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 services centers 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 and “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.