source as used traditionally, to a variety of products in health and beauty line. Both bamboo charcoal air purifier and water purifier target to maximize the use of its richness in antioxidant.
The Mulberry Social Enterprise Business Plan team agreed to focus on mulberry concentrate juice and dried fruit as added-value products, after eliminating a few options and spotted business opportunities. The team’s widened vision is to export the products globally.
The international internship program is a part of the Living University, which aims to plant the seeds in the young minds and to encourage them to think for themselves while applying the Foundation’s people-centric approach and a two-way learning tactic for development projects at the same time. Moreover, in congruent to the core of the Foundation’s values, it laid an importance on the harmonious co-existence between man and nature.
MFLF inspires the participants of the Living University to practice the Princess Mother’s guiding principles in their future development projects. It cannot be emphasized enough, how the engagement of the communities’ needs and wants would result in a long-term achievement. Hence, before making the next move, answer the question: “What do the people get out of it?”