One Inspiring Day in Yala, Shadowing the Municipal Mayor.

Young People Witness the Mayor’s Leadership in Action.

Muktakeen Kiya, Faaik Konrasee, Aswari Ka-Abu and Nabil Yunuh
Young people visited TK park Yala.
UNICEF Thailand/2023/Manchasing
Young people visited TK park Yala.
30 April 2024

In 2023, UNICEF launched its Young People Takeover initiative for Thai Children's Day. This program took young individuals on a full-day journey shadowing leaders in differing provinces, offering them a unique up-close experience learning about urban governance. The initiative kicked off in Bangkok and extended its reach to border provinces, including Yala and Pattani.

Lessons Learned on Leadership from a Leader

For anyone aspiring to become future leaders, the opportunity to shadow Mayor Pongsak Yingchoncharoen is invaluable for gaining knowledge and leadership skills. A conversation with the mayor in his meeting room revealed a leadership centered on prioritizing public welfare and a deep commitment to hard work. According to the Mayor, “the tasks that don’t seem like a mayor’s task, are still the mayor’s tasks,” highlighting the dedication required for effective leadership. The experience was deeply valuable, and only a few get such a chance.

Young people met with Yala City’s mayor, Pongsak Yingchoncharoen
UNICEF Thailand/2023/Manchasing
Young people met with Yala City’s mayor, Pongsak Yingchoncharoen

Yala City’s mayor at a community meeting

Witnessing the community meeting was revealing, allowing us to sit among experienced representatives who demonstrated thoughtfulness and care for their community members. Seeing them supporting and thanking each other painted a beautiful picture of teamwork. Every component concerning the well-being of community residents, from the location of trash cans to the placement of speed bumps, was discussed, and the mayor paid attention to both big and small details. It was a straightforward meeting where everyone shared their opinions, listened to one another, engaging in activities together, and supporting each other while recognising and embracing differences. This unity is heartening, transcending religious differences, as we are the people of Yala City.

Young people, UNICEF staff and Yala City’s mayor.
UNICEF Thailand/2023/Manchasing
Young people, UNICEF staff and Yala City’s mayor.

Fate and Opportunity: A Story at Lunch

During our lunch break, we had the chance to share a meal with Sudin Rojanaudomsat, Head of Communication at Yala City Municipality. He shared his career journey, during which he had the opportunity to study in Bangkok. As he approached his graduation, he was on his way back to his hometown when a group of friends invited him to work abroad. Excited, he agreed, but eventually realized it wasn't his passion and returned. Finding a vacant post in his hometown, he applied and began working with Mayor Pongsak in Yala, where he has now been for 20 years. This story taught us that both missteps and breakthroughs contribute to self-discovery. Life is unpredictable, but through personal growth we can move forward and get closer to our goals.

Young people are listening to the Mayor.
UNICEF Thailand/2023/Manchasing
The Mayor shared insights into the story of Yala City with young people.

Visiting TK Park Yala

TK Park Yala is an alternative learning space that caters to the needs of children and young people, emphasizing the importance of 21st century learning. Wathanan Thountawin, TK Park Yala’s director, guided us from the 5th to 1st floor, designed to accommodate individuals like us. She emphasized that, “the facility exists not for profit but for the benefit of everyone, serving as a creative space, meeting spot, and a place for self-improvement.” We were encouraged to learn from the mayor that they are constructing a room to help people learn about technologies, robotics, and future knowledge. This, he believes, “is the hope for young people to become exemplary citizens for the community.”

Young people visited TK park Yala.
UNICEF Thailand/2023/Manchasing
Young people visited TK park Yala.

Feelings about Shadowing the Mayor for a Day

Throughout the experience of shadowing the Mayor’s work, we experienced a mix of excitement, anxiety, and challenges. Standing near him, we could feel his passion and ambition to improve our community. Additionally, UNICEF staff were supportive and encouraged us to ask questions, helping us understand that management approaches are different in each area and cannot be treated as a one-size-fits-all. The Mayor consistently prioritizes the well-being of his people, carefully making decisions that are best for Yala's city and community development frameworks.

We used to believe that civil servants with prestigious titles lacked transparency in their work, but getting to know the Mayor has changed our perspective. Some of us now have a dream to become a civil servant.

While they were having a fruitful conversation.
UNICEF Thailand/2023/Manchasing
While they were having a fruitful conversation.
While they were having a fruitful conversation.
UNICEF Thailand/2023/Manchasing
While they were having a fruitful conversation.

UNICEF Blog

The UNICEF Blog promotes children's rights and well-being, and ideas about ways to improve their lives and the lives of their families. We bring you insights and opinions from young people, our partners, child rights experts and accounts from UNICEF's staff on the ground in Thailand. The opinions expressed on the UNICEF Blog are those of the author(s) and may not necessarily reflect UNICEF's official position.

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