TechSoup and Yayasan Salam: Strengthening organizations in anti-human trafficking Malaysia

TechSoup Asia-Pacific and local partner, Yayasan Salam, recently completed a series of digital tech training for non-government organizations (NGOs) working in anti-human trafficking in Malaysia.

Funded by the US Embassy in Malaysia, the project was designed with three key objectives in mind: to promote a cross-country and regional learning platform; to provide and make knowledge, tech resources and tools accessible, and most importantly, to maintain open spaces in shrinking civil society space.

In line with TechSoup’s mission to empower NGOs around the world, the capacity building component of this programme is the essence of the project. However, aside from improving their digital tech capacities, the project also aims to build linkages between local, regional NGOs as well as industry experts. With a larger and stronger network, increased trust and understanding of the various key players, the ecosystem can grow, and

The curriculum is a combination of module-based topics, one-on-one consultancy with facilitators and post-workshop support, was divided into two 2-day sessions, one in August and another in September.

The modules included data visualisation, online storytelling techniques, and basics of mobile photography, basic graphic design and video making tools using open source software, investigative journalism techniques, and fundraising and donor campaigns. Registration stood at 42 NGOs over the total 4 day session, with a mix of NGOs working on awareness, prevention, advocacy, resettlement and shelter.

The series of workshops continued with follow-up trainings on topics in demand, such as graphic design and simple video making tools, conducted by TechSoup Asia-Pacific’s Program Manager Jed Adao.

Malaysia is a popular destination country for traffickers. Victims come from all walks of life around the Asia-Pacific region – some are women who are sex trafficked, or trapped in domestic helper jobs; male migrant labourers who work in the construction sector in modern slavery conditions, many of whom are being held on debt bondage; or refugees who have been sold, resold and exploited in many ways.

Despite the significant efforts of eliminating human trafficking, Malaysia was downgraded to Tier 2 Watchlist on the 2018 Trafficking in Persons list. Over the year, the government convicted more traffickers, increased criminal enforcement of unauthorised passport retention, granted more freedom of movement, and among the larger moves – the Malaysian government tripled its funding for three NGO-run shelters in the country, and opened its first trafficking-specific court.

The year 2020 holds much significance for Malaysia. Back in 1991, the nation announced Wawasan 2020 : the year that Malaysia would achieve developed nation status level. It has since been pushed to 2050.

In recent years, with the escalation of human trafficking cases that has placed Malaysia in negative international limelight, the government has made significant efforts to improve the situation, increasing enforcement and prosecutions, making amendments to current legislations to protect the migrant communities. By 2020, the government hopes that Malaysia will promoted to Tier 1 on the Trafficking in Persons list.

Calling all NGOs in the Anti-Human Trafficking Sector – Step Up For the NGO Incubator Pitch

Working towards social transformation is never a straight road. The painstaking effort undertaken by all actors at various levels of governance such as the policy-making, enforcement and grassroot levels must work as a cohesive unit to truly tackle the issue of human trafficking in order to effectively eradicate what we now understand to be modern slavery.

This series incorporates classroom style learning of theory and hands-on practice, post-workshop support for participants, ultimately culminating with an NGO Incubator Pitch where the winner will not only receive a tech gadget to help them with their work, but also the much envied opportunity to develop one’s tech capacity through means and platforms provided by TechSoup for a period of one year!

All eligible NGOs will be competing to showcase how they have applied what they have learnt from the workshops – from data visualisation, graphic design skills and video making tools – to help them address gaps and deficits in their campaigns and lobbying efforts.

The NGO Incubator Pitch is an opportunity for NGOs to become more effective whether it is engaging with victims of human trafficking or to create awareness in order to develop better infrastructure for victims of human trafficking.

USEFUL LINKS:
Download the Application Form
Post-Workshop/Incubator Timeline
Recommended Timeline
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Consultation Calls

COMING SOON!
Panel of Judges
Prizes

Continue reading Calling all NGOs in the Anti-Human Trafficking Sector – Step Up For the NGO Incubator Pitch

NGO Connection Day 2018 in Taiwan

Every year, we tour in different cities in Taiwan to explore new ICT innovation and trends with local nonprofits. These events are co-sponsored by the local Microsoft office in Taiwan.

In 2018, we successfully conducted 3 events: “Office 365 Advanced Training for NPOs” in Taipei and Kaohsiung cities,  and “Basic Data Analysis for NPOs” in Taipei. We had total of 155 attendees from 109 NPOs joining together. These included attendees of varying professions such as including IT professionals, administrative staff, and social workers to name a few. This time around, we invited participants to bring their own laptops and divided them into different groups so that they may learn and discuss in a collaborative nature.

For the Office 365 events in Taipei and Kaohsiung, we focused on helping the attendees learn to discover more about Office 365’s various services, such as SharePoint, Power App and Flow. In addition, we also invited NPO partners to share their own experiences in implementing the solution and their future vision of enhancing organizational management and data accumulation.

On the other hand, in the “Basic Data Analysis for NPOs” event, we focused on giving participants a general idea of how they may use Power BI Desktop to do the data cleaning, analysis, and visualization through its charts and graphs. In addition, participants were also taught how Power BI integrates with Office 365 suites for advanced collaboration and data management.

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

TechSoup in the CSR space, Kuala Lumpur

Over the course of my 12-year career in social responsibility, I have been privileged to have experienced life from both sides: the funder (the giver) and non-profit sector (the receiver). I have also witnessed the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Malaysia, from a hand-out charitable, one-off donation mentality, to inclusive, rights-skewed, educational and action-based projects that empower communities encouraging them to take action.

Ask any non-profit and you’ll hear the same sentiments echoing across: lack of stable funding, lack of human capital and adequate resources, desperately need better organizational effectiveness, better external and internal communication, more social media skills, and so on.

If you turn it around, and ask the corporate sector, you’ll hear “We lack of good projects from NGOs. They have unrealistic impact. Most don’t spend time researching on their funders. No cohesive approach.”

The above were actual comments from the corporate sector who attended the TechSoup Corporate CSR Networking event at Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur on 7 March 2018.

In the CSR Networking event, the consensus was clear: the non-profit sector needs to strengthen their foundational skills. Some challenges require little technology intervention, others require more.

In the coming months, TechSoup’s goal is to develop projects that will address the priorities in the last three quadrants as shown in the image below.

 

Festival of Good Humans

In welcoming spring in Australia, Connecting Up has developed a unique initiative to bring ‘good humans’ together – the Festival of Good Humans.

Anyone and everyone are welcome to come together, either learn, teach, volunteer or sponsor. There are roles to suit everyone.

In partnership with Fifty Acres & Community Sector Banking, The Festival of Good Humans was designed to connect the non-profit sector with a wider community including corporates, creatives, technologists, academics and government. Connecting Up also hopes this event will spark conversations, develop think tanks and storytelling skills amongst non-profits, and help people experience the importance and the impact of the work of the community sector.

In an ecosystem where people’s talents, skills and passions overlap one another, developing and maintaining a diverse network where people can learn from one another is crucial for continued growth.

A series of interesting and innovative workshops have been lined up over the next one week from 28 Sept-4 Oct. For a small fee, participants can learn ways to develop intriguing storytelling techniques, fundamentals of Twitter, media messaging and positioning, and understanding key elements of communication. For more information on the Festival Of Good Humans click here.

 

Twitter storytelling Content strategy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.