August 9, 2022

Lessons learned from SE Impact Assessment project – Panisa Songsithichoke, a student from Cohort 6

Panisa, a student from Cohort 6, has been engaged in a Social Impact Assessment project for a Thai social enterprise for young trainees with neurodiversity (Steps Community) since 2021. With the supervision of Aj.Istvan Rado, she was able to hone in on her interview skills and worked together with him to deliver the social impact assessment successfully.

Parn

“Around the end of 2021, while I was working with Ajarn Istvan (the GSSE program director) as a work-study student, he asked me whether or not I am interested in assisting him on a new project about social impact assessment for a social enterprise. 

This was during the same time that I just studied social impact assessment in one of my subjects. I saw this as an opportunity to broaden my perspective about social entrepreneurship and to collaborate with an impactful organization like ‘Steps’, so I decided to jump on this without any doubt. 

As a team of two, we started this project from scratch. My main responsibility was to conduct a literature review about the situation of people with autism in Thailand, and the Thai organizations with the missions to improve the quality of life of people with neurodiversity. 

Alongside that, I had interviewed four trainees with neurodiversity from the Business Service Center, and two of their parents about their experiences and observable changes after their children worked here. 

I would say that the interviews had probably been the most challenging task for me in this project. Despite my prior experience interviewing people in several classes, this time was totally different. Each of the trainees was unique and required strong attention to connect all ideas. It was challenging, yet was not too difficult to accomplish.

After the interviews, I helped Ajarn Istvan analyze the responses and created a ‘Theory of Change’ to see which factor contributes to which impact. These findings were then put into the final report which was presented at ‘Steps Vocational Center’ on 20 July 2022. 

Throughout this journey, I had a great chance to talk to diverse people from ‘Steps’ and gained such interesting insights from them all—namely, the Steps co-founders, job coaches, partnerships officers, trainees, and the parents.

It made me realize the power of collaboration and teamwork. Although we began the project under the pandemic situation, the team from ‘Steps’ ensured that all the processes were very smooth. They have been very responsive and eager to support our professional requests, which motivated us to work more actively.

I found working with Ajarn Istvan a very supportive and knowledgeable experience. Conducting research under his guidance pushed me to another level of understanding of how the research process works. When there was something I was not sure about, I could ask him right away without feeling overwhelmed first. What I really appreciated about working on this project is that I can get real hands-on experience from the professional social enterprise about social impact assessment. This experience made me become an effective communicator, an empathetic listener, and a confident life-long learner.”

Learn more about the Steps: www.stepscommunity.com

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