In preparing for my podcast conversation with Mechai Viravaidya, his team sent extra material. I think you’ll value knowing more about him.
First, given that We Can Dance Around Environmental Problems All We Want. We Eventually Reach Overpopulation and Overconsumption, I consider Mechai’s work on family planning among the most important work in the world, beyond the Green Revolution. He lowered birth rate through voluntary, fun means that increased health, longevity, prosperity, and stability, the opposite of China’s One Child Policy or eugenics. He enabled us to talk about and act on the most important driver of the environmental problems putting civilization at risk.
I had known about his work in family planning, HIV, and AIDS, but less about education. If you don’t know my passion for project-based and, increasingly, self-directed learning, please look up my page on resources on mind-blowing education practices that work.
Mechai’s work implements much of it. Here are more materials on his more recent education work. As you heard in my conversation with him, I intend to sail there to visit and learn from the man and institution directly.
- Bangkok Post: Getting a grounding in the ‘school of life’
- Bangkok Post: CSR Thailand: ‘Fishing’ lessons to enrich the poor
- Presentation: The Mechai Bamboo School
- Presentation: Rural Thai school helps UN to localize SDGs in underprivileged communities
- United Nations Population Fund: In Thailand, an innovative school provides a safe space – and a foundation for life
- Diggers Foundation: The amazing Bamboo School: where disadvantaged children get the best education
Podcast notes links
For completeness, here are the links from the podcast notes:
- The Mechai Viravaidya Foundation
- Mechai Viravaidya’s TEDx talk
- His biography
- His Wikipedia page
- His NGO, Population and Community Development Association’s Wikipedia page
- The Leadership and the Environment episode that mentioned him
Mechai’s team sent me these links too:
- “All Hail the Condom King”, written by Bill Gates about Mechai Viravaidya
- PBS News hour: Combating Hardship in Rural Thailand (2012)
- PBS News Hour – Mechai Bamboo School: How this Thai Educational Movement Empowers Rural Students (2019)
- Comprehensive presentation describing the Mechai Bamboo School and the Partnership Schools Project
- NHK Direct Talk: Take No as a Question – Mechai Viravaidya (2017)
- Thai documentary about the Bamboo School with English Subtitles (2017) รายการกาวเกนิ พอ เริ ิ องโรงเริ ยนมิ ชยพฒนา
- The Cheerful Revolution (1979)
- A documentary on our early efforts at family planning in Thailand, “Two is Enough”: Part 1 and Part 2
HIV and AIDS
- A documentary narrated by Brad Pitt for PBS on our campaign to combat HIV/AIDS: “Rx for Survival“
- PBS: Social Entrepreneur – Mechai Viravaidya (2012)
- The Village Development Partnership
- Wall Street Journal: Slumping Fertility Rates in Developing Countries Spark Labor Worries
I learned of Mechai through podcast guest Alan Weisman‘s book Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, which profiles him. I highly recommend the book.
Search the web for more on Mechai and you’ll find it.
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