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Sustainability

This startup fights for fun and meaningful learning experiences in Thailand

The outbreak of Covid-19 was a turning point for Thai education. When schools closed and shifted to online classes, a lack of digital tools and skills, as well as outdated curricula, were laid bare. dtacblog spoke to Chalipa Dulyakorn of INSKRU, the education startup and a partner of dtac’s Safe Internet project, to understand how tomorrow’s classrooms can be redesigned to build digital resilience among children and youth. Create safe spaces in school INSKRU has made learning more enjoyable for over two million students. In 2018, it reached the final round of dtac Plikthai, a platform to crowd-source socially conscious initiatives. It received the funding of 100,000 baht and was connected by dtac to a group of experts. Ms. Chalipa then used the money for creative workshops with teachers, which turned out a success. Not long after, INSKRU was chosen as a partner of dtac Safe Internet, whose ambition is to foster digital resilience in children and youth by joining forces with students, teachers, parents, and both private and public sectors. dtac leverages INSKRU’s expertise and their community of 200,000 teachers, who play a vital role in redesigning learning process and act as guardians in school. “dtac has set a…

dtac breaks isolation of village in Lampang

Lack of connectivity in Ban Mai Samakki Village became unbearable with COVID-19. Then dtac stepped in. The Ban Mai Samakki community was established in 2003 in Thailand’s Northern province of Lampang. But until September 2021, it had neither landline nor cell phone coverage. As COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation in Thailand, the community’s lack of connectivity turned into a full-blown crisis. With schools closed, children walked two kilometers every day to catch the nearest mobile signal and connect with their teachers online. The threat of being unable to make an emergency call without making a 40-min hike also became increasingly risky in the midst of a pandemic. Supud Rala, is the village headman of Ban Mai Samakki, a community of 495 persons, most of them maize farmers. “We sell our crops while raising chicken and pigs for our own consumption. Women also make additional income from handcrafted bags, scarves, and skirts. All our water comes from the river, wells and rainwater. We didn’t even have electricity until 2016,” he said. Communication is a key issue in this community, rendering it virtually cut off from the outside world. The closest mobile phone signal can be found on a ridge about 2 km…

Chiang Mai woman goes mobile and digital to live independently in her senior years

According to the National Statistical Office of Thailand, there are about 13 million elderly in Thailand (aged over 60), one-third of whom live alone or with their senior partners. Without adequate social safety nets, this could impact their livelihood and poses social and economic challenges to the country as it is stepping into a ‘super aged[1]’ society in the next decade. Aging Alone In Chiang Mai’s Saraphi district, hundreds of elders live alone. They have been abandoned by their family or don’t receive adequate care. Local administrative bodies, foundations, and the civil society have stepped in to offer support in various forms. One of them is Kunyasa Chaikularb, a former social worker from Chiang Rai. Ms. Kunyasa moved to Chiang Mai two decades ago to start her social work career at a foundation whose aim was to improve livelihood of children orphaned by HIV and AIDS. Later she received funding from foreigners who wanted to help out people with physical disabilities and the elderly who live alone and need support. “I started working to support unaccompanied seniors after I witnessed these problems myself. Many older people spend their final years as a worker at longan plantations, earning a daily wage…

This 40-year-old runs a debt-free agricultural farm and pays herself bonuses every quarter

In 2020, it was estimated that each farmer household had a debt of about 225,000 baht in average. The Office of Agricultural Economics also forecasted that the COVID-19 crisis will lead to an increase of debts of each farmer household by 16 percent this year. dtacblog spoke to Tewarak “Fonghwin” Nimcharoen, a 40-year-old farmer who joined dtac Net for Living and learned to use connectivity to grow more resilient income streams for herself. Not only she is now totally debt-free, but she can also pay herself quarterly and biannual bonuses. She also makes sure to share her knowledge with her fellow farmers. The Ban Nee Mee Rak Happy Farm is located in Chachoengsao’s Bang Khla district, to the east of Bangkok. Secret Recipe “I used to be an office worker, working as a manager at a petrol station. But at the age of 25, my father fell ill. So I had to give up my job and came back to my hometown,” Ms. Tewarak said. “I had to take over the farm that my father owned and started with almost zero knowledge.” During the first five years, her father acted as a coach, passing whatever knowledge he had to his…

Meet the people behind dtac’s support for the vaccination rollout

The COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand is again at its peak, with the number of daily new infections regularly breaking new records. The major challenge for Thailand is thus to achieve herd immunity with a mass vaccination campaign. The Bang Sue Grand Station is the biggest vaccination center in Thailand. Operating under the Medical Services Department’s supervision, the vaccination center opened on May 24, 2021, for trials and began welcoming the public on June 7. The Central Vaccination Center has so far administered about 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. dtac joined hands with other mobile operators, AIS, True and NT, in supporting the government’s mass vaccination campaign at the Bang Sue Grand Central Station, by supporting vaccination registrations and welcoming customers on-site, as per the process laid out by the health authorities. dtac opened its first round of registration to customers on May 27 on www.dtac.co.th and the dtac app. The platforms were well received, with users describing them as stable and friendly. To understand what happened next, dtacblog spoke with Sureerat Suwathawornsakul, who leads of dtac’s vaccination project. She shared the challenges the team encountered and the inspiration behind this mission to support Thailand’s fight against COVID-19. Supporting Thailand’s…

dtac and BBtec’s joint goal to lift health and safety standards

The COVID-19 outbreak has put unprecedented pressure on global supply chains while also increasing the need for mobile connectivity. For dtac, the challenge is thus to guarantee the health and safety of its network operations teams while accelerating its network rollout. At the end of Q2’21, approximately 9,100 nodes of 700 MHz were installed, and dtac will continue to expand 5G capability to more sites in high-traffic areas. An operation of this size requires vendors and partners, which all need to agree to dtac’s strict safety measures and human rights standards for all workers in its supply chain. One of them is BB Technology Company Limited (BBtec), an integrated telecom operator in the Benchachinda Group, who has been providing cell site installation and maintenance services for dtac for more than ten years. The firm’s services include consulting, survey, design, system analysis and development, base-station construction, installations of fiber optic, exchange network infrastructure, system installations, supervision and network-system maintenance. “Signal tower construction and network-systems installations are complicated. Think of it as building a house, with several contractors for the foundation, roof, electrical systems, water system, and so on. If just one of these contractors isn’t up to standard, the whole project…

Meet the LGBTQ ally and diversity champion helming dtac’s human resources

During Pride Month, dtac made history as a large enterprise in the SET50 extending its spousal benefits to same-sex couples. dtac also categorized gender reassignment surgery as medical leave and now offers parental leave for parents who adopt infants. The new policies reflect dtac’s responsible business foundation that brings together compliance, data privacy, supply chain sustainability, digital upskilling, climate change, human rights and the health and safety of our workers. dtacblog spoke to Nardrerdee Arj-harnwongse, Chief People Officer of dtac, to understand what motivated her to the launch these new policies. Bringing Your Whole Self to Work “Diversity and inclusion have always been at the core of dtac’s culture,” she said. “A few years ago, a same-sex couple asked if they were entitled to dtac’s wedding leave and allowance—and we said yes! But there was no specific mention of same-sex couples in our policies. We’ve now corrected that to send a strong message to our LGBTQ employees. We see you, we value you, and we want you to feel at home here.” As dtac’s Chief People Officer, Ms. Nardrerdee must keep thousands of positions staffed with happy, productive employees. Overall, dtac’s male-female divide leans towards the latter (68 percent) and the…

dtac says the time for strong data privacy in Thailand is now

The year 2020 triggered a seismic shift in our relationship with the online world. With COVID-19, more people are working from home and connecting online with loved ones they can no longer meet in person. But just as reliance on connectivity grows, so do concerns about data privacy. “As more businesses and people moved into the digital world, we’ve seen a change in how they viewed the online environment,” said Marcus Adaktusson, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at dtac. “They are increasingly concerned about their privacy.” In Cisco’s 2020 Consumer Privacy Survey, 60 percent of respondents expressed concerns about their data being protected in the tools they are using while remote working or learning. The top three concerns were that the data will be used for unrelated purposes, that the data will be shared too broadly with third parties, and that the data will not be deleted or anonymized. Furthermore, 29 percent of those surveyed said they would switch brands due to data practices. This growing demographic of ‘privacy actives’ signals a shift in consumer attitudes globally about how their data is used and what control they have over their privacy. “Privacy issues are a growing concern for customers. But it’s often…

How businesses can continue operations despite Covid-19

The COVID-19 crisis exposed major vulnerabilities in global operations and supply chains. But dtac was able to quickly localize production and implement a wide-reaching work from home policy. Tipayarat Kaewsringam, chief sales officer at dtac, spoke at the dtac Responsible Business Virtual Forum 2021, to explain how dtac achieved such resilience in its supply chain. “Digital connectivity is critical to continuing social and economic activity under lockdown restrictions and work-from-home policies. Thus dtac must provide uninterrupted services, but also ensure the safety of its employees and those who operate on behalf of the company,” she said. Resilient Operations Today, around 95 percent of dtac office employees and call center agents are able to work from home. Working from home allows them to operate during lockdowns but also reduces the risk of infections which could cause teams to be quarantined. “Even in shops, which must continue to operate as mobile operators are considered an essential service, teams are split in half and work alternate weeks. If one team is exposed and must quarantine, the other team can continue to operate,” said Ms. Tipayarat. Moreover, the Network Operation Center, located at the dtac Headquarters, is ready to relocate at alternate sites. In…

Why resilience rests on workers’ wellbeing

With the ongoing social distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, connectivity is a lifeline to our friends, family and jobs. This couldn’t happen without the frontline workers who cannot work from home lest the entire country grind to a standstill. There are the health workers, of course, but also employees of companies deemed essential services, such as supermarkets, banks and mobile operators. On the occasion of International Worker’s Day 2021, dtac spoke to some of our frontline heroes who work tirelessly to connect Thai society to what matters most. Risk Exposure Prateep Yingyong, a field network officer at dtac, performs network installations and maintenance. His job requires him to be on the ground every day, traveling from one cell site to another across Bangkok and its vicinity. Fieldwork is inherently dangerous. Working with tools, working at heights and working in remote areas requires strict guidelines to avoid injury. For example, fieldwork employees like Mr. Prateep are required to wear safety shoes at all times while performing site inspections and are not allowed to be on sites after 6 pm except in the event of an emergency. During the spread of COVID-19, Mr. Prateep sometimes travels to so-called red zones, where COVID-19…