The Road to Reforming Human Rights in Malaysia

Growing up in Malaysia, we were used to seeing workers, both local and foreigners being exploited – long hours, low wages, no breaks, cramped living quarters, unsafe working conditions – all common sights when I was growing up.

Fast forward 20 years : in 2016, Malaysia, an almost developed-status country was ranked Tier 2 Watchlist of the Trafficked Persons Report.

Many of the issues still exist, exacerbated by the rapid economic developments of the country that call for an indefinite supply for migrant laborers. As part of its efforts to eliminate human trafficking in the country, the Malaysian government has been working with various civil society groups, engaging in stakeholder consultations to develop reforms, and improve its anti-trafficking laws and enforcement systems.

At the end of July, Project Liber8 a human trafficking awareness non-profit organized Advoc8 Hack, the country’s first ever national hackathon that aimed to develop technology solutions to help raise awareness on human trafficking issues in Malaysia.

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I was invited to be on the panel of mentors and preliminary judges for the hackathon. Amidst the sea of coders and developers, UI/UX designers, and people who lived and breathed computer language, I was among the few who brought nonprofit experience to the participants.

Having worked on both a personal and professional capacity with migrants, refugees and trafficked persons, and nonprofits in the sector, I shared practical knowledge and lessons, my experiences with these communities and the likelihood of adoption based on my interactions with them.

Some teams had great ideas, but rated lower on the practical side. I probed them on impact measurement,  parameters of their features, effectiveness based on hypothetical scenarios, potential challenges, helped them organize their thought process and map their ideas so they could see which areas needed more refining.

Mentoring a team – mapping their thought processes, identifying challenges and ‘blind spots’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same team (above) is shortlisted in the top 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another group I mentored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a first in many ways – first time for TechSoup Asia-Pacific participating in a rights-related event in the region, first for us in presenting our work to the tech community on a national scale, and first for me as a mentor in a tech event.

TechSoup Asia-Pacific has also been invited to be part of the advisory board to help develop the winning team’s idea. Supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs, it is hope that the solution derived from the hackathon will contribute towards the goal of elimination of human trafficking in the country.

Building Storytellers in Taiwan

As cyber space becoming increasingly crowded with a myriad of content where everyone is fighting for space and attention, nonprofits have to learn how to capture the essence of their impact in the most visually appealing way.

Over July and August, Frontier Foundation in Taiwan organized another successful series of storytelling workshops for TechSoup Taiwan members. A total of 137 participants from more than 100 organizations across northern Taiwan attended three sessions that showed them basic video making tools.

The first two sessions focused on basic shooting techniques and how to make videos via Power Director 14. The last workshop taught the participants to make short films on their mobile phones using Quik.

For some participants, it was their first time learning video making apps on their mobile phones, an extremely convenient way for most nonprofits who often do not have the resources for a dedicated social media staff.

Participants were also encouraged to send their stories to TechSoup’s Storymakers campaign, an annual campaign designed to encourage nonprofits to submit their short digital stories to let the world see. In addition to submitting their videos to Storymakers, Frontier Foundation has also encouraged nonprofits to deliver their stories to PeoPo, the citizen journalism arm of Taiwan Public Television Service. Winning videos are broadcasted on national television, giving them free access to paid media, which they otherwise would not have.

For more information and photos on the workshop, click on the link here.

Sharing at AVPN 2017 in Bangkok

This AVPN Conference brought together a diverse group of funders and resource providers from around the world for this key gathering of philanthropists and social investors in Asia. This year’s theme “Collaborating for Impact” emphasized partnership across sectors and borders when looking to tackle some of Asia’s biggest challenges in education, health, livelihoods, the environment, and more.

Simon Gee and Matt Jung joined the conference and had some insightful sharing and networking among the over 700 attendees, which included foundations, NGOs and CSOs, impact investors, and a variety of social impact practitioners. Simon shared TechSoup’s experience in a roundtable, “Scaling the Impact Technology Social Enterprises in Asia.”

The sessions and panels had some quality content with experienced investors, NGOs and service providers. Impact investor movement are developing in Asia, bringing in more funding alongside more traditional philanthropy. Though impact investors still seek return on investment, more of the conference talk was around impact, and ability to scale. However, there was some consensus that there needs to be more impact funding, and such funders do not feel there are enough investees  social enterprises and NGOs and the likes, that are developed enough for their investment criteria.

The AVPN also organized ‘Deal Share Live – Investment Showcase’, featuring pitches from 30 social purpose organizations, and most of them were nonprofits. Several organizations approached TechSoup, asking for some experience help to leverage technology to further scale their programs.

We aim for the TechSoup network to play a greater role in the development of new impactful programs for Asia.

Vietnam’s New Community Philanthropic Tool

A central part of developing civil societies is to have an accessible integrated platform with relevant philanthropy resources that the local nonprofit sector can tap into.

Based on this concept, LIN Center Vietnam developed a unique bi-lingual platform “Vietnam Causes” marrying the various elements of philanthropy – skilled volunteerism, funding opportunities, a local nonprofit directory and community hub, and philanthropy resources.

Vietnam Causes is mutually beneficial to both the corporate and civil society sector: the extensive nonprofit directory allows corporates to look for partners who are aligned with their goals, match skilled volunteers to on-going community projects and post funding opportunities. Concurrently, civil society players who are registered in the database can list the social problems their organization is working on, the projects that need funding, and share upcoming events and resources that other organizations might find useful.

The LIN Center’s network currently serves more than 250 grassroots nonprofit organizations, more than 200 volunteers, individual philanthropists, and aims to “help local people address local needs”.

For more information on the platform, please contact Fundraising and Communications Manager at vicao@linvn.org

Data4SocialGood Hackathon in Taiwan

In June 24 and 25, Frontier Foundation and DSP held D4SG Workshop at NCCU. Data for Social Good (D4SG) is a long-term project set up by Frontier Foundation and DSP since 2016. Its goal is to provide a platform for data analysts and nonprofits to collaborate.

Originated from Code for Tomorrow in Taiwan, DSP focuses on leveraging the power of data to address social issues. DSP’s main mission is to train and recruit data analysts and provide consultancy services to solve problems across government, profit and nonprofit sectors.

While nonprofits are constantly trying to develop solutions to bring about positive social impact, they’re unable to do so without help to understand, analyze and process the digital data.

Therefore, Frontier Foundation Taiwan co-organized a two-day hackathon held at National Cheng-Chi University in June this year. A total of five nonprofits joined, including services for the disabled, long-term care for elder people, orphanage, community services, and sex abuse rescue.

With advice and support from the various mentors, participants had a chance to understand data collection, cleaning and ways to best use the data. Some of the proposals will be kept for the Data Hero Project, a three-month long project that encourages data analysis on a deeper scale.

NGO Connection Day 2017 in Taiwan

Every year, we tour different cities around Taiwan to explore new ICT innovation and trends with the nonprofit communities.

In 2017, we hosted three events, including CEO Day, in Taipei and Kaohsiung. Topics covered included “NGO Case Studies: Appliances of Azure and Office 365”, “NGO Website Design in Mobile Age” and group discussions among CEOs.

The events, co-sponsored by the local Microsoft office, saw 282 attendees, representing 196 local nonprofits.

For more details, please visit TechSoup Taiwan’s blog.

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More Photos of 2017 NPO Day.

2017ceodayComplete report of CEO Day facilitation process.

Reintroducing TechSoup Thailand

Nonprofits around the globe face similar challenges. However, with changes in political landscapes, shifts in economic powers and evolving market trends, these challenges often become very geographically contained.

In early May 2017, TechSoup Thailand organized a networking and learning event to understand the current challenges that Thai nonprofits are facing.

As a technology nonprofit, TechSoup kick-started the event with tech-centric ice-breaking activities : creating new hashtags for the event, taking creative selfies that display TechSoup’s logo, and ‘checking in’ to Ma:Dee’s (the co-working space where the event was held) social media page.

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Ice breaker: A participant creates inspiring hashtags for the event – #bepartofchange # ngonetworkingbkk #socialentrepreneursunite
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Ice breaker: The group poses with the TechSoup logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event drew participants from nonprofits across various sectors from different parts of Thailand, some came from as far as Chiang Rai to learn about how to leverage on TechSoup to better serve their communities.

A presentation line up included long-established Thai nonprofits Kenan Institute Asia and Change Fusion, who shared case studies, best practices, relevant content and practical tools designed specifically for the nonprofit sector.

NEEDed, a small and growing Thai-based nonprofit was also part of the line up where they shared their capacity development projects, focusing on their experience in helping nonprofits adopt technology.

Fhi360’s Regional IT Manager, Somphop Krittayaworagul, was invited to talk about digital security and the impacts of software piracy, a grave concern for the organization and nonprofit community in recent years.

The event ended with an engaging 45 minute breakout session where participants were asked to discuss and identify (collectively) their top five challenges and needs.

i) Technology
ii) Human Resource
iii) Funding
iv) Communication
v) Government and Stakeholder relations

The last part of the breakout required participants to state how TechSoup could help them. Participants shared their struggles with technology – software, hardware, cyber security, lack of I.T skills, adaptation and implementation, and recognizing the need to use more online portals for fundraising and learning.

Clearly, being a global technology network with 66 partner NGOs with presence in 236 countries, TechSoup has partners in the various capacities and are able to bridge the gaps the sector faces.

A key outcome from the event is for TechSoup Asia-Pacific to work with the various stakeholders to design capacity-building projects for the Thai nonprofit sector.

The Master of Disaster: Teaching Disaster Risk Reduction Through Play

Straddling the typhoon belt and the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines ranks among the top five most disaster-prone countries in the world. On average, the country experiences 14 disasters annually, affecting millions of people every year.

To create a culture of proactive disaster preparedness and response among the youth, Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) is developing the Master of Disaster (MOD) – an inclusive, fun-packed, and informative board game targeted at youth. The game aims to teach children of different abilities and varying educational backgrounds how to prepare and actively respond to the most common disasters in the Philippine.

Currently in its final stages of development, the project will be complemented by a digital disaster education platform that houses modules and child-friendly content that adults can share with children.

Children playing Master of Disaster boardgame

Vietnet-ICT : Going Beyond Face-To-Face Training

In partnership with Microsoft Vietnam, Vietnet-ICT, one of our partner NGOs in Vietnam, conducted several Tech4Good events over 2016. More than 150 organizations representing 117 nonprofit organizations attended the workshops held over a 3-month period in Vietnam.

In addition to the face-to-face training sessions, Vietnet-ICT also co-developed a website providing technical support and knowledge for Vietnamese nonprofits. Articles and video tutorials on technology and Microsoft products are available for nonprofits, with the goal of helping them gain access to discounted and donated software.

Since its inception in 2013, Vietnet-ICT has reached out to more than 200 organizations and helped 111 organizations receive donated and discounted software and technology.

Click here for more information on Microsoft’s Tech4Good event.

Digital Storytelling : Making or Breaking

A powerful digital campaign can make or break impact on its audience.

Recognizing the importance of good storytelling skills, our Taiwan Partner NGO, Frontier Foundation Taiwan, organised a series of storytelling workshops facilitated by media practitioners Wang Jian-Xiong, Program Director of PeoPo of Public Television and Huang, Zi-Ming, Director of Photography of Chinatimes.

The training focused on basic but often overlooked skills – digital photography and videography, how to develop a storyline and align it to an organization’s advocacy campaign, ways to increase social media fan base, and how storytelling can be used to create emotional appeal, either leading to an action or donation.

A total of 104 participants representing 89 local nonprofits attended the workshop that was co-funded by Microsoft Taiwan and Taiwan Network Information Center.

These digital skills were put to the test leading up to International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2016. Nine NGOs participated in a week-long campaign, developing either a photo or video campaign, creating awareness on disabled issues, cross-posting and promoting their campaigns across all 9 NGOs. Many NGOs used a donated video editing software Power Director of Cyberlink to complete their videos. The campaign garnered an audience reach of 79,566.

Below are the two videos created by the participants of the workshop:

http://disable.yam.org.tw/node/4599

http://disable.yam.org.tw/node/4600

To learn more about Frontier Foundation’s work, visit their website.