The Non-Aligned Movement has stressed on the development of the children as they are the creators and shapers of nation’s tomorrow. The children today will be the adults of tomorrow and also the determinants of the kind of destiny that beacons the nation. Keeping a step forward in ensuring strengthening of the very foundation of its economy, the government of Thailand in 2015 initiated an unconditional Child Support Grant for children up to one year of age living in poor and near poor households across the country.
A key national policy in the integrated life span of human development, the scheme for the newborns is a social protection system by the government in Thailand for providing welfare support to the generation living in poor households or those at the risk of poverty. With a promise to reduce social inequality by guaranteeing that these souls receive their rights directly and by easing their ways to access other rights as well, Thailand, through the Child Support Grant, has made remarkable progress in strengthening child nutrition outcomes, improving access to social services and empowering women of the society.
Having ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child since 1992 and the global development objectives of the government here, that are articulated in its 20-year national strategy with an aim to do away with the social disparity and leaving no one behind, the two documents firmly showcase Thai government’s strong commitment to social protection of children of the nation.
The initiative comes in line with the strategy to strengthen and develop human capital of the draft 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan as well as the strategy to empower people of the draft 20-year National Strategic Framework (2017-2036).
Rolled out within the six months of the approval and implementation decision, the programme was initiated with a grant of 400 Baht for children up to one year of age, which was later in October 2016, expanded with age eligibility covering the eligible children for an additional two years (to age of three years old) along with an increase in the benefit value to THB 600 per month.
With remarkable progress in the programme and with more of the families receiving support of the grant, the government of Thailand further expanded the age group from 0-3 to 0-6 years of age, in recent 2019. Along with the age group, the maximum annual income threshold also got a hike from 36,000 Thai Baht to 100,000 Thai Baht, the same year. As per the reports it has been found that the children receiving the Child Support Grant were less prone to the risk of wasting than those in similar households not receiving the grant.
Being an ageing society, Thailand, in the coming future, would experience a workforce of fewer and fewer young people to secure the country’s growth and economy. Thus, it is important for such an economy to ensure a better future for children as it needs every child to reach their full potential and cannot afford to leave anyone behind. The layout of the programme has dictated several positive impacts on the lives of those receiving the grant, in terms of nutrition and the access to basic services, including postnatal care.
Not only the children, but the women of the economy have also been empowered, with those receiving the Child Support Grant are more likely to be the primary decision-makers in food expenditure decisions and enjoying more control over their income than those in similar extremely poor households that did not receive the grant.
Thailand, being an upper middle-income economy, has dealt with several major issues pertaining to poverty and access to health care services. But, with the passage of time and the initiatives rolled out, the economy has managed to mark a remarkable growth even in the sectors the economy lagged behind. As part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Non-Aligned Movement has come in line with, partnerships are at the core of the economy. Needing everyone’s efforts to combat the challenges, the NAM has always strived for better and more impacting contribution as the goals are so ambitious that everyone has to be involved for their contribution. Thus, the government of Thailand and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are working closely on the design of the Child Support Grant and ensuring a world of equality with all rights protected for the children of the nation.