Founder & Chairman of Population and Development International (PDI), Founder & Chairman of Mechai Viravaidya Foundation (MVF),
Founder & Chairman of Mechai Bamboo School,
Founder & Chairman of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA),
After serving as an economist at the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) for eight years, Mechai Viravaidya founded the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) in 1974 to address the unsustainable population growth in Thailand of 7 children per family and an annual growth rate of over 3 percent. A variety of innovative methods were applied in conjunction with mobilizing and training a network of 320,000 rural school teachers and 12,000 village community members to make contraceptives available throughout Thailand. This resulted in Thai families having fewer than two children and a more sustainable annual population growth rate of 0.5 percent today.
When HIV/AIDS first appeared in Thailand in the late 1980s, similar approaches were used to initiate a major prevention program. According to UNAIDS, this endeavour achieved a 90 percent decline in new infections and, according to the World Bank, an estimated 7.7 million lives were saved during the period of 1991-2012.
While acting as Chairman of PDA, Khun Mechai was made a member of the Senate during 1987-1991, 1996-2000, and 2000-2006. He was also appointed to such key positions as Thailand’s Cabinet spokesman, Deputy Minister of Industry, Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister, and Chairman of several of Thailand’s largest government-owned enterprises including Krung Thai Bank, The Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT), and PTT-EP. In addition to these responsibilities, he also served as a Research Associate at Columbia University, as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and as a Council Member at several Thai Universities. He recently became a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee, the National Reform Assembly and the Parliamentary Reform Council on Education during 2014-15.