• Published Date: 10/05/2021
  • by: UNDP

Peace of Art: Cooking Therapy as an alternative method to create a safe space in the society


Covid-19 pandemic is returning, so are the stress and worries which follow such a situation.

Back when we first knew about the coronavirus, Ruslina “Rus” Muleng realized that it causes tremendous impacts to people. The lockdown restricted the movement and activities.

“First I was interested in art therapy and I imagined that it should be something like drawing or colouring when it comes to activities for stress relief,” explained Rus who aimed to tackle stress, not only from COVID-19 but also from general stress in life and the accumulated stress from the deep south situation, Rus’ hometown.

Entering Youth Co:Lab Workshop, Peace of Art has consulted with the expert who gave her a widening view on art that catches people’s interest. “There may not be that many people interested in art. Therefore, I get my idea revised and come up with alternatives like cooking, molding clay and other handcraft activities. These can also help to relieve stress.”

Among all listed activities, Rus found cooking the most fascinating and feasible option.

“Food is something accessible to everyone and all can do it,” During the first lockdown in 2020, she found that cooking has become many people’s activity. Additionally, among the economic recession with many businesses closed down, F&B sector is a few among the survivors. Moreover, some new restaurants have just emerged during the period.

“I’ve noticed teenagers’ behaviors, I’ve found that they like to check in, take photos and post them on Facebook. Therefore, I think making their own food will give them more value to cook their own than just buy and post.” 

Peace of Art comes up with a wide concept of alternative activities that would help improve wellbeing.


Getting Ready

Rus designed her first cooking workshop to have both cooking and therapist lessons. The dishes do not have to be best in terms of the taste but focusing on expressing self and creativity.

Peace of Art’s first workshop had made a clear point right from the beginning that it is a cooking therapy workshop.

“But for some reasons, most people thought that it was a professional cooking class,” Rus added that it may be because the cooking concept is not yet prevalent in Yala Province. The workshop provides knowledge 

“I’ve noticed that the workshop we’ve organized created a more safe space compared to a typical cooking class because we emphasize creativity and yourself.

The first workshop went quite well with eight participants. Rus had concluded and planned to improve the following workshop.

“I’ve found that not everyone has their stress way out by this method. People can alleviate stress in various ways such as travelling, exercising. Because not everyone likes to cook. But what I see very beneficial from organizing the workshop is that people need safe space where they can discover and express themselves.”

Rus added that many people do not normally observe stress. And do not perceive the stress they have straightforwardly. Thus, to create a safe and sound space is indeed important in such a situation.


From Stress Relief to Safe Space

Peace of Art’s second workshop no longer mentioned cooking therapy when launching the advertisement. But normally inviting people to enter the kitchen in a friendly tone. Advertised this way, more participants interested in the project. Rus aimed to create safe space as a core of this project. She let all participants introduce oneself and be called through their favorite dish.

“I intended to create an environment where we don’t need to know each other’s real name,” she explained the gimmick.

The first half of the workshop is about ice-breaking and sharing feelings.

“We had an activity called non-reflected mirror. The participants are paired and listen to each other without judging,” Rus added that the moderator provided topics to talk about such as things that one want to improve, issues that you want to encourage yourself. All the partner have to do was to listen. “Most of the time when we speak about something, we tend to be judged easily as the listener usually opines through their own lens and experience but we have not walked in the same shoes. Thus, this activity is more like to speak to yourself and to support your own.”

Apart from non-reflected mirror activity, food becomes a topic during the ice breaking. Participants asked to share their own style of the basic recipe like omelette.

As the workshop goes on, participants become more comfortable with this space. The next step comes cooking. Each was given a cake decoration set which included yogurt, cream and some fruits. The menu curated in Peace of Art Workshop does not require many ingredients or complicated recipes, but focusing on creativity and oneself.
“We want everyone to have time on their own so they can create their own recipe, add whatever they feel like on their food,” Rus explained that by giving time to oneself it may be able to reflect who they are.

“It can be seen if a person is delicate, she may add an ingredient before the others,” said Rus.

At the end of the workshop, Rus collected feedback. The overall was satisfying.

“The participants had fun. They got to talk and exchange. Most importantly, they’ve got a safe space to talk and relax.”

Build upon the project

If Peace of Art has another opportunity to develop the project, Rus said she will stick on the second workshop where the PR material does not focus on cooking therapy but to create a safe space for all. However, to have different people, gender-wise, to join the workshop is something she wanted to get through as all participants in the past workshops are female.

Additionally, in the long term, Rus is thinking about opening a cafe.

“To distinguish it from the others in the market, I may focus on cafes that make you relax. The DIY food set is on offer so that the customer can spend time with oneself. The set may include general and healthy food,” Rus added that she wanted to make everyone proud of themself and this could be a simple tool to make one value their own.

On top of the cafe idea, she considers organizing a monthly workshop that has specific activity on mindfulness. The special course for individuals is also in consideration.

If the cafe becomes real, she also thinks about reintroducing the art therapy idea by turning food to color and painting.

For Rus, she said has learned a lot from joining the Youth Co:Lab, especially with the business model canvas that was her first time to learn about it. Also with different tools provided, she can retrieve the insights from the participants so that her project gets more relevant.

  • Published Date:
  • by: UNDP

Bang Chalong Model: One stop service that believes design can improve community’s quality of life

Efficient space design contributes to a better quality of life, this is the key concept of Bang Chalong Farming Team members’ adherence.

The better quality of life in their perspective covers various dimensions such as economic, health, and society.

Bang Chalong Model is a gathering of three landscape architect students includings Patawee “Non” Luphonthae,  Kotchawan “Fern” Lawochai and Plutthapong “James” Petchsrisom also an architecture student Weth “Doe”Manojureehakul. With these educational backgrounds,  they have a particular interest and expertise in public space design and development.

Bang Chalong Farming aims to be a one stop service that helps to further develop the community’s activities to generate income right from planning the production stage to finding the appropriate markets. At the same time, another mission is to develop and restore public space in that community so all residents can have a better quality of life in their community.

Bang Chalong was the first community that inspired the team to gather. Therefore, the team is named after it. Previously, this community used the leftover space to grow vegetables as their hobby. The Bang Chalong Farming Team saw an opportunity to build upon a vegetable growing – develop the space along with promoting the quality of life all at once.


Make Fruitful Veggies

Bang Chalong Housing, Samut Prakan Province is a community with 96 buildings densely packed in a limited area. The building gaps and common spaces are mostly used as a parking lot.

“We noticed that people have no space to do other activities. So we made a deal with the residential juristic person that if we developed an area to grow vegetables and make money from selling them, we would use some of the money to develop the area to meet the needs of the people there,” Non briefly told their work process. There are two areas that the Bang Chalong Team intends to develop. First is about to improve the plantation to generate income and second is to develop public spaces for the residents to use.

Previously, a small group of residents have already grown vegetables in the leftover space by a small group of residents which is supported by 1 out of the 5 residential juristic persons. However,  most of the vegetables are grown for consumption, it is not enough for sale due to the limited cultivation space.

“We think that we can help to choose more suitable areas for cultivating because in the past they put an effort to plant in every possible area but it does mean all areas are suitable. Additionally, we provide cultivation knowledgeห such as which vegetables will suit well with the markets both inside and outside the community and which cultivation methods could mitigate pest risk that should be helpful, “said Non.

Doe explained the work process from the beginning that the team talked to the residents and juridical person about what the spaces they need. Then, co-plan about what the community will get and what will the team provide to the community once each step goes as planned.

“Having a consultation before implementing is like a validation process in which we leverage one another. It makes both the community and the team follow the plan better and clearly see what each partner does in each step.” 

When the Bang Chalong Farming team qualified to the final 5 teams of the Youth Co: Lab 2020 and received a fund to prototype the project. From the final goal that the team wanted to turn the roof structure into a rooftop vegetable gardening, the team opted to do a simpler structure with the stand instead due to limited time and budget.

“As the structure is lifted from the ground, the primary feedback is that the community members do not have a backache. The maintenance cost of the vegetable plot is also less because the risk of insect diseases is decreased and other factors can be better controlled.” Non said that people who grow vegetables in communities are around 50-60 years old, when they do not have to harvest at the ground level, it is clearly beneficial to their physical health. 

Fern added that planting on the structure can mitigate another problem as previously they cannot grow veggies all year round due to the waterlogged.

Additionally, changing the nature of the cultivated area, Bang Chalong Model also gives importance to the vegetable selection.

“We recommend growing green oak and red oak lettuce because these vegetables are a high value market and less competitive. They can also be sold in the community and other markets in the future.” Fern explains that the team members have expertise in selecting species and knowledge on cultivation. In addition, vegetables that are grown using an organic growing process or use the least non-natural chemicals as well.

“When a community grows vegetables like this, they don’t have to rely on chemicals. They  don’t have to be indirect slaves of capitalists. They also made fertilizer by themself. These also make good community stories that are valuable for marketing,” Non added


From Veggies to Better Community

Bang Chalong Farming Team believes that vegetables can help the locals to gather more easily.

“They don’t have much interaction before but when growing vegetables becomes the community’s activity, they water the veggies together and take turns to take care of them.”James shared the tangible results that the team started to see.

Though at this stage the amount of vegetables is currently not enough for distribution, the outcome has been good. The vegetables were fruitful. Additionally, the members who take part in this project manage well to take care of the plants. The Bang Chalong Farming Team thinks once they can provide 20 structures for plantation, the community can start to sell the vegetable. However, the team is still in need of budget and time.

“If we can continue running this, one day we will earn enough to improve public spaces for all community members and that will be very impactful. Children will have a playground. Adults will have spaces to sit. There will not be just parking lots anywhere. With more green space, it would be awesome,”James talked about the public space development plan which is the team’s another objective that they would like to provide to the community.
James said nowadays it is common for children in the community to play badminton in the parking lots where they have to watch out for cars. Some children climb on the sewer while some run up and down the stairs or play between the building gaps where large bins are placed. These are considered not safe for children.

“Unfriendly public spaces are the result of vision and policy that the policy makers don’t really give an importance to, though it can create many activities for people.” Non explained, adding that public spaces should be accessible for everyone.

In terms of space development, teams are aware of future challenges that could happen. For example, the local may question and raised concerned about their parking lots get replaced, but with the working process that involves community and the residential juristic person, along with the professional aptitude, the team believes that they can allocate the space to maximize the benefits of public spaces while maintaining the existed function at its best.


  • Published Date: 06/05/2021
  • by: UNDP

“Investment for Global Resources” the Sustainable Blueprint for Community-Based Entrepreneurship 

Nowadays, corporates don’t only expect the break-even points or the profit, but also the point that we called “Impact Investing and Innovative Finance”, the new economic blueprint that would widen the perspective of corporates and community-based entrepreneurship aiming for sustainable community change. Part of Impact Investing to begin with is  “Biodiversity Finance”

What is Biodiversity Finance?

When biodiversity has been wasted and used for economic advantages without any filters,

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) collaborates with Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDB) and Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) to start a new programme “The Biodiversity Finance Initiative’ (BIOFIN).” The main objective is to preserve the biodiversity effectively and sustainably through the following process.

  1. Evaluate the budget used for biodiversity study which includes the developments, the restorations, the researches, and the further plans from the government sector, the private sector and the civil society
  2. Evaluate the overall budget during the process.
  3. Evaluate the budget required between the 1st and 2nd process and organise innovative finance to cover the cost.

One of the most successful case studies about businesses that focus on the global resources is

“the Patagonia Case”, the sport outfit brand owned by Yvon Chouinard that hold a campaign called “1% for the planet.” The campaign gives away 1% of the sales to over 100 environmental and non-profit organisations all over the world. The corporate has a strong standpoint in making sustainable business to help protect the global resources by creating an advertisement that states “Don’t Buy This Jacket” which fully means don’t buy this jacket unless you need it to decrease clothing garbage in the future.

Moreover, the company uses 100% organic cotton fabric and hold on to the fair trade policy. Many of their factories utilise renewable energy like solar and wind. Their buildings were built of recycled materials and passed the green building standard by “LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)” Besides, Patagonia arranges activities for everyone from senior executives to junior officers to contribute to environment like river restoration, anti-oil drilling programme. The crew hope that they can be part of the jigsaw to maintain world’s ecology.

Biodiversity Finance is just one example of Impact Investing and Innovative Finance. There are still many ways we can invest on impact, for example we can invest on people, on society or even on wild animals. Therefore we can sustainably drive economy forward along with maintaining world’s ecology for the better future.

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  • Published Date:
  • by: UNDP

SDGs Impact: Why it Matters for Businesses?

Written by Aphinya Siranart, Head of Exploration, UNDP Thailand

 ‘Business as usual’ is no longer acceptable, and certainly not conducive to the creation of a sustainable future.

The business context has changed significantly in the last decade and is set to change further in the coming years as stakeholders bring their growing influence to bear. Consumers, employees, and other stakeholders, especially millennials, are becoming even more environmentally and socially conscious. Not only are they increasingly holding companies to account for their performance on various socioeconomic issues, but they are also voicing their expectations for companies to contribute to solve the most complex challenges of our time in view of supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The markets of tomorrow are defined by the SDGs, because they are focused on the challenges that, together with the business world, we can turn into solutions, and therefore markets for technology, for investment, for new business models.”

– Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Program (2018)

The differing needs and values of all stakeholders demand management to adopt a wider perspective of growth, which goes beyond increased output and short-term financial returns. Recognizing that they will not succeed in failed societies, companies are balancing economic gains with social and environmental returns while also striving for an inclusive, sustainable, and long-term growth that benefits everyone – consumers, employees, supplies, shareholders, and communities alike.

By doing so, companies are not really sacrificing performance. In fact, they can do well while doing good. Many studies have found positive correlations between superior financial performance and commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.[1] Researchers at Harvard Business School found that companies with processes in place since the early 1990s to measure, manage, and communicate performance on ESG issues outperformed a carefully matched control group over the next 18 years.[2] A 2017 study by Nordea Equity Research reported that from 2012 to 2015, companies with the highest ESG ratings outperformed the lowest-rated firms by as much as 40%.[3]

“To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential

– Larry Fink, CEO, Blackrock (2018)

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of the private sector in supporting the achievement of sustainable human development is even more imperative today than ever before. It presents a unique opportunity for businesses to step up and turn this crisis into an impetus to achieve the SDGs. As a main source of employment and investment, the business sector plays a crucial role in efforts to protect their employees, contribute to a clean environment, support the vulnerable people, and facilitate business continuity for an inclusive, green and sustainable recovery

With these changing business environments, profits alone are no longer the measure of success and businesses must increasingly engage in sustainability reporting and impact measurement and management to improve performance, account for impact and publicly communicate sustainability data. While sustainability reporting and impact measurement both drive companies to improve performance and be more transparent, they have arisen in distinct contexts and have differences in their approach and focus.

A sustainability report is “a report published by a company or organization about the economic, environmental and social impacts caused by its everyday activities. It presents the organization’s values and governance model, and demonstrates the link between its strategy and its commitment to a sustainable global economy.” (Global Reporting Initiative: GRI) Sustainability reporting enables organizations to identify their impact on the economy, environment, and society and disclose them in accordance with a globally accepted standard.

From ESG to SDGs : Integrating SDGs Impact Measurement and Management Framework in Business and Investment Strategies

It is encouraging to see many Thai business having sustainability strategies, policies and codes of conduct in place with good ESG disclosure practices. While ESG guidelines provide a good starting point for sustainable business, it is not enough to help unlock the enormous potential of the private sector as a driver of positive social impact. The taxonomy is weak and the criteria for sustainability lens are not ambitious enough. ESG frameworks have focused mainly on policies and processes and provided basic reporting whether qualitatively or through a selection of ESG related KPIs. It gives minimal directions, especially for investors, to measure impact as well as track and compare progress between different companies. McKinsey’s survey revealed that investors believe that “they cannot readily use companies’ sustainability disclosures to inform investment decisions and advice accurately.”[4]

On the other hand, being an impactful sustainable business means fully integrating sustainability into the business strategy, operations, stakeholder engagement and supply chain management and hence the need for companies to properly conducting impact measurement and management (IMM). IMM allows companies to demonstrate and communicate impact and to make sure they are on mission rather than just for compliance or transparency.

So what is Impact Measurement and Management (IMM)?

According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), “Impact Measurement and Management includes identifying and considering the positive and negative effects one’s business actions have on people and the planet, and then figuring out ways to mitigate the negative and maximize the positive in alignment with one’s goals”.

One of the defining challenges for impact practitioners has been the question of what, exactly, “impact” means and how best to deliver it. Without clear answers, it creates a source of inefficiency and misalignment between different players from beneficiaries to enterprises to financial intermediaries and to the owners of capital.

SDGs as a reference framework for Measuring and Managing impact

Back in 2015, the United Nations’ adoption of SDGs as a global vision for sustainable development was an absolute game changer in this field. Not only that the SDGs provide globally agreed definitions and disciplines for setting impact goals and tracking progress against them, but they also give businesses the targets they need to achieve concrete, positive impacts that truly leave no one behind. Consequently, we have seen more and more businesses start thinking of their impact in terms of contributions towards achieving the SDGs.

 “Business is a vital partner in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Companies can contribute through their core activities, and we ask companies everywhere to assess their impact, set ambitious goals and communicate transparently about the results.”

– Ban Ki-moon, Former United Nations Secretary-General (2015)

Impact in the context of SDGs is increasingly becoming an integral component in business decision making along with revenue and risk considerations. Just as financial reporting is essential for companies to inform their strategies, measuring and managing the SDG impact of a company is becoming relevant as stakeholders, other than shareholders, pursue higher standards of responsibility and accountability from businesses.

Beyond the need to heed society’s call for increased transparency and accountability, blending purpose with profit and integrating SDG impact measurement and management framework into business operations and strategies can provide companies with several benefits as follows:

  • Unlocking new business opportunities: The framework can help businesses identify new market segments, spot unmet customer needs, and as a result, develop and refine product and services offerings that are better tailored to customers’ needs. For example, by adopting such an IMM approach with the support from UNDP Business Call to Action, Thailand based social enterprise, Hilltribe Organics – a subsidiary of major organic food producer Urmatt Ltd., was able to identify a demand for organic egg.[5] Hilltribe has become the number one organic egg brand in Thailand and is now sold in major supermarkets as well as high-end restaurants and hotels. The enterprise is on the path to scaling up its inclusive business model by integrating more indigenous communities across Thailand into its agricultural value chain, thereby opening up new sources of revenue for its business as well as creating additional off-farm employment in food production.
  • Marketing and reputational building: Impact data allow businesses to better understand their customers, create more effective marketing campaigns, and as a result, increase customer engagement. Plan B Media, Thailand’s biggest outdoor media company, is committed to sustainable marketing strategies and creating business value by meeting stakeholders’ expectations. Acknowledging that digital media need to go beyond providing advertising and include content for public benefits, Plan B is partnering with UNDP to launch a series of campaigns that further the SDGs in Thailand such as ending violence against women and combating single use plastics.[6]
  • Strategic alignment and risk mitigation: The practice can ensure that companies’ activities are aligned with their mission and strategy as well as help identify risks that relate to both impact and financial concerns early on, thereby offering businesses an opportunity to correct action and prevent losses.
Getting Started: Using Business Call to Action’s Impact Lab to measure and manage your impact

IMM can be challenging if companies have never done it before and have no clue where to start. However, by realizing various benefits that IMM may bring, UNDP, through its Business Call to Action (BctA) initiative, has developed an online Impact Lab to support companies to effectively measure and manage their impact on the SDGs.[7] The Lab goes through the full impact management process over four self-paced modules that guide companies from assessing impact measurement readiness; planning for measuring impact and designing an impact framework; monitoring impact data; to analysing and reporting impact data. Through a step by step process, companies can define their Impact Value Chain linking business operations to the SDGs, designing their own SDG impact framework with a plan for collecting data that will allow them to measure, manage and communicate their impact.

About UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations’ global development network. UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. Through assisting countries to align private sector activities and investments with the 2030 Agenda, UNDP has a long history of working successfully with companies from various sectors including energy, food and agriculture, consumer products, finance and information technology, in support of sustainable development.

In Thailand, our collaboration with the private sector takes various forms:

  • Facilitate discussions between public and private sector and the civil society on a specific development theme or industry sector;
  • Find solutions for development challenges through core business activities and initiatives that include low-income groups into value chains as producers, suppliers, employees and consumers;
  • Mobilize private sector financial and in-kind resources for sustainable development solutions;
  • Leverage innovative financing and partnerships solutions to mobilize private capital for the implementation of the SDGs;
  • Provide businesses and investors with the insights and tools they need to measure, manage, and authenticate their contributions toward achieving the SDGs.

For more information, please contact Ms. Aphinya Siranart, Head of Exploration at aphinya.siranart@undp.org

[1] Mozaffar Khan, George Serafeim, Aaron Yoon, Corporate Sustainability: First Evidence on Materiality. The Accounting Review (2016) 91 (6): 1697–1724.

[2] Eccles, Robert G. and Ioannou, Ioannis and Serafeim, George, The Impact of Corporate Sustainability on Organizational Processes and Performance (December 23, 2014). Management Science, Volume 60, Issue 11, pp. 2835-2857, February 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1964011 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1964011


[4] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/more-than-values-the-value-based-sustainability-reporting-that-investors-want

[5] https://www.businesscalltoaction.org/member/urmatt-ltd-hilltribe-organics

[6] https://www.th.undp.org/content/thailand/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2019/undp-unveils-nationwide-campaign-to-combat-single-use-plastics–.html

[7] https://www.businesscalltoaction.org/


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There are many innovation platforms all over the world. What makes Thailand Social Innovation Platform unique is that we have created a Thai platform fully dedicated to the SDGs, where social innovators in Thailand can access a unique eco system of entrepreneurs, corporations, start-ups, universities, foundations, non-profits, investors, etc. This platform thus seeks to strengthen the social innovation ecosystem in Thailand in order to better be able to achieve the SDGs. Even though a lot of great work within the field of social innovation in Thailand is already happening, the area lacks a central organizing entity that can successfully engage and unify the disparate social innovation initiatives taking place in the country.

This innovation platform guides you through innovative projects in Thailand, which address the SDGs. It furthermore presents how these projects are addressing the SDGs.

Aside from mapping cutting-edge innovation in Thailand, this platform aims to help businesses, entrepreneurs, governments, students, universities, investors and others to connect with new partners, projects and markets to foster more partnerships for the SDGs and a greener and fairer world by 2030.

The ultimate goal of the platform is to create a space for people and businesses in Thailand with an interest in social innovation to visit on a regular basis whether they are looking for inspiration, new partnerships, ideas for school projects, or something else.

We are constantly on the lookout for more outstanding social innovation projects in Thailand. Please help us out and submit your own or your favorite solutions here

Read more

  • What are The Sustainable Development Goals?
  • UNDP and TSIP’s Principles Of Innovation
  • What are The Sustainable Development Goals?


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