Maybank Foundation and ASEAN Foundation selected 100 young persons including 10 Cambodians to participate in its competitive eMpowering Youths Across Asean programme. Participants chosen for the initiative were flown in for a five-day workshop conducted at the ASEAN Studies Centre at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. The programme, a partnership between the two entities, consist of mentoring, regional leadership, and overseas local community projects. The participants learnt how to organise project plans in the local community with the opportunity of implementing their social enterprise projects in Takeo, Battambang and Kampot provinces.
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Special emphasis was given to “design thinking”, modules that were conducted by Maybank’s corporate office. The design courses are aimed at helping participants conceptualise ideas and test their sustainability. A key component of the local projects was to ensure that the ideas are maintained, with an emphasis over how they are transitioned to local partners after project directors leave the site. Could these projects be handed over to civil society organisations (CSOs)? Are the ideas viable enough to be turned into self-sustaining enterprises?
According to Maybank Foundation, the community projects are incubated to be scaled up in the coming years as social enterprises across the region. The hope is for these small initiatives to become a catalyst for youth participation and to impact their communities.
“We believe that the youth of today are the future of tomorrow,” says Nora Abdul Manaf, Maybank group chief human capital officer. Hence, the focus on sustainable programmes that provide long-term community and economic benefits that contribute to the progress of communities where Maybank operates, especially ASEAN.
“It is indeed challenging (as) our intention is to provide everyone with a fair chance of thriving in their respective fields so they can give back to society,” adds Nora.
Ten CSOs from Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia will advise and monitor the project implementation in the local communities for two weeks so that they can sustain the initiatives after the participants return home.
The selection process was competitive and only open to ASEAN citizens aged between 19 and 35. Out of 2,650 applicants, 100 winners were chosen from the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN programme.
The programme began in Singapore as a pilot project in 2016 by Maybank Foundation and Maybank Singapore. The programme is catered to young people to promote community bonds and encourage volunteerism. It expanded to the regional level and has objectives laid out to coincide with the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The programme’s main goals are to alleviate poverty and improve the economic wellbeings of Southeast Asian people.
ASEAN Foundation executive director Elaine Tan says the workshop is aligned with the spirit of Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019.
This regional workshop serves as a strategic platform to welcome Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019.
“The way this workshop embraces many ASEAN stakeholders, such as ASEAN Secretariat, young changemakers, CSOs and government representatives, to ensure continuous impact is in perfect harmony with Thailand’s Chairmanship tagline, ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’,” she adds. CapCam
Donald Jae Lee
Business Writer, Capital Cambodia