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integrative research network for comprehensive development of the thachin and maeklong river basins



Mahidol university has proven itself to be one of the academic leaders on employing the collected body of knowledge to benefit and service in form of collaborative project with other universities such as a project carried out with Thammasart University and Kasetsart University namely "inclusive rural development for Maeklong river basin" project. This project was initiated by Puay Aungpakorn and was done under the collaboration with three universities over more than 20 years. Not only the intention of raising up the quality of research to be in the world class of international forum, Mahidol University also generates a strategy namely "research for achieving the goal" in order to solve some urgent and specific problems. This strategy aims to support potentiality among communities and to strengthen them to be sufficient-independent communities. Moreover, part of some researches aims to drive communities in the western part of Thailand through carrying out research with civil network in the area.

Based on the collected experience gained from collaboration with local communities and the research strategy mentioned above, Mahidol University realizes that there is an urgent need for generating potentiality and system for researches owing to the local need. These potential and systematic researches would be developed to be social wisdom for social problem solving. Thus, a spatial research project was initiated in 2001, emphasizing significantly on the Thachin and Maeklong river basins. This project has been supported by Prof. Emeritus Pornchai Matungkasombat, President of Mahidol University; on generating a series of important research based on sustainable independent concept namely "Integrated Research Network for Inclusive Development in Thachin-Maeklong River Basin". This project was developed to be "Natural Resources Management for Peace and Sustainability" project in 2002 under authorizing of researchers and concerned agencies under the name "Integrated Research Network of Thachin-Maeklong".

The Main Objectives of This Project are:

  1. To develop a research network as an "Independent Knowledge Management Node" and to develop baseline data and information technology for development;
  2. To create participatory research approaches; and,
  3. To support grassroots civil society groups which are active in the river basins and are incorporated into the network.
The integrative Research Network for Comparative Development of the Thachin and Maeklong River Basins, as managed by the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Associate Professor Anuchat Poungsomlee as project manager, consists of six strategic themes:
Strategy I: Target Research
Support for participatory research which is based on an interdisciplinary approach from various academic areas including: (1) Database Development of Information for Development; (2) Change, Resistance and Cultural Revitalization; (3) Sustainable Food Cycle Development; (4) Water Resources Management; (5) Learning Network, Policy and Peace Development; and, (6) Public Health Development.

Strategy II: Research Capacity Building Development
Support mechanisms and capacity building within the research process and methodological development in order to provide new learning space both for researchers and communities.

Strategy III: Graduate Studies and Young Scholar Development
Support for graduate students who wish to take part in research in the area and also for the development of networks among these young scholars.

Strategy IV: Capacity Building of Local Community and Civil Society
Support communities in research and development for community planning as well as to provide for sharing and learning within a wider network

Strategy V: Communication for change
Support the role of the media and identify mechanisms for communication among the local networks

Strategy VI: Network Administration and management
Being a mechanism in order to facilitate the entire program and lead to a sustainable and meaningful "Independent Knowledge Management Node".

Working Plan

This project is based on interdisciplinary study through research design process which is done by joining hands between researchers and civil society. Cooperation network development among researchers as interdisciplinary work from those who are in institute, outside institute and civil part in concept of Thachin-Maeklong area-based concept is aimed to employ and apply body of knowledge and research process to make a change, construct social power and generate imagination for finding creative and peaceful way for natural resources development.
Research projects are composed of 6 groups as

Group 1 : Information technology for development and database development (ISBDD)

Group 2 : Cultural revitalization and knowledge management of the Maeklong riverside community

Group 3 : Food chain development for sustainability

Group 4 : Ecosystem and water resources study for Thachin-Maeklong river basin

Group 5 : Integrative research networking for the improvement of health promotion and quality of life in communities for Thachin-Maeklong river basin

Group 6 : Strengthening management system of transdisciplinary research network of Thachin Maeklong river basins.

Group1-3 started to conduct their assignment since April, 2002 and Group 4-6 started according to strategies goals since 2003-2006. Project Proposal Phase II

In recent years with continued pressure on Thailand, the researchers network of Thachin-Maeklong have still been developed the project proposal phase II over a 5-year period (2008-2012)

The Conceptual Framework of This Proposal are

  1. Potential of project's river basins total coverage.
  2. Focusing on movement of policy process and macro level.
  3. Focusing on community based area approach.

Strategic Plan

  1. Improving quality of life and building potential of local communities.
  2. Building body of knowledge within the community.
  3. Knowledge management.
  4. Building Network.
  5. Contributing to Public Policy movement.
This picture protected by copyright©Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies

Project Proposal Phase II

Project Proposal Phase II is composed of 7 sub projects and 1 office of coordination as the following;
  1. Sustainable Planning of Coastal Environment Resource Management by Community.
  2. Sustainable Development on Food Cycle.
  3. Strategic Environmental Assessment of Integrated Maklong Water River Management : A Case Study in lower Maeklong River Basins.
  4. The Improvement of Health and Quality of Life Project Under the Integrative Research Networking in Thachin-Maeklong River basins.
  5. The Development of Community-Based Network for Sustainable Health Promotion and Quality of Life of Children and Youth in Thachin- Maeklong River Basins.
  6. Knowledge Management for Empowerment of the Social Managers in Thachin- Maeklong River Basins Area Based.
  7. Strategic Environmental Assessment for Water Management Research Project: A Case Study in Thachin River Basins.
  8. Management System of Research Network (Office of Coordination).

The holistic consequences

Detail of each individual projects show in appendix
  1. Building body of knowledge in science and technology, sociology and humanity science, public health and quality of life. All information is provided in forms of information technology (website), academic seminars and article publishing for the public.
  2. Building the new research paradigm for new generation of researcher as they will come from diversify institutes and also other authorities. This tries to promote the innovation research by integrating all stakeholders to join in the participatory research.
  3. Strengthening the quality of life of local communities and natural resource conservation.
  4. Providing academic services, training, and health examining for local communities.
  5. Providing the local community empowerment which could bring about potential and ability development in local community.

Appendix 1

Result from proceeding sub-project 1: Information Technology for Development and Database Development (ISBDD)

Data in Information System Base Data Development (ISBDD) compose of fundamental data such as demography, health, education socioeconomic data, natural resources and environment as well as geographic data base. These data can serve the need of concerned partner such as researchers and concerned agencies to use beneficially through internet access. Anyway, data available on internet still have to be improved for more effective while training courses have been already provided for officers in concerned agencies.

Result from proceeding sub-project 2: Cultural Revitalization and Knowledge Management of the Maeklong Riverine Community

Body of knowledge related to local wisdoms such as fishery, agriculture and local architecture can generate learning process among all concerned partners to realize on the importance of specific local wisdom of people in the river basin. For example, Leamyai learning process in Samut Songkrom province and its result on setting community learning center.

Result from proceeding sub-project 3: Food Chain Development for Sustainability

Result from the project is revealed in form of research related to food knowledge and planting. These researches mainly emphasize on safe health producing such as type of bacteria which could eliminate fungi in the process of biological ferment water, diversification for fungi which can generate plant diseases, vegetable and fruit consumption among children, intoxicated vegetable market, safe food policy and cooperation with civil sector and community on searching for alternative market for green farmer (intoxicated vegetable)

Result from proceeding the sub-project 4: Ecosystem and Water resources study for Thachin-Maeklong river basin.

This sub- project is aimed to study the surveillance network for taking care the water's quality based on community participation on conserving all cannels and rivers in study area. Also, this project tries to find body of knowledge related to water quality in terms of physical, chemical and biological aspect in order to find biological indicators such as some types of groundwater animals. Moreover, proper way for water resource utilization, diversification and accumulation of Andosulfan in canal system of Maeklong river basin as well as mathematical model designed to predict the flooding area of lower part of Maeklong river basin are strongly needed for studying.

Result from proceeding the sub-project 5: Integrative Research Networking for the Improvement of Health Promotion and Quality of Life in Communities for Thachin-Maeklong River Basin.

This sub- project is aimed to study health condition, causes, factor for health promotion and social process generated by people participation. The strengthening in these dimensions is done through many studies such as health study on Klongmai local way, a cooperative action between community people in Klongmai and researchers from Mahidol University and survey on accidents among children aged below 5 years in Aumpang sub-district, Banpeaw district, Samut Songkrom province.

Result from proceeding the sub-project 6: Strengthening Management System of Transdisciplinary Research Network of Thachin Maeklong River Basins.

This sub-project is aimed to generate research network and new blood researchers under the umbrella of interdisciplinary working. This cooperation can develop the potentiality of research team in new way of working which could employ knowledge to drive and protect problem occurring. Moreover, the cooperation would generate cooperative network among all stakeholders in governmental sector, academic institution, non-governmental organization and civil society in study area. The results are revealed in forms of having the network development process smoothly done with the network in Nakorn Pathom province as well as having new blood researchers and academics who are interested in research and development field.
  • Cooperative network among universities, local agencies and community organization has occurred widely.
  • Civil society has occurred to strengthen communities in study area.
  • The project's offices are accepted from community on being committee for both two river basin development.
Associate Professor Anuchat Poungsomlee, Ph.D
Project Director
E-mail :
Chatchai Luechapongthip
Project Coordinator
E-mail :
Office of Coordination, 3rd floor, Building 3
Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies
Mahidol University
Salaya, Nakhonpathom 73170 THAILAND
Tel : 66-2441-5000 ext. 331-335
Fax : 66-2441-9509
E-mail :
Website :
999 Phuttamonthon Road, Phuttamonthon, Salaya, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand