• Published Date: 04/01/2022
  • by: UNDP

“Origi,” a Platform That Will Revitalize Local Products and Create Sustainable Growth for All


Youth Co:Lab 2021 was the first event that UNDP in Thailand hosted 100% online, as the transmission of COVID-19 at the time of the event remained severely high, making in-person gatherings too perilous to take place. Although a number of young participants were faced with the issue of limited access to the internet, we found out that online training did allow all the teams to focus on their projects without any travel burden.  Instead of spending time commuting from place to place, they discussed their project or visited their target groups for more information. It is impossible to deny that technology has now emerged as the 5th basic need of humans, determining the trajectory of everyone’s life. Technology can also reduce societal inequality, those with access to the internet can also access opportunities to learn, to generate income, or to publicly express one’s true, authentic self. 


‘Origi,’ one of the top 5 finalists of Youth Co:Lab 2021, began after 3 like-minded individuals, who met each other through Design Thinking teaching sessions, decided to get together. ‘Sang-sang’, one of Origi’s team members, told us that she also applied for Youth Co:Lab back in 2017, but her team did not pass the preliminary round. This time, Sang-sang asked ‘Preme’ and ‘Aye’ to join her team, as the three of them shared the same ideals of societal transformation. Upon learning about Youth Co:Lab’s call for application, they decided to conceptualize their work plan separately, before exchanging their ideas with each other, making their project inclusive of everyone’s vision. One idea that they shared was making use of their business strategization and marketing skills in the development of local products, as all of them had expertise in this area, from marketing, finance, to brand-building with sustainability at the heart of the operation. 


‘Aye’ explained that the critical COVID-19 situation motivated them to develop the project in response to the pandemic crisis. Although some businesses did not suffer from the economic recession brought by the outbreak, artisans in various communities were clearly struggling to keep up with the changing scenario when the team started out with their project. ‘Aye,’ a team member currently living in the US, believed that communication, brand-building, and utilization of technology were able to eliminate the remaining barriers, and allow everyone to attain the opportunities they deserved. With this determination, Origi thus came into existence. 


In order to help us understand the team’s operation better, ‘Preme’ explained that Origi had 2 work sections. The first one consisted of field visits and coordination with the communities that developed local products, particularly artisanal crafts, Origi’s target product. The team saw that each creation contained unique charm and a wealth of intricate culture, passed from one generation to the next. Not only the three of them reached out to the local communities with questions about pricing, they also dived into the issue of brand-building, and explained to the communities the purpose of Origi, and the role they intended to play in expanding the communities’ pools of clients.



Origi’s second work section was creating digital assets in the form of social media platforms and Origi’s website, their official online store. ‘Preme’ elaborated further that there were no restrictions or specific requirements regarding products sold on their platforms. After discussing with the local communities, she found out that the needs of each community differed greatly. Some communities had a decent productive capacity, but suffered from brand weakness. For this case, the team would step in and help strategize a marketing plan. On the other hand, some wished to strictly focus on production, not brand-building. ‘Origi’ would become the brand that represented such artisans, leaving a memorable impression on clients and building a  brand asset at the same time. Therefore, Origi’s strengths came from the maximization of existing resources, adding only the missing parts as a way to reinforce the ecosystem of  local markets. The digital platform would serve as an online marketplace that opened the door to  domestic and international clients alike.  


When asked about the team’s expectations on the project outcome during Youth Co:Lab 2021, ‘Sang-sang’ replied that they aimed for the prototypical model of this project. They would start by sourcing local products, notably food, during the experimental phase, as this type of product was considered the easiest item to obtain and sell. Firstly, the team would focus their attention on products from Northern and Northeastern regions, because they were already in touch with the communities from these areas. After a trial period, they would conduct product evaluation to see which type of product had growth potential the most. The results would be incorporated into the new project plan accordingly. 


Although this is not the first time local products play a major role in representing the communities, we rarely see the establishment of a one-stop system that endorses the sustainability of local identity.  Profits or wealth are not the definitive end goal everyone pursues, it is the continuation of local creations, supported by a loyal customer base. At the end of the interview, the three of them added that they wanted Origi to be the ally of the local communities, enhancing equality and helping Thai people notice the true values of these products. They promised to do their best, with their dreams of taking local crafts to the international level. For any reader who would like to present any product from their community or others’, this team is delighted and waiting for you to reach out to them.


  • Published Date:
  • by: UNDP

‘Online Zakat,’ a New Model of Islamic Fundraising Platform That Closes Inequality Gap


For the first time since the project launch, Youth Co:Lab was organized 100% online, in compliance with measures to reduce travel and close contact to combat the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in numerous areas. Amidst the public health crisis that inflicts great difficulties upon every person’s life, we see the unmistakable brilliancy of opportunities coming from participants, who joined our online training and evaluation sessions despite travel-related limitations. Apart from youth with vision disabilities, those from the southernmost provinces also took part in co-creating innovation for sustainability, and was selected as one of the top 5 finalists to join the second round with their “one-stop platform for online zakat donation”, a project intended for systematic reduction of poverty and inequality.

The differences between each socio-cultural community provide room for knowledge exchange among the participants. Thai-Buddhist people generally perform meritorious deeds at will, whereas the Islamic way of merit-making differs. The alms-giving called “Zakat”, or tax that addresses social needs according to the principles of Islam, is a financial obligation to all Muslims whose wealth exceeds a threshold amount. In Thailand, Thai-Muslim people will donate  2.5% of the wealth they posses, and their payment must go to 8 groups of people eligible to receive zakat. In normal circumstances,  distribution of zakat payment can be carried out by donors or zakat management organizations. However, during the pandemic outbreak, traveling outside to give out zakat seems a precarious burden. On the other hand, those affected by income loss are still waiting for support from the zakat management organizations.

A team of Muslim youth believe that they can solve this issue by modernizing the current zakat management system and alleviating poverty according to the principles of sustainable development. Therefore, they gather to develop a platform that turns offline zakat management into online administration. This mission may seem simple, but looking back at the local context, more resources are much needed for project development. They said that the online zakat donation platform already exists, developed by The Economics Alumni Association of Fatoni university. However, the said platform remains unfinished, with only the calculation system for different types of zakat put in place. Budgets needed for the development of a one-stop platform for online zakat donation are still lacking.


When asked about how this platform would reduce inequality and poverty in a sustainable way, this team broached a current social setting, in which a database containing information of zakat recipients was never fully systematized,  and the level of transparency at zakat administration was never properly examined. This was because zakat management organizations never disclosed financial statements to the public, undermining zakat donors’ trust in the administration and leading them to pay zakat through other channels. Such alternatives to zakat donation may be more easily accessible and convenient, but the eligibility of zakat recipients was unverifiable. There were cases where zakat was transferred to the recipients who had already been paid, meaning that the donation distributed did not reach as many people as it should.   The team’s new platform was expected to solve this alarming issue. Through this channel, zakat donors could calculate and pay zakat online. Recipients could apply for help, check their verification status, and confirm their application for zakat welfare. For related organizations, they could manage online funds through either the Headquarter or the local branch system, which would reveal financial statements to the public. More importantly, Zakat Recipients Map and Analytics Platform (ZRMAP) was developed to identify and locate zakat recipients.


This platform will answers the 4 remaining questions: 


  1. Where are zakat recipients? 2
  2. How many are they in a village, subdistrict, district, province and this country?;
  3. What kind of support do they need
  4. How many people can stand on their own and lose their status as zakat recipients after one year of receiving welfare support


This will allow zakat management organizations to plan a policy or a project that potentially responds to people’s needs or predicaments, such as career development, scholarships for students, and financial support for medical bills, food assistance, rent, home repairs and construction, debt, clothes, traveling, and technology and communication. The assistance program and zakat will reach the targeted groups with more precision, solving the issue of duplicate payment with the system that tracks, monitors, and evaluates zakat recipients individually or on a household level once a month for a period of one year. This system is intended for the development of zakat recipients and increasing the quality of life so that they can become future zakat donors.



“One-stop platform for online zakat donation” thus begins with people at the heart of the project, especially those encircled with inequality. The team members have systematically created an action plan, collaborating with boards of directors from 3 organizations in Yala province on the implementation of this pilot project on funding management. Application for zakat can be submitted to this platform, and volunteers from the partner organizations will conduct home visits and eligibility screening, before submitting the candidature for further consideration.

On the other hand, zakat donors can check the progress of welfare delivery in the recipients ’ areas as well as the organizations’ financial statements  on this online platform. During Youth Co:Lab, this team has selected 3 target groups: those in needs, those in poverty, and new Muslims. After the platform is fully developed, they want to see more users navigating this platform, not only young generations of people with access to technology, but also other age groups. This will be proof of their project’s success. 

This team emphasized that zakat payment was another influencing factor to improvement of the quality of life. Financial support from zakat could turn into scholarships for minor students, healthy food that fed every single member of a family, or resources for starting a career that would eventually lead zakat recipients out of the vicious cycle of poverty. Since the tenets of Islam defined zakat payment as a mechanism in improving the quality of life and alleviating poverty, and the financial obligation to qualified Muslims, this everyday practice should make an impact on people’s lives as much as possible. The team also stressed that this was but a small starting point for change. An efficient system would become meaningless without users or utilization for social transformation. In addition, there were obstacles that needed to be overcome, not only for this team, but also for the authorities, such as paper applications, duplicate data, and problems with real-time visualization of data from both sides. The solutions to these issues would require financial support and labour of platform administrators, but this team believed that this investment was worthwhile, because we would see people benefiting from this platform in the near future.  

 As of now, the estimated numbers of website visitors have reached 5,321, and users have already started paying zakat via this platform, part of which includes those working overseas who benefited from the convenience provided by the rapid calculation of zakat payment. This team hopes to promote their service after the system is fully developed. With this online platform, the coming social transformation will bring positive change to Muslim lives, and certainly have a major impact across the entire country.

Learn more about zakat and visit the website here.


  • Published Date:
  • by: UNDP

Fetch Mobile Ice Cream Vendors with This Anti-Inequality Innovation!


For the longest time, street vending has sparked heated debates in Thailand, due to the vendors’ alleged encroachment of public space and their contribution to urban pollution, with or without the awareness of their action. However, the team “Carter” sees this service as a way to reduce inequality in the society. Then what exactly did they recognize in street vendors, and which factors could finally close the gap in the society in a sustainable way?


We talked with Supawut “Sax” Presangeiam, youthful representative of Carter, about their project with Youth Co:Lab 2021, which was selected as one of the top 5 finalists to join the second round, and granted them the opportunity to turn their interest into a reality. He said that the name “Carter” was derived from “cart”, and the addition of the suffix -er was to show that humans were an integral part of it.  Sax told us that he and his teammates were developing an application that served as a marketing tool for street vendors, increasing their sales and expanding vending and buying channels.


While some may consider street vending as a persistent problem, foreigners see a distinct and heterogenous cultural identity in Thailand, especially when it comes to street food, tourists’ long-standing favorite. From a social science perspective, Sax thought that street vendors offered food at an  affordable price, feeding low-wage workers without demanding much money. Vendors also needed not to make a large investment in restaurant building. Both street vendors and low-wage workers supported each other; if one day street food vending disappeared, those dependent on it would be greatly affected by such loss.


Nevertheless, Carter  also does not dismiss street vendors’ issue with public space. Sax explained that his team were committed to carrying out 3 missions: 1) encouraging vendors’ participation and 2) ensuring that partner vendors uphold cleaning and sanitation standards and 3) are able to keep up with the the world, since the current food delivery system was exclusively tied to restaurants with fixed locations, effectively excluding street vendors from the system and forcing them to continue doing business in an old school way. As of now, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has allowed street vending at markets and in special vending areas, but hawking still provokes public criticism, as seen in the case of a mobile ice cream vendor who was arrested and fined for his business. To Sax, street vendors were informal workers who were unprotected, unregistered, pushed out, and barred from the  participatory process. The authorities did not even realize the urban poor generally anticipated the daily arrival of street vendors.



As a result, Carter emerges as an application that matches a vulnerable group with another. The function of this application is simple: this platform will track the real-time location of street vendors, or provide information on their vending spots each week. For example, customers can pre-order or purchase a product beforehand, or wait for the vendor at their vending spot  after seeing them approaching the destination on the application. Sax thought that maximization of people’s digital knowledge, acquired from the experiences of accessing several social assistance programs online, was crucial. Therefore, the main concern for this team was not access to technology, but sustainability of this application itself, with users as the determining factor. They began with a short-term goal, starting a trial period, and promoting this application to people so that they could recognize the value of street vendors at the same time. 


The 5 members of this team will assume different roles and scope of work. The team is divided into application development, marketing, and social issues sectors, with the third one coordinating with NGOs  for information and knowledge sharing. Sax always told his team that, without Youth Co:Lab, this project would never come this close to a reality. In the past, he focused exclusively on social issues. After going through the training sessions, he understood the ways of sustainable social enterprise, which answered the needs of his team, because they did not want to leave no one behind, as well. To him, Youth Co:Lab was a hub of mentors who advised them closely.  


When asked about indicators of success and future action plan, Sax admitted that both had not been planned out clearly, since street vending was a sensitive issue with a wide range of parties involved. They decided to divide this project into 4 phases. At the initial stage, they would focus on building an easily accessible platform and promotion of their product for maximum awareness. They could not predict the long-term feedback, but one of the KPIs was growing numbers of new vendors and customers, an outcome unachievable in a single try. For projects intended for social transformation, plan adjustment was nothing out of the ordinary.


Sax remarked that, for first-year university students who attempted to tackle such a big issue, a team with every single member recognizing the value of public participation would be impossible to find elsewhere, except in his crews. This project was not by nature a for-profit startup business, it was essentially a social enterprise that would not allow anyone to be left behind. Their goals already went beyond that. What they were doing right now was creating a prototype and content, which would be released from time to time, and identifying worst case scenarios, estimating potential difficulties before they happened to the team. Sax said that the ideal society could happen only with the participatory process. His vision of the utopia involved every individual engaging in a conversation, co-existing and extending compassion to each other. 


Check out the progress of Carter at Carterapp.co

  • Published Date:
  • by: UNDP

CHANCE: Her Older Brother Was Behind Bars, Now She Is Helping Incarcerated People Make a Living


In 2021, Youth Co:Lab adopted the theme of ‘Left No One Behind’. For UNDP, myriads of fissures which spread across the society need to be filled, and social innovation is the best answer to this gaping problem, as it requires participation from every member of the society, especially the creative and innovative contribution from youth, who see social issues through a progressive lense and recognize every human being as a fellow global citizen with full entitlement to human rights.


As one of 5 teams that passed to the final round of Youth Co:Lab 2021, ‘CHANCE’ proposes a social enterprise specifically focused on incarcerated people, who are kept out of our sight. We tend to forget that they too want to see and take part in our world. The inspiration behind this team’s innovation project comes from a personal experience of one team member, whose older brother was sentenced to prison. She believes that people may have committed crimes, but without a second chance, they will come back to re-offend, going through a ‘revolving door’ from release to incarceration repeatedly instead of driving the society towards a sustainable future.


The team said that this project was planned before  Youth Co:Lab 2021, but it could not be put into action due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. After passing the second round, this team wishes to continue what they started earlier, because they believe in the project’s potential to bring in change. “Lila Thai Massage”, a massage parlour that recruited formerly incarcerated women to work and acquire skills  needed in service industries, also inspired this team to pursue the same cause. Comparing support to food gathering, they expressed their desire to teach incarcerated people how to fish instead of feeding them from time to time.



In their definition, “fish” meant the skills of fabric painting and embroidery that could birth various value-added accessories. This team found that prison authorized incarcerated people to make crafts and set a price for their products in order to ensure fair wages for them. Under normal circumstances, mentors were also allowed to conduct workshops inside the prison. Although products made in prison were put on sale regularly, this team saw the opportunity to generate more income, secure a second chance, and upskill incarcerated people simultaneously. They deliberately avoided using the “made by prisoners” label as a selling point, because they wanted consumers to base their purchase decision on appeal and quality of products, not how pitiful the prisoners were.



After 4 sessions of workshops that broadened the team’s understanding of every aspect of the issue they sought to address and consultations with experts on social enterprise, CHANCE drafted a social business plan and set a short-term goal. At the initial phase, they searched for a supplier they could trust, and started designing paint patterns. The team emphasized that the advantage of making fashion products was the end-to-end control of the production process. In the future, mentors were expected to teach pattern-making in prison, deepening the prisoners’ participation even more. 


In the short run, CHANCE will make 12 pieces of fashion products, all of which are hand painted dresses with floral patterns that can be used as work or casual attire, or clothes for other occasions. To reduce the risks of the COVID-19 infection, the team aims to sell their products on various online shopping platforms, which also collect customer data. They do not simply set their eyes on the present. Their gaze is directed towards the long-term running of this project, which will include global shipping via different e-commerce platforms.


When the team was asked if they had any secondary plan, in case they were not selected as one of the 2 winners in the final round, CHANCE immediately answered that they could use remaining profits, netted from initial product sales, to fund this project further. The workshops with UNDP and experts had fundamentally changed their attitudes about activities for social causes. They firmly believed that a viable business model was the one that created a sustainable ecosystem that made  self-support possible. The team also added that, once their products were finalized, we could see the name of the artisan behind each craft. By giving proper credits to incarcerated people, they could continue to pursue artisanal careers post-release. Survey findings revealed that the majority of ex-prisoners struggled with employment and the stigma of incarceration. This hardship convinced this team to help them acquire a second chance without falling into recidivism.


As of now, CHANCE has partnered with Ubon Ratchathani Central Prison. The team chose “Chorphaka” [Bouquet] as the title of their fashion brand, because painted floral patterns were their signature design, and what they expected to leave an impression on customers, not the plight in prison. The team hoped for continuity of the business growth, because there were incarcerated people with a wealth of artisanal skills, but without any chance to showcase their potential.



For more information about products and CHANCE’s project, please visit Chorphaka on Facebook and Instagram.



Submit Project

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?


United Nations Development Programme
12th Floor, United Nations Building
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Mail. info.thailand@undp.org
Tel. +66 (0)63 919 8779