Current Placement Spotlight: Ashna in Bangkok

Activity profile

Ashna Hudani, a current IDS Co-op student, has been working with The Center for People Forests (RECOFTC) for the past six months in Bangkok, Thailand. RECOFTC’s vision is to strengthen rights, improve governance, and ensure fair benefits for local people in sustainable forest landscapes. Her role as a Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) intern entails tasks including data management, data quality assurance, capacity building and reporting. Because RECOFTC is a regional organization, operating in seven South and Southeast Asian countries, Ashna has the privilege of working with and learning from staff in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Nepal.

In November, Ashna worked on a research project, in collaboration with partners at The University of British Columbia (UBC) and The Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet), with the goal of better understanding and representing opportunities and challenges related to Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) in Thailand. For this project, Ashna travelled to Nan province and conducted interviews and focus group discussions with multilevel stakeholders, including community members. The findings from this study are currently being compiled and analyzed alongside results from other countries in the Lancang-Mekong region.

In the latter half of her placement, Ashna is excited to evaluate and lead the scale-up of the Participatory Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (PMEL) tools, which were piloted in Myanmar and Cambodia in previous years. In addition to this, her thesis research will focus on assessing the success and enabling factors of a community-led microfinance model in Cambodia, which incorporates and institutionalizes forest management and benefit sharing within its core tenets.