Technology defines the world we live in today. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) need a strategic mindset shift to fully embrace technology. A survey conducted by NetHope found that 70 percent of its NGO members lack a digital strategy (Devex, 2018). Thus, 24 NGOs took the initiative to amplify their talents and upskill themselves by adopting a 21st century mindset during the 4-week digital NGO@Makerthon programme. These enthusiastic NGOs are integral stakeholders of positive influence that help create a ripple effect of social impact within all communities. They came prepared to adopt new expertise in their efforts to adapt to the rapid changing world today. The energy throughout the NGO@Makerthon programme was infectious as each participant's ardour bounced off the next, creating an atmosphere of fruitful learning for all. This enthusiastic bunch include NGOs like Paroi Jaya Prihatin, Alumni MyCorps, and Generasi Peduli Sampah, among others. Primarily working with underprivileged communities, these are the passionate people across the country who are ready to bring impactful change to the Malaysia we know. So, let’s zoom in and get up close and personal with these unsung heroes and learn about their experience during the NGO@Makerthon programme!
A social enterprise that focuses on social and environmental impact to the nearby communities, Paroi Jaya Prihatin (PJP) is an NGO that works toward the 11th United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, “Sustainable Cities and Communities.” Founded by childhood friends who grew up in Taman Paroi Jaya, PJP aims to help the people of this community via various programs including food and supply distribution and social paroling activities.
PJP collaborates with other NGOs that can help their purpose and is fueled by the sense of unity and gratitude toward the community. They are ever ready to pick up new tips and tricks that can benefit their social enterprise model for the betterment of the people at Taman Paroi Jaya. Thus, their participation in the NGO@Makerthon programme provided them fresh perspectives into the technical and soft skills needed to adapt to this age of information as a stand-alone organisation . NGOs need to adopt new skills and strategies to remain financially sustainable and continue to create impact for their beneficiaries (Yaysan Hasanah, 2019). The team has learned how to develop new strategies for financial independence thus allowing the organisation to keep themselves afloat without relying on public donations and grants. Besides that, they were also introduced to the idea of product innovation in Ruang Reka spaces with regards to creating opportunities for impoverished communities. “This program is very helpful in learning about managing a social enterprise and also fostered budding relationships between activists [in Malaysia]”, mentions Mr. Nor Faizal bin Nordin, programme coordinator of PJP.
Alumni MyCorps is an initiative by the Ministry of Youth and Sport Malaysia that engages Malaysian youth to volunteer their services abroad in collaboration with the respective country’s NGOs. Alumni MyCorps have sent youths ranging from 18-30 years old to Cambodia, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in missions for the betterment of the underprivileged in the aforementioned countries. From conducting trauma healing programs to providing oral hygiene talks, Alumni MyCorps aims to provide a platform for Malaysian youth to serve and create an impact in the world while building new relationships through the immersion of different cultures.
To further align themselves with the fast-paced 21st century world we live in, Alumni MyCorps decided to take a step forward and joined us at the NGO@Makerthon programme. “I had a good time and love the input and opportunity given!”, exclaimed Ms. Nur Anis Mastura of Alumni MyCorps as they gained insight on modern day skills that helps boost the productivity of the team especially with the basic design thinking modules that trained the (Science, Technology, Innovation and Economy) STIE skills of the participants. The Makerthon case studies which showcased the utilisation of High Impact Programme 6 (HIP 6) solutions under Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia (YIM) also provided realistic scenarios that are applicable to daily organisational activities. These case studies gave real insight on how to solve challenges with the knowledge they have at hand. It perpetuated better understanding of modern day solutions to modern day problems.
Generasi Peduli Sampah focuses on the littering problem in Malaysia as they intend to educate the public on the responsibility of cleaning up after ourselves. “The message we want to convey is that even if that is not [your] trash, it is everyone’s responsibility!”, says Chin Wen Yen, a dedicated member of the Generasi Peduli Sampah (GPS). The organisation does cleanups and audits trash by monitoring and revisiting places with notorious trash problems at regular intervals as they work with the community to improve the littering habit. To further nurture and cultivate awareness towards the preservation and conservation of the lush greenery in Malaysia, Generasi Peduli Sampah joined the NGO@Makerthon programme to sharpen their skills in reaching out to the public. GPS Chairman, Ms. Norelan Ismail expressed her gratitude for Makerthon as it showed her how to bring nothing but a mere idea to reality. “[We] are able to get feedback for improvement too”, she says. “[It] is a big help to me”. The design thinking and project management skills training during NGO@Makerthon proved to be of great benefit to GPS as they are able to swiftly incorporate it to the organisation’s day-to-day activities. These newly developed skills further fueled GPS to ensure sustainable living spaces for the community.
Pumped to be a changemaker? Check out the next series in the NGO@Makerthon programme that aims to bridge the gap between the innovative solutions of the public and the B40 communities in Malaysia.
Jerving, S. (2018, May 15). A strategic mindset shift is needed by NGOs to fully embrace technology. Devex. https://www.devex.com/news/a-strategic-mindset-shift-is-needed-by-ngos-to-fully-embrace-technology-92749
Yayasan Hasanah. (2019, December 31). Local NGOs share sustainable strategies to serving the needy. https://yayasanhasanah.org/news/local-ngos-share-sustainable-strategies-to-serving-the-needy/