PDA has been helping rural villages improve
their health and increase their wealth for more than 25 years by expanding
access to clean water through water collection and distribution systems.
PDA’s Water Resources Development (WRD) project works with communities
to help them establish, manage, and maintain their own water systems.
PDA’s programs have put in place more water
storage tanks than all of the Thai government’s agencies combined. Each
village is offered a loan which it is usually able to pay back within
3 years. The repaid loan goes into a revolving fund, which supports villager
training in building and operating water systems and can go towards establishing
new water system development projects in other villages. The WRD project
links water resource development with income generation. Water is used
for growing cash crops, vegetables, and raising fish and shrimp, among
other income generating activities. Another initiative called the Sky
Irrigation project helps villages develop vegetable banks and water
systems that allow year-round production of cash crops. The food produced
is not only sold to provide income for villagers, but is also used to
feed their families; thus, this affordable, multipurpose water resource
management system puts into place a permanent village-level institution
which will serve, in an integrated approach, the myriad health needs of
the community while simultaneously providing alternative sources of income
for micro-entrepreneurs within the community.
Since 1980, PDA’s urban health programs have
grown to reach schools, low-income communities and factories with health
check-ups, education and awareness campaigns in nutrition, basic health
and hygiene, environmental sanitation, and other health issues. In addition,
a peer counseling and short-term crisis and service center address the
needs and concerns of the elderly. To support and enhance this effort,
PDA produces a wide variety of information and outreach materials tailored
to different sectors of society. To further extend outreach efforts, PDA
maintains a library and resource center that organizes and disseminates
AIDS information and outreach materials on an international basis.
Youth, with guidance from PDA, are leading the
way in organizing health education and training to different village groups,
as well as providing “life-skills” training to their peers. A mobile health
unit travels to villages and schools, providing preventative health information,
general health examinations, and x-rays.