Malaysian Youth Volunteering Program- AIESEC In Johor Bahru Empowers Youth to Make a Difference on Global Issues

The Malaysian Youth Volunteering Program of 4 weeks (1st – 30th August 2022) was successfully organised with the efforts of all the organising committee, volunteers, partners, and speakers. The objective of this program is to empower young people to take ownership of their personal development while also taking action to address social issues in Malaysia through volunteering in various Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aligned projects.

The whole volunteer program is built up from four main projects, namely Clean Our Plate (COP 13.0), HELIO 2.0, ECHO 1.0, and the Southern Youth Leadership Conference (SYLC 11.0). There were 39 volunteers who participated in this volunteering program, mainly students from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. The Malaysian Youth Volunteering Program also gains support from 5 school partners and 32 learning partners from local schools, universities, and organisations in Malaysia.

Clean Our Plate 13.0 is a hybrid project supporting the 12th SDG, “Responsible Consumption and Production”, by focusing on educating the community, reducing household food wastage, and channeling the excess food from being lost in the community to save B40 groups from hunger. The key activities in this project include home composting training and challenge, food donation drive, pitching competition, world’s largest lesson, digital awareness campaign and workshop. With the cooperation of all parties, COP 13.0 achieved a significant achievement in accomplishing the goals of 66.68kg food waste collected, 43.99kg compost regenerated, 589.9kg food collected and donated, and 110 people receiving food donations. 

HELIO 2.0 supports the 3rd SDG, “Good Health and Well-Being”, tackling the mental health issue in Malaysia by raising awareness about the mental health continuum, reducing negative stigma, promoting self-discovery and promoting a healthy lifestyle for the participants and volunteers. The key activities of this project are conducted online, including a variety of awareness sessions about getting rid of depression, defying stigmas, healthy diet sessions, and rediscovering self-love, which are significant in handling mental health issues. The volunteers also had a great opportunity to engage with students from other universities to share their difficulties and experiences vulnerably, to learn from each other, thus creating a support system.

Moreover, ECHO 1.0 is another hybrid project in this programme supporting the 13th SDG, “Climate Action”, by raising awareness among volunteers and students about the importance of taking action on climate change through the learning of factors that affect climate change and developing initiatives to reduce the impact of these factors in the communities. The project conducted various key activities like tree planting, beach cleaning, conferences, the world’s largest lesson, workshop, and webinar. ECHO 1.0 successfully planted 30 tree saplings with an extra 390 tonnes of oxygen produced, 200kg of total waste collected, 96 webinar participants, and 32 students participated in the ECHO Conference.

Furthermore, SYLC 11.0 is a virtual project supporting the 8th SDG, “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, that aims to increase awareness of the unemployment issue among the public and bridge the gap between industry professionals and pre-university and undergraduate students by providing opportunities for them to network and exchange knowledge. This project also provides a platform for pre-university and undergraduate students to develop relevant personal development skills and also increases students’ clarity on the career path that they wish to pursue upon graduating.

“The ECHO 1.0 project really helps us to gain some knowledge about climate change that is arising in our country. “This project is superb and engages future generations while creating an awareness about climate change,” said one of the conference participants from ECHO 1.0.

Another comment from our volunteer: “The programme allows for many opportunities to become a leader. I find myself able to express traits that contribute to developing leadership. We conducted the key activities together with good teamwork, and I learnt a lot about the SDG issue throughout the project and all the efforts that are being made to tackle it. ”

It was a pleasure to collaborate with all the partners from different fields. We truly appreciate the kind support and assistance throughout this volunteering journey, and we look forward to future collaboration. The key to a better future is youth, and the future has arrived. AIESEC in Johor Bahru will continue its journey of empowering youth to unleash their potential, broaden their global horizons, and develop leadership in them. We sincerely hope our little actions will cause a big impact on our community and our world.